Navy Strengthens International Relations through Leadership Program

Story Number: NNS160616-15Release Date: 6/16/2016 4:05:00 PM
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By Lt. j.g. Christopher Humber, Naval Education and Training Command Public Affairs

PENSACOLA, Fla. (NNS) -- The Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity (NETSAFA) International Training Center (NITC) is holding its semiannual International Professional Advanced Leadership (IPAL) course onboard Naval Air Station Pensacola from May 27 to July 1.

The five and a half week course is designed to provide international military and civilian security forces personnel from allied nations with state of the art leadership education and training.

"The current IPAL course is the 16th resident [session] to be held," said Paul Roarke, the program's lead instructor. "It is the first of two resident courses that NITC hosts each year."

IPAL is also held abroad, providing sessions in participating allied countries and modifying them for current events.

"We recently went to Antigua and developed a unique 4-hour package on Force Protection," said Roarke.

The objective of the program is to instruct international participants in leadership and professional military subjects to improve existing skills and gain a greater understanding of challenges military leaders across the world face. The course also provides them with knowledge for potential future advancement within their respective country's military.

"Ranging from ranks E-5 to O-3 and encompassing all military services from more than 60 countries, IPAL is available to personnel with ranks equivalent to that of U.S. senior enlisted to junior officers," said Roarke. "In this class alone we have students from Madagascar, Kosovo, Samoa, Saint Vincent, Nigeria, Slovak Republic and Trinidad/Tobago."

The general topics covered in IPAL include public speaking, personality profiling, time management, instructor training and subordinate mentorship/counseling. Professional military topics such as rules of engagement, international law, Law of Armed Conflict and human rights are taught as well and coincide with important personnel issues such as sexual harassment, military discipline and equal opportunity.

Students engage in both classroom lecture and hands on exercises in order to gain a better understanding of the subjects they are taught.

To facilitate a hands-on leadership experience, significant emphasis is placed on physical training varying from standard morning exercise routines three times a week to a Leadership Reaction Course (LRC) located on base that students go to two times a week. As the only training program under NITC that uses the LRC, the students spend a total of 14 hands-on class hours using various tools to work through multiple types of physical obstacles such as walls and bridges. The goal of the LRC is to simulate "real-world" scenarios they may encounter in the field to develop teamwork and small unit leadership.

Leading Writer (U.S. Corporal equivalent) Latoya Sobion-Philanders from the Trinidad and Tobago Coast Guard enthusiastically explained she has a great appreciation for being given the opportunity to attend the IPAL course and has enjoyed working with other military personnel from around the world.

"Meeting people from different walks of life and having open and receptive discussions has been my favorite part of the program so far," said Sobion-Philanders. "It allows me to see things through a different 'lens' and experience the way other people view things, which is great."

"I am very proud of our program, instructors, and graduates, and how much they accomplish," said Roarke. "Our ultimate goal with the IPAL course is that it will help transform our students into more effective leaders, who will then return home with an enhanced set of leadership skills."

For more information about Naval Education and Training Security Assistance Field Activity and the IPAL program under NITC, visit the NETSAFA website:

For more information on the Naval Education and Training Command, visit the NETC website: and on Facebook at

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