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    USSOCOM and NAVSCIATTS Honor 2018 Distinguished Alumni



    Story by Angela Fry 

    Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School

    TAMPA, Florida. – As the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) continues its expansion as a global Security Force Assistance training asset focused on geographic combatant command security priorities, the international training command recently honored its first distinguished alumni recipient from the United States Central Command area of operations.

    In a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base, Dec. 16, Gen. Richard Clarke, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), and NAVSCIATTS Commander Eric Skalski presented the annual award to Mr. Ashraf Ameen Ali Khasawneh, deputy chief of mission and consul with the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan Embassy in Athens, Greece.

    The Distinguished Alumni program, established in 2013 in conjunction with the Naval Special Warfare command’s 50th anniversary, recognizes specific accomplishments of NAVSCIATTS graduates who achieve strategic professional positions within their countries and is part of an over-arching effort to engage senior level officers and maintain relationships with the international training center and its alumni.

    "The ability to maintain relationships with our global partners is critical to the effective communication, collaboration and idea-sharing amongst partner nations," explained Skalski, who assumed command of the Security Cooperation schoolhouse in May, 2019. "And as noted by previous USSOCOM commanders and most assuredly our current commander as well, there is almost no problem in the world today that can be solved alone."

    Khasawneh attended the Strategic Leaders International Course (SLIC) at NAVSCIATTS in 2017, and remained in contact with the international training command as an alumnus. Having dedicated more than 20 years of service in various positions inside and outside of the Jordanian government, Khasawneh has served in positions including the charge d’ affairs at the embassy of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in Iraq, and the first secretary/counsel diplomat at the Jordanian embassy in Rome.

    “Mr. Khasawneh has many great contributions of service at both the national and international levels,” stated Skalski, who has served in the U.S. Navy for more than 30 years, with much of that service as a Navy SEAL. “Whereas the training our international students receive at NAVSCIATTS is world-class, the primary benefit of this schoolhouse is the relationships that we establish. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Khasawneh and Jordan for their growing relationship with our command.”

    Clarke, who served as host to the formal ceremony, provided remarks to those in attendance, to include former Naval Special Warfare Commander Vice Adm. Tim Szymanski and Capt. John Green, a previous NAVSCIATTS commander. "It is impossible to overstate how important our international partnerships are. Over the past two centuries, our world has grown increasingly connected,” explained the former director for Strategic Plans and Policy to the Pentagon. “One hundred years ago, less than two billion people lived on our planet. Today, more than twice as many people are active on the internet. Information moves so quickly, and our interests are so interconnected. No single nation can hope to survive alone.”

    Addressing the audience, the USSOCOM commander continued to focus on the relevance of international partners and allies, specifically in relation to the current National Defense Strategy.

    “As SOCOM modifies our priorities, structure, and force posture to address the evolving changes in the world, two things remains certain – we need friends, and SOF is uniquely capable of forging and maintaining those international relationships,” Clarke stressed.

    “The work done by this course is just one example. The advancing of partners and allies is one of the three primary goals of our National Defense Strategy. It has and will continue to be one of our core priorities, and it is the cornerstone of our by-with-and-through operating concept. But when we talk about alliances and partnerships, it is a two-sided coin. Finding good partners can be a challenge. Not in the case of Jordan – our honoree’s homeland. Since 1949, Jordan and the U.S. have maintained warm relations and partnership together in the region. And that relationship has endured because of leaders like Mr. Ashraf Khasawneh.”

    Khasawneh, who has served multiple diplomatic tours across the Mediterranean and Levant, continued to reiterate the theme of the value of sustained and maintained relationships. “The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has been at the forefront in working with allies and partners in fighting terrorism, and Jordan has actively participated in peacekeeping missions around the world,” he stated.

    “Through our leaders, the late King Hussein and King Abdullah, and their investment in future generations through education, Jordan is a country where there is almost no single home that at least one of its family members has been educated abroad. We are an open country, with leaders who are open-minded and work to establish peace and security in the region and around the world.”

    “Being the first civilian to join the SLIC program, it gave me a clear idea of the way militaries operate, since civilians do not always think the same,” he continued. “Being recognized for this award does not mean that I am better than other colleagues from SLIC, as I have to emphasize that all of my colleagues from the Strategic Leaders Course were wonderful and brought so much to the course, and that I will continue to build relationships and work for security and peace around the world.”

    In addition to recognizing the accomplishments of NAVSCIATTS graduates, the Distinguished Alumni award serves as a conduit in the maintenance of strategic relationships within the network of global partners. “As I interact with our partner nation course participants and visitors, I have learned that one of the most important reasons for coming to NAVSCIATTS is to interact, communicate, learn, understand, and earn one another’s trust and respect,” Skalski explained. “This is essentially what building strategic relationships with our partners and allies is all about.”

    NAVSCIATTS, located at the John C. Stennis Space Center along the Mississippi gulf coast, currently offers 20 courses of instruction with an average of approximately 800 international military and law enforcement agency personnel graduating from in-resident and mobile training events annually. SLIC, the command’s flagship course, is an in-resident course designed to build partner capacity by offering partner nation senior military leaders and senior government officials new perspectives, methodologies, and opportunities for thinking strategically and for designing strategies that successfully address complex global challenges.

    NAVSCIATTS trains and educates partner nation special operations forces, SOF-like forces and SOF enablers across the tactical, operational and strategic spectrums to strengthen partner nation capabilities. Since 1963, more than 12,000 students from 121 partner nations have trained with NAVSCIATTS. For more information, visit



    Date Taken: 12.17.2019
    Date Posted: 12.17.2019 10:06
    Story ID: 355966
    Location: TAMPA, FL, US 

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