Major Gen. Akwa appointed new Chief of Defense Staff

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gen_akwaPresident Akufo Addo has appointed Major General Obed Akwa as the acting Chief of Defense Staff (CDS).

He is taking over from Air Marshall Samson Oje who has retired, and bid the President farewell.

Education – qualifications and institutions

  • Master of Science (MSc) in Global Security – Cranfield University, United Kingdom, 2003.
  • Masters of Science (MSc) in Defence and Strategic Studies – University of Madras, India 1997.
  • Passed Staff College (psc) – Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, India, 1997.
  • Passed Staff College (psc) – Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Teshie, Ghana, 1989.
  • Certificate in Public Administration – Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, Accra, Ghana, 1989.
  • Junior Staff Course (jsc) – Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Teshie, Ghana, 1989.
  • Diploma in Military Studies from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, UK from January 1976 – March 1977.
  • Basic Officer training at the Ghana Military Academy from October 1975 – January 1976.
  • General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level (GCE A level) – Sekondi College, Ghana 1975.
  • General Certificate of Education, Ordinary Level (GCE O Level) – Mpraeso Secondary School, Ghana, 1973.

Work experience and positions held

2012 – 2013

In the rank of Brigadier General, served as the Western Brigade Commander/Ghanaian Contingent Commander, MONUSCO. Was responsible for the largest sector of the MONUSCO operational area comprising six out of eleven Provinces. Exercised command over 2000 officers and men from twenty- five countries. Deployed and coordinated the defence of Goma in the North Kivu Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo during the M23 onslaught in July 2012. Also coordinated the evacuation of 30,000 refugees from Congo-Brazzaville to the Equateur Province in October-December 2012.

2009 – 2012

In the rank of Brigadier General, commanded the Ghana Military Academy. Was a permanent member of the Selection Board for selecting suitably qualified candidates into the Ghana Military Academy. On an annual basis, was responsible for training over 150 Officer Cadets for commissioning into the Ghana Armed Forces.  Also had responsibility of administering over 200 permanent staff, both military and civilian.

2005 – 2009

In the rank of a Colonel, was the Military Assistant to the President of the Republic of Ghana/Commander -in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces. Contributed to policy discourses on the deepening of civilian control over the security sector; particularly ensuring that the military civilian-subordinated and appropriately sized with improved transparency and accountability for national defence. Also provided policy briefs on military and security matters as and when required.

2003 – 2005

In the rank of Colonel, was the Army Secretary at the Ghana Army Headquarters. Was responsible to the Chief of the Army Staff for the career management of all officers of the Ghana Army. Also served as the Personal Staff Officer to the Chief of Army Staff.

2001 – 2002

In the rank of Colonel, served as the Military Assistant to the Minister for Defence. Was responsible for liaison between the Ministry of Defence and the Military High Command. Contributed to policy dialogues on capacity building to enhance skilled, appropriately equipped and motivated troops that could respond to crisis and emergencies international/sub-regional and national levels.

1999 – 2001

In the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, served as the Commanding Officer of the 2nd Infantry Battalion of the Ghana Army. Had responsibility for the Internal Security of two strategic, mineral producing Regions in Ghana. Frequently conducted Counter Insurgency and Internal Security operations to maintain law and order and boost economic activities in the Regions. Was responsible for the command, training and administration of over 800 officers and men and women of the Battalion and the welfare of their families as well as other civilian workers.

1997 – 1999

In the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, served as a Deputy Army Secretary at the Ghana Army Headquarters. Assisted the Army Secretary in the career management of officers of the Ghana Army.

1993 – 1997

In the rank of Major, served as a Tactical Instructor at the Ghana Military Academy and the Army Combat Training School. Had instructional assignment at the tactical level for Officer Cadets and Young Officers.

1992 – 1993

In the rank of Major, served as a Directing Staff at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College (Junior Division). Undertook instructional duties on Staff Functions and Procedures for Grade Three Staff Officers.

1989 – 1991

In the rank of Major, served as the Assistant Director Army Training at the Ghana Army Headquarters. Was responsible for co-ordinating courses, both local and overseas, for Army Officers.

1987 – 1988

In the rank of Captain, served as the Operations and Training Staff Officer at the Headquarters of the 1 Infantry Brigade Group. Was responsible for coordinating operations and training matters of six major Units in the Formation.

1985 – 1987

In the rank of Captain, served as the Adjutant in the 2nd Battalion of Infantry, Ghana Army. Was responsible for Unit discipline and the co-ordination of all training, administration and logistics matters in the Battalion.

1983 – 1985

In the rank of Captain, served as a Company Commander in 2nd Battalion of Infantry, Ghana Army. Was responsible for command, training and administration of troops at the Company level and also the welfare of troops’ families.

1982 – 1983

In the rank of Lieutenant, served as an Aide-de-Camp to the Chief of the Defence Staff, Ministry of Defence. Was responsible for the personal security and the co-ordination of the daily routine of the Chief of the Defence Staff

1979 – 1982

In the rank of Lieutenant served as the Intelligence Officer and Adjutant in the 1st Battalion of Infantry, Ghana Army. Was responsible for collection, collation and dissemination of intelligence at the unit level as well as the discipline and orderliness of the Battalion.

1977 – 1979

In the rank of Second Lieutenant, served as a Platoon Commander in the 1st Battalion of Infantry, Ghana Army. Was responsible for command, training and administration of troops at the Platoon Level and also the welfare of troops’ families.

Peacekeeping experience

January 2012 – January 2013

Served as the Western Brigade Commander/ Ghanaian Contingent Commander with the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO). Had responsibility for the largest sector of the MONUSCO operational area; (i.e. 6 out of the 11 provinces). Also was responsible for the provision of security cover during the Francophonie Conference held in KINSHASA in October 2012. Coordinated the security and logistics arrangements for the return of over 30,000 refugees from Congo Brazzaville to the Equateur Province of DR Congo. Deployed an infantry Company to Goma to hold the airport in strength against the M23 onslaught which proved very successful.

March – October 1993

Served as Deputy Commanding Officer of Ghana Battalion which was part of the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC). Supervised and monitored the 1993 elections which restored democracy to Cambodia.

April 1991 – April 1992

Served as a Military Observer with the United Nations Iraq-Kuwait Observation Mission Liaison (UNIKOM). Whilst with UNIKOM was re-deployed to serve with the Military Liaison Team in the former Yugoslavia to prepare the grounds for the insertion of the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR).

June 1985 – January 1986

Served with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon as Personnel Officer with responsibility for the administration of over 800 Officers and men.

October 1977 – March 1978

Served with the United Nations Emergency Force II as a Platoon Commander. Was responsible for the provision of security at the Sinai Field Mission which was an early warning station to monitor intrusions into the demilitarised zone of the theatre of operations.

Honours/Awards

  • National Award of Member of the Order of the Volta (MV), Security Service Division, 2007.
  • Long Service and Efficiency Medal awarded for unblemished Service with the Ghana Armed Forces.
  • United Nations Peace Medals for Service with MONUSCO, DR Congo (2012) UNTAC, Cambodia (1993); UNIKOM, Iraq/Kuwait (1991 – 1992); UNIFIL, South Lebanon (1985); UNEF II, Sinai Desert, Egypt (1977).
     

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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