The Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Lucky Irabor on Monday, inaugurated the maiden Joint Operations Planning Exercise (JOPEX) for the war colleges of Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy and Nigerian Air Force in Abuja.

Irabor said that the exercise, entitled: “Exercise Sky Lock” was  built around contemporary, realistic and real-time security event in Nigeria.

He said that it also marked the culmination of several moments of significant efforts towards developing the skills of participants in operational arts, operational design and decision making process, among others.

According to Irabor, the exercise is certainly another milestone in the professional military education and profile of the Nigerian military to properly equip its officers for present and future assignments.

“As think-tanks of the armed forces of Nigeria, our war colleges are indeed laboratories and incubation centres for the production of military operational level plans.

“They are also the measurement of performance and effectiveness of subsisting plans with a view to reviewing them for enhanced effectiveness.

“This end, the product of this joint operations planning exercise will form part of the military decision-making cycle for some ongoing and future operations.

“Today’s event therefore provides an opportunity to kick start an enduring tradition for the colleges that will enshrine joint planning culture at the military operational leadership level.

“This culture is indeed essential for the development of the operational level capacity towards tackling the multifarious contemporary security challenges and engagements in future military operations,” he said.

Irabor further stated that the complex 21st century security environment had huge implications not only for the military but also for all sectors of governance and society.

He said the knowledge, skills and capacities that the participants had acquired, particularly in the operational art, would enhance their professional judgment in the joint operational environment.

He urged the participants to keep an open mind in proffering innovative and workable solutions to the myriad of security challenges facing the nation especially in the north-eastern part of the country and other regions affected by insecurity.

According to him, military is presently engaged in internal security operations in all the 36 states of our nation as well as the FCT.

“It is my opinion, therefore, that our war colleges come in handy at this moment in developing plans and strategies that will enable the optimisation of available resources towards achieving our national military objectives.

“This is therefore a clarion call to our war colleges to sustain the ideals of joint operations planning exercises such as this towards institutionalising synergy evidenced by a culture of joint planning, training and collective effort in security operations,” he said.

Earlier, the Commandant, Army War College in Nigeria, Maj.-Gen. Solomon Uduonwa, said that the key objective of the exercise was to enable participants to effectively respond to contemporary security challenges.

Uduonwa said that the exercise involved the aspects of national security, interagency coordination, logistics planning, counter terrorism and counter insurgency and stabilisation operations.

He also said it would also provide forum for the participants trained as operational commanders and staff to practise planning, preparation and conduct of these aspects under different scenarios.

According to him, the services have complemented Defence Headquarters efforts by providing excellent facilities that facilitated learning collaboration and linkages within and among the colleges.

The Director of Studies, Army War College in Nigeria, Brig.-Gen. Bamidele Alabi, said that 184 personnel from the three services comprising 98 participants and directing staff would participate in the five-day exercise. (NAN)

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