NDCP@60: Taking the lead in national security

This year, the National Defense College of the Philippines celebrates its Diamond Jubilee.

Sixty years ago, on 12 August 1963, President Diosdado Macapagal signed EO No. 44, ordering the establishment of the National Defense College of the Armed Forces of the Philippines or the NDCAFP. Its mission was to prepare potential defense leaders to assume and discharge the responsibilities of high command, staff, and policy-formulating functions within the national government and the national and international security structure.

The NDCAFP evolved when, on 11 May 1973, President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. issued PD No. 190 creating the National Defense College of the Philippines or NDCP and providing an Academic Board therefor.

The college was given the power to confer the degree of Master in National Security Administration or MNSA on its students who would have satisfactorily completed the prescribed course of studies. The decree, and subsequently the Revised Administrative Code of 1987, likewise gave graduates of the regular course of the college the “authority to use with honor the abbreviations MNSA after their names.”

On 29 February 2012, through Department of National Defense Circular No. 04, the MNSA, or its equivalent, was made a requisite for designation to O-7 (Brigadier General and Commodore) rank in the AFP.

The NDCP is the highest national security policy and strategy school in the country. Its mission is to prepare and develop potential national security leaders for positions of responsibility and command and undertake research and special studies geared toward the enhancement of national defense and security policy formulation and decision-making at the strategic level.

The MNSA program is the main educational program of NDCP. It is a one-year, full-time, and intensive master’s degree course earned through various forms of classroom work, case studies, regional security and development studies, and academic enhancement travels.

Since the college opened its first Resident Course or RC in 1966, it has produced roughly 3,000 national security graduates who have occupied and continue to occupy top positions in government and the private sector.  It has produced a President and a Vice President of the Republic. In the legislature, it has had at least five Senators and numerous members of the House of Representatives.

Several of its graduates have occupied top positions in civilian government as Cabinet Secretaries, Undersecretaries, Assistant Secretaries, and Directors and their equivalents.

In local government, several of its graduates have become Governors, Vice Governors, Board Members, Mayors, Councilors, and local government administrators and executives. It has several graduates in the judiciary and the foreign service. In the military, NDCP has produced AFP Chiefs of Staff, Major Service Commanders, and numerous Generals and Flag Officers. In the private sector, its graduates have occupied top positions in their respective companies.

The basic principle that all MNSA graduates commit to live by is the strengthening of national security.

The NDCP operational definition of national security is “the state or condition wherein the people’s way of life and institutions, their territorial integrity and sovereignty, including their well-being, are protected and enhanced.”

Every MNSA graduate will not only look at national security from the point of view of territorial integrity and sovereignty but will consider all matters that affect the people’s way of life, institutions, and well-being. An MNSA graduate automatically looks at the politico-legal, economic, socio-cultural, techno-scientific, environmental, and military or PESTEM aspects of problems, situations, and issues, with the end view of protecting and enhancing national security.

Today, 60 years after its establishment, NDCP continues its mission of producing national security leaders and experts who will face the current and future security challenges of the nation.

In a constantly changing world and security environment, the Filipino people can be assured that NDCP and its alumni will be there for them.

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