• Michael Padilla-Pagan Pay

A Vision to Transform Training for NGOs, Security Firms, Institutions and Organizations

In my posting last week, I talked about being in Africa, and I am seeing NGOs. Missionaries, companies and security companies failing in demonstrating skills, skills that bridge the gap in the country they operate in and skills that foster long term relationships and those very skills can save lives. The world is moving at great speed, being reshaped daily by technological developments, social movements and political turmoil. It is time that training moved on from a mundane classroom and endless speeches, into practical, -real life- training that can change perception, management and ultimately efficiency for all things Risk related. We can read about it every day, people get kidnapped, or arrested, killed, injured, vanishing and never to be seen again. Whoever thinks that the lack of training isn’t one of the key factors contributing to these Risks is gravely mistaken. Being complacent as an organization, eager to tick the box of prerequisites but not eager to invest in proper and valuable training, the ignorance about duty of care, short sightdness, lack of ability and vision, are all factors putting employees and volunteers, daily at risk. Is a hostile awareness course, the only option? Are military tactics really suitable to address civilian operations on the ground? Are these courses even relevant these days? Urban settings, which involve complexity at many levels, density, terrain and the human factor, are the primary area of operations for the majority of organizations and businesses. Urban settings include diverse population concentrated in compact spaces, structures and buildings, traffic congestion, and complex multi-level infrastructures such as subways, underground tunnels, and passageways. Urban operating environments range from built-up areas (towns and small cities) through metropolitan areas, and increasingly megacities and emerging megacity complexes or clusters. Our teams deal with indiscriminate targeting of civilians, humanitarian facilities, workers, and convoys; targeting of peacekeepers and civil defense workers.

Cities and Beyond

City engagement involves more than just increased scale, population and density. Its complexity is geometrically complicated by the interactions among the individual neighborhoods, tribes, religious groups, each with its own demographic and social characteristics. Other types of cities may include global cities and global slums (neighborhoods where transnational gangs dominate local turf and are globally connected to transnational criminal networks). Indeed, contemporary megacities can comprise a complete operational theatre requiring sophisticated operational planning for operations, logistics, and integration with strategic goals. Let’s look at the places we work in: Mexico, Congo, DRC, Nigeria Delta, Egypt, Syria, Columbia, Venezuela, Yemen, Libya. Operating in densely populated urban settings demands both tactical precision (to ensure precaution) and an understanding of operational and strategic inter dependencies and problems and so in today’s world you need to understand the urban operating environment, the range of problems involved, the selection of tactical and operational options, understanding density, terrain and topological features, and understanding the population.

Lesson Learn and new skills training

To address the above and keep up with the fast-paced world we live in, Al Thuraya Academy and our partners, have developed a new training course based upon our current roles in places listed above. This specialized training accommodates operations in all urban settings ranging from small cities through metropolitan areas through megacities and megacity clusters. We address the need for updated and innovative, tactical, operational, and strategic doctrines from the humanitarian and stabilization side. This goes far beyond developing new TTPs (tactics, techniques, and procedures). Companies, Institutions and Organizations need to break away from the old model of expeditionary work. It is now time to learn the new hybrid approach to ground and movement decision-making capabilities and skills necessary to apply this understanding in urban settings. Join us in setting a new -higher- training standard! 


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