Bangladesh Army Officer Training
Officer candidates must be unmarried and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. The minimum height requirement is 160 centimeters; the minimum weight is 49.8 kilograms. Promising candidates attend a two-year officer training course at the Bangladesh Military Academy at Bhatiary, near Chittagong. After successful completion of the course, graduates receive commissions in the army as second lieutenants.
The academy graduated its first class in 1977. Advanced military training is offered at the Defence Services Command and Staff College, founded in Dhaka in 1977. Attendance at the staff college is a preferential assignment for mid-career officers. In addition, the army operates a number of combat schools, such as the School of Infantry and Tactics in Sylhet. The only advanced training beyond the staff college point was in foreign military schools, primarily in the United States or Britain. These choice assignments are reserved for a few select officers. An officer usually serves from fifteen to twenty-five years, after which he is eligible to receive a pension, as well as perquisites such as preferential hiring in the civil service, reduced-price housing, and free land on or near military cantonments.
The biggest achievement in the reorganisation of the Army can well be attributed to the establishment of the Bangladesh Military Academy at Bhatiary, Chittagong. The training and grant of commission to cadets underline the very essence and importance of a developing army like ours where officers are trend setters. The arduous task of building up this edifice began in 1974 when a makeshift Academy was set up at Comilla Cantonment. Two years later, it was shifted to its present location at Bhatiary. The journey since then has been a painstaking but immensely successful one. The effort has been especially rewarding in the sense that Bangladesh Military Academy matches the standard of any contemporary institution anywhere in the world. Cadets from foreign countries today are also availing facilities of the Academy for their pre-commission training. The Academy is also imparting training to Bangladesh Air Force and Naval Cadets. It is also providing basic military training to the members of Bangladesh Civil and Police administrations.
The School of Infantry and Tactics is one of the prime training institutions of the army and has been entrusted to conduct as many as twelve different courses on tactics, weapon and special military operations in a year. The school was established on 19 March 1973 at Jessore Cantonment as The School of Infantry. In 1979, it was shifted to its present location at Jalalabad Cantonment, Sylhet. In 1982, the Special Warfare School was merged with the School of Infantry and Tactics to constitute a separate wing, and in January 1988, the Research and Development Wing was also organised. All officers of various arms and services attend all arms courses in the School. The School of Infantry and Tactics also runs special to arms courses for the infantry. Besides the Army, students from Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Rifles, Police, Ansars and officers from abroad also attend various courses run by the School.
The Defence Services Command and Staff College is a joint services training institution with separate wings for the Army, Navy and Air Force. The Staff College is located at Mirpur, Dhaka and was formally opened on 30 December 1977. A British Military Advisory Team (BMAT) initially assisted in the preparation and conduct of four short courses of six months duration exclusively for Bangladeshi officers. From the start of the 5th Army Staff course on 31 March 1980, the duration of course was extended to nine and a half months and the college was opened to foreign students. Later, separate Naval and Air Wings were established to cater to the special needs of the Navy and Air Force. From 1983 onwards, the duration of the course was extended to ten months. In addition, a science package of six weeks duration has been introduced for Bangladeshi Army Wing students prior to their attending the Staff College. Officers from various countries also attend this course. Till the end of 1999, 362 overseas students from as many as 28 countries have graduated from this institution.
Entering the new millennium, many new challenges emerged. To meet these challenges, Bangladesh Army entered a process of modernisation in all respects. Besides organizational restructuring, training and logistic framework are also being developed, consistent with the need to create the capability required of a modern army. In order to meet the growing need of officers and men, some premier academic institutions were established, such as: National Defence College, Armed Forces War College, Military Institute of Science and Technology, Armed Forces Medical College and Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training. These institutions provide higher direction in the fields of defence management and technology. Side by side, a contingency plan has been undertaken to improve infrastructure development to support logistic problems. The recent construction of barracks for troops and high rise buildings for officers and other ranks has solved long outstanding problem in this respect.
The Bangladesh National Defence College (NDC) was formed following a decision of the Governing Body of the Defence Services Command and Staff College (DSCSC) on 7 December 1996. The NDC is a tri-service organisation modelled both on the Royal College Defence Studies and other national defence colleges the region. The NDC offers a blend of academic study and debate within a relaxed and informal atmosphere will give the members the freedom to broaden the minds and develop their strategic vision as they purse individual studies and participate in the intellectual rigour of the course. Selected senior officers from the Armed Forces and Civil Services attend the courtesy so that it can prepare them for future assignments in the planning of national strategy. The first course commenced on 10 January 1999 and twenty officers successfully completed the course.
The Military Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) was inaugurated on 19 April 1998 at Mirpur, the place that has already become the centre for learning for the armed forces officers from Bangladesh and abroad. The role of MIST is to provide technical training to officers of technical branches and other arm and services of the armed forces. Besides, this institute also offer technical training facilities to the civilian student community of the country. MIST conducts courses of Bachelor of Science in Engineering an Masters of Business Administration, besides Computer and other courses.
Bangladesh Army took an epoch-making decision to induct women in officers’ corps. The recruiting process has already begun in a two-year training program at Bangladesh Military Academy from January 2001.
During three years 2009-2011, over 570 training courses and 3600 training packages were conducted. Besides, joint training program with India, Indonesia, Nepal and Turkey was done. Foreign exchange amounting to Tk. 1.72 crore was deposited with the Government Treasury. The reputation of Bangladesh peace keeping forces has increased through the professional efficiency and discipline demonstrated by the Bangladeshi members in the UN Peace Keeping Forces. In the last 3 years, Bangladesh Army earned foreign exchange of Tk. 2816.24 crore. Recently, a contractual agreement has been signed between Government of Bangladesh and the Government of Russia for purchase of APC for Bangladeshi UN Mission. The modernization of Bangladesh Army is in progress. Steps have been taken to bring different Units of the Army under the information technology framework.
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