National Military Academy of Afghanistan host first graduation ceremony

Release No: UNRELEASED Jan. 25, 2009 PRINT | E-MAIL


January 25, 2009                                

Release Number 20092501-01

National Military Academy of Afghanistan host first graduation ceremony

KABUL, Afghanistan – National Military Academy of Afghanistan cadets participated in a graduation ceremony, Sunday morning, in Kabul. The 84 cadets who participated in the ceremony are members of the academy’s first class of graduates. More than 1,500 people attended the graduation, to include Afghan government officials and Coalition officials.

Five years ago, the Ministry of Defense and the United States Military Academy (USMA), West Point, N.Y., developed a concept plan for the National Military Academy (NMAA) of Afghanistan in effort to produce more efficient, educated leaders within the Afghan National Army (ANA).

The keynote speaker was President Hamid Karzai, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Others that participated in the ceremony included, Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, Afghan Minister of Defense, General Bismullah Khan, ANA Chief of the General Staff; and General David D. McKiernan, U.S. Forces Afghanistan Commanding General.

President Karzai explained that today’s cadets are the heartbeat of the entire nation and all are equal from all provinces throughout Afghanistan.

“I am very proud to be a part of this ceremony, which is a very important and vital step toward a stable and self-sufficient country,” said Karzai. “Today you all are graduating because of the hope of the mothers who have lost their fathers, brothers and husbands while defending this country.”

Prepared under the authority of the Office of Military Cooperation-Afghanistan and the Afghan Ministry of Defense, a NMAA Concept Plan was signed in November 2003 by representatives from Afghanistan, the United States and Turkey. Since the beginning of the Academy, West Point has sent staff and faculty to NMAA and recently, the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo. has also contributed to this effort.

The National Military Academy of Afghanistan which is an extensive four-year university level institution. The NMAA often referred to as the crown jewel of the ANA, is designed to educate, train and inspire the cadet brigade so each graduate is a competent, courageous and honorable officer.

The concept plan also included a dynamic layout of ethnic distribution throughout the corps of cadets and the staff and faculty to represent ethnicities from 33 of 34 provinces. And although the first graduating class consisted of all males, NMAA officials ensure female integration is soon to come.

Upon graduation each cadet, or officer in training, will have completed one of four majors to include: civil engineering, computer science, general engineering, sciences and legal studies and will be commissioned as a second lieutenant beginning their career according to a ten-year service agreement. During that time, each officer will serve in either infantry, artillery, armor, aviation, logistics or communication branches of the ANA.  Leadership and Management, Military History and English majors will be available for future cadets.

Minister Wardak reiterated the importance of today’s graduation by stating that the graduates of NMAA will be recognized all around the world.

“The Afghan National Army has written and will continue to write golden pages in the history of this country by serving and dying for this country,” said Wardak.

Along with intense academic activities, the physical education infrastructure is also a vital component of cadet training. The NMAA provides each cadet with physical education instruction that they use throughout the four-year program in their new weight-lifting room and athletic fields. 

The Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan, responsible for training, equipping, advising and mentoring the Afghan National Security Forces, currently share student expenses with the Afghan Ministry of Defense who has assured to provide all funding in the future.

One graduate said this was the most defining moment in his life and he will continue to pursue an even better education and more difficult training to ensure his soldiers are well taken care of.

In addition to all future changes, NMAA officials say leveraging technology for outreach to the population and encouraging under-represented ethnicities to apply, the number of applicants is expected to increase from 360 applicants in 2009 to nearly 2,000 applicants in 2012.