The South African Military Academy's educational offerings and the National Threat perception

Visser, D. (2004)

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Journal Article

The national threat perception of a nation is an important guideline for the education of its officers, since it defines or anticipates the general military and socio-political milieu in which those officers must be prepared to operate. This paper traces the evolution of the threat perception of the South African Department of Defence since 1950 and the response of the South African Military Academy in terms of its educational programmes. It highlights the attitude of Defence Headquarters towards the Military Academy as a military-academic institution and the historical position of the Academy in the course of officer development. The paper also investigates the number and demographic profile of students routed through the Military Academy, which is central to these issues. Today, in the wake of the termination of the so-called Bush War on her borders and the liberation struggle within her frontiers, there is no clear, direct military threat against South Africa. In the absence of such a threat, the secondary functions of the SANDF, particularly regional peacekeeping and peace support operations, seem to occupy the centre stage. The paper therefore concludes with a perspective on the relevance of the Military Academy’s current academic offerings to the preparation of SANDF officers for their perceived role scenario in the twenty-first century.

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