VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. --- Fourteen coalition and multinational officers had the opportunity to go through the same level of targeting training as their U.S. counterparts for the first time through the newly established "Targeting for Partners Course" at the Joint Targeting School at the Dam Neck Annex here.
The school is conducted by the Joint Staff's Joint Force Development directorate and the first class completed their week-long course June 9. The class included students from Finland, France, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom.
The course provides U.S. and multinational students -- officers and enlisted -- with a familiarization of the joint targeting cycle. According to the course manager, the course aligns with the guidance of Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to enhance alliances and partnerships and reaffirm the chairman's position that U.S. allies and partners are central to how the joint force operates globally and effectively.
Improving, Strengthening Capabilities
"Both the joint force and our allies are eager to improve and strengthen their capabilities, as well as their knowledge of the targeting process," the course manager said. The school, he added, took a critical look at its current curriculum and worked to adapt and make it usable to international students.
"Students have the opportunity to interact with each other, learn the joint terminology and how other students conduct operations in their own country and how they view targeting as a whole," the course manager said.
He said the goal is to prepare students who are supporting combatant commands or service targeting positions by providing instruction aimed at the operational level of war.
After completing the course, "the students will have the same level of understanding as our U.S. students going through the Joint Targeting Staff Familiarization Course," the course manager said.
"Overall, the course is a very good introduction to the process of joint targeting, which will effectively allow us to work efficiently with U.S., coalition and allies at all levels of command and control," said a student from the United Arab Emirates.
"This is a first step, always good," said a student from the Spanish army. "This is a well-organized course and it enriches the course to have other foreign students who are experts in joint targeting. It's always good to have the other perspective. To work in the same environment is always productive."
The course manager said the intent is to continually evaluate the course. At its conclusion, he added, the students will provide feedback through discussions with the instructors and via formal class surveys.
The Joint Targeting School is the Defense Department's primary formal training venue for instructing joint targeting at the operational level. About 1,500 students go through the schoolhouse annually.