Defence varsity role in shaping strategic leadership assets
Peter Wafula Murumba
States invest in strategic leadership at policy and institutional levels as part of their political, economic, social and security goals.
For Kenya to continue to exert and expand her influence in Africa and beyond, and achieve national development objectives, there is need to strengthen our strategic leadership capacity.
Basically, strategic leadership entails the process of taking deliberate measures to promote national interests.
Creating strategic leaders helps a country define and advance its interests more effectively when engaging with other nations.
From an economic perspective, this will be pronounced through increased trade and investment flows.
From a security angle, it means a more secure nation capable of dealing decisively with internal and external threats.
Politically, its voice will be more articulate on international issues of concern to her people.
The newly inaugurated National Defence University – Kenya (NDU-K), marks an important milestone not just from a military or security perspective, but also in terms of developing the strategic leadership assets the country needs to advance its national and international agenda.
When granting the institution’s charter in May, President Uhuru Kenyatta said apart from broad matters of national security and defence, the university will help develop a critical mass of strategic level administrators and policy makers within the Government of Kenya, Africa and beyond.
This broad mandate of training ‘strategic leaders’ makes it a vital national institution in terms of advancing Kenya’s interests at regional, continental and global levels.
I see NDU-K’s role at two crucial levels. First is to develop a cadre of strategic leaders to sharpen national development, security, defence and foreign policies in the 21st Century.
These are people who bring highly innovative thinking infused with rich administrative and policy experience in solving modern day challenges.
The university should strive to develop strategic leaders from among individuals with military and civilian backgrounds, possessed of a sound grasp of Kenya’s present and future strategic interests, and are, therefore, capable of crafting innovative strategies to articulate and prosecute the same on the local and global fronts.
NDU-K is well-placed to play an instrumental role in managing the interplay between security and development.
Security is an enabler of national development. There can be no sustainable development without security.
Hence the need to integrate security and development in national policies.
Therefore, NDU-K should prioritise programmes that strengthen contemporary approaches emphasising human security as a core pillar of national security.
By tying security to development, administrators and policy-makers are able to develop sustainable solutions to community problems, thus achieving long-term peace especially in conflict-prone areas.
In a nutshell, NDU-K is uniquely placed to re-define our approach to issues of critical national interest through developing the right strategic leadership assets. — The writer is CEO, Impulso Kenya Ltd. [email protected]