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Lieutenant Colonel David Cummings of the Jamaica Defence Force’s (JDF) Strategy, Policy, Plans and Transformation Unit has said that a transformed JDF could significantly enhance Jamaica’s national security.
“A transformed JDF will add much value to Jamaica’s national security landscape, by delivering modern, flexible and capable forces to meet the evolving threats in the new strategic environment,” Lt. Colonel Cummings told a Media Open Day on Wednesday(March 11), at JDF headquarters, Up Park Camp, Kingston.
He said that the vision of transforming the JDF into a capable force has been challenging, because of the meagre resources at its disposal, including human resources and up-to-date equipment.
“The challenge for sub-standard recommendation for our soldiers, less than ideal vehicles, which are fast aging, and a lack of maritime patrol aircraft, means that Jamaica is still not yet benefiting from the full military capability of the Jamaica Defence Force”, he suggested.
Due to the lack of resources, Colonel Cummings said, the JDF’s Strategic Defence Review (SDR), commissioned from 2005, is still only approximately 56 per cent complete.
But, Lt. Col. Cummings said that, despite the challenges, the JDF was being transformed into a capability based force, and much has been achieved. He added that while there is increased strain on human personnel, standards remain the same.
Commanding Officer at the Newcastle Training Centre, Major Murphy Pryce, who is currently training the JDF’s 100th intake, said that the situation means that the force has to be more innovative to survive.
“Our major deficiencies relate to infrastructure. We have some deficiencies in supplies on kits and equipment. Ideally, we would like all our recruits to have certain types of equipment but, over the years, it has dwindled. So we have to turn our hands to make fashion, because we still have a lot of work to do. We are being hampered but we make it work”, Major Pryce stated.
Military officers from different divisions outlined the challenges and needs of their units, including the lack of V150 armoured vehicles.
Lt. Geoffrey Roper of the JDF Air-Wing said that only a limited number of helicopters are working hampering the search and rescue process.
The Media Open Day was staged by the JDF in an effort to be more transparent as well as create a closer professional relationship with the media.

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