Defence Services Command and Staff College

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Defence Services Command and Staff College an institute located at Mirpur in Dhaka for higher training of officers of the armed forces of Bangladesh. Inaugurated on 30 December 1977, the college was established with the assistance of the British Military Advisory Team which also ran a few initial courses. Gradually the officers of the Bangladesh armed forces took over the charge of conducting the courses. Until the setting up of the National Defence College in 1999, this institute has been the highest seat of military learning in Bangladesh.

The Staff College is a tri-service institute, and its courses are run simultaneously for the army, navy and air force. In the initial years joint courses for the three services were conducted with a duration of six months. The duration was increased to ten months from 1980, and the course was also opened to overseas students. The air wing was separated from the same year. In 1982, the naval wing was also separated. However, all the three wings continue to pursue joint studies and the course contents encourage learning about the sister services. The college provides a unique opportunity for the military officers of Bangladesh to share experiences with the officers of the defence forces of friendly countries.

The college began with only 30 students, but now a course draws about 150 students. The aim of the staff college is to prepare selected officers of the three services for undertaking increasing responsibilities in command and on staff appointments. The course objectives have been set out as: (a) a broad knowledge of national and international issues and the role the military officers play therein; (b) thorough understanding of the principles of employment of armed forces across the whole spectrum of military operations from counter-insurgency to limited war; (c) a thorough understanding and firm grasp of the principles and techniques of command and staff work in peace and war; (d) the students are expected to be able to communicate effectively both orally and in writing; (e) students are provided with opportunities to work as leaders in various exercises and undertake research; and (f) command and leadership. A major general from the army heads the college as commandant.

The Staff College has been affiliated with the National University of Bangladesh since 1993, and the students qualifying from the institute are awarded the degree of Master of Defence Studies. The duration of the course is 44 weeks.

The prime minister of Bangladesh, who is also the defence minister, heads the governing body of the college. The other members of the body are the chiefs of the three services, secretaries of the ministries of defence, foreign affairs and finance, principal staff officer to the armed forces division, commandant of the college, and the vice-chancellors of Dhaka University, Jahangirnagar University and National University.

The Staff College syllabus consists of 40% joint service studies and 60% single service specialist studies. The core area of the syllabus is designed to impart skills and knowledge considered essential for mid-ranking staff officers and unit commanders. Additional subjects are taught to make officers alive to contemporary issues and recent advancements in science and technology.

Over the last 21 years a total of 1554 officers, including 284 officers from 26 friendly countries, graduated from the College. As of today countries like Bahrain, Brazil, Brunei, China, France, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malaysia, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, Zambia, UAE, and USA have sent their Military officers to the Staff College courses. [Sheikh Aminur Rahman]