Masters’ course a prerequisite for generalsBy TJ Burgonio
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Military officers seeking promotion to one-star general may have to take the masters’ course in national security administration at the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP), officials said.
Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin and Armed Forces Chief Gen. Jessie Dellosa have agreed to make the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) a requirement for nomination to the rank of brigadier-general, according to NDCP president Fermin de Leon in an interview.
“We’re benchmarking with our AFP’s counterparts. The US National Defense University in Washington DC requires their MNSA equivalent course for offices before they become one-star generals,” De Leon said.
The MNSA is a one-year course offered by the NDCP for military officials, and personnel in civilian government agencies and the private sector.
After the NDCP was removed from the Armed Forces and made a civilian bureau under the Department of National Defense in 1973, the MNSA became an optional course for military officers.
In a 2011 audit report, the Commission on Audit (COA) observed that military representation did not reach the College’s required 60 percent, and the number of graduates did not reach 50.
Some of the enrollees were observed to be over the NDCP’s age limit although De Leon argued that the Defense Secretary was authorized to grant waivers, among others, based on the recommendation of the board of admissions, depending on the merits of the applicant.
“It’s based on a strict case-to-case basis, depending on the merits,” he said. “We have cases where they top the four components of the exams, and the only problem is that they are over-aged or under-aged by a few months. These are some of the reasons the Secretary, upon the recommendation of the board of admissions, [waive the age requirement].”
The age limit for uniformed personnel, applicants from private sector, and military officers from allied countries is 51, and for civilians, 55, according to the COA.
De Leon also said it was the military that failed to fill up the required quota of 30 in a class of 50 students. Now that MNSA is mandatory, the quota for military officers is being increased to 40, he said.