By AVM Olatokunbo Adesanya
The Nigerian Air Force (NAF) Communications Branch on Thursday, commenced a 2-day Communications Workshop for NAF personnel of the Communication Specialty. The theme of the workshop is “Positioning the NAF’s Communications Branch for Effective, Efficient and Timely Support of NAF’s Operation”. According to the Chief of Communications at NAF Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Charles Oghomwen, the Workshop is aimed at creating an avenue for NAF Communications personnel to share ideas and suggest how to reposition the Communications Branch to meet the aspirations of the NAF particularly in view of the current security challenges. Additionally, considering the ever-changing global technological development in information and communications, the workshop is aimed at leveraging on the wealth of knowledge of Communications experts and the experience of retired NAF Communications personnel to chart a path for the future growth of the Branch.
To ensure that the workshop leaves up to its billing, 3 topics were carefully selected for the 2-day workshop. The first paper, which was delivered by Air Commodore Darlington Abdullahi (Retired), was titled “Contemporary manpower development for effective manning of Communications Branch: Issues and prospects” while the second paper was on “Enhancing ICT Infrastructure being a Panacea for Result Oriented Support for NAF Operations”, delivered by Commodore Christian Anuge (Retired). The third paper, titled “Streamlining the Functions of Communications Branch Directorates for Effective Service Delivery” will be delivered on the second day of the workshop by Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola. At the end of the lectures delivered on Day One of the workshop, adequate time was created for interactive sessions thereby engendering frank discussions.
Here are some photo highlights of the workshop:
While speaking during the opening ceremony of the workshop, the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar, reiterated that the Communications Branch was excised from the erstwhile Logistics & Communications Branch in July 2017 due to the dynamic and evolving nature of employing technology in modern warfare. The CAS added that the establishment of the Branch became necessary to ensure effective service delivery with the ever expanding Information and Communication Technology world. According to the CAS, modern warfare is technologically driven, hence the giant strides of the NAF towards infusing technology in its operations. He further stated that, in particular, the employment of Information and Communications Technology is a strategic tool to enhance NAF operational and administrative processes. Air Marshal Abubakar added that in line with one of the key drivers of his vision which is human capacity development, the NAF had embarked on several training programmes for its personnel in software development, cyber security, communications, imagery analysis and maintenance of NAF navigational aids facilities. Furthermore, a total of 12 officers had been trained in the United States of America as software developers while 8 others were trained in India on cyber security with plans to train more. The CAS explained that these series of training, both at home and abroad, would enable the NAF build capacity in embedded systems and micro controllers, components of the autopilot for the locally developed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV). Air Marshal Abubakar equally revealed that the NAF had expanded its communications capability with the introduction of the Urban Communications System. Similarly, the NAF had trained personnel on the basic maintenance of the cameras on various NAF Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) platforms while some personnel were also being trained on airfield equipment system maintenance. “These measures will save enormous foreign exchange needed to effect repairs abroad”, the CAS added.
The Communications Branch of the NAF has oversight functions over 4 Directorates namely Communications, Radar, Information Technology and Space Technology and hence, its significance in modern warfare. The timing of the Workshop could therefore have not come at a more auspicious time given the contemporary security challenges facing the nation. Among those in attendance at the workshop were the Chief of Defence Intelligence, Branch Chiefs from Defence Headquarters and other Services’ Headquarters, Commandants of Tri-Service Institutions and some Air Officers’ Commanding. The Director General National Information Technology Development Agency, Managing Director Galaxy Backbone, Managing Director National Space Research Agency and Managing Communications Satellite were also in attendance. The workshop will come to a close on 20 February 2018, when far-reaching resolutions would be reached.
Adesanya is the Director of Public Relations and Information (DOPRI) Nigerian Air Force