History, January 2001 to January 2017
Sixteen Years of Service
The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation opened its doors on January 17, 2001, with Colonel Richard D. Downie as Commandant. The Institute was located in Ridgway Hall, originally the home of the Army’s Infantry School and headquarters of Fort Benning.
Col. Downie, with his staff and faculty, developed a range of courses that supported the security cooperation plans of the Department of Defense and of the U.S. Southern Command.
From March 2004 to July 2008, Col. Gilberto Perez was commandant, leading the Institute in the transformation of the Command and General Staff Officer Course to match the instructional model of the Command and General Staff College at the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (WHINSEC’s higher headquarters).
Fort Benning began transition to the Maneuver Center of Excellence in 2008, and the Institute moved to Collins, Lewis and Greene Halls, with modular buildings to house classrooms. Col. Felix Santiago took command in July and managed the move. He also re-organized the Institute into three components: The Schools of Professional Military Education and Specialized Studies, and the Roy Benavidez NCO Academy.
On 8 July, 2010, COL Glenn R. Huber, Jr., assumed command of WHINSEC and began preparing the Institute for its second decade of service. A permanent academic complex for all of WHINSEC’s components was selected on the site of the historic Fort Benning Station Hospital. These facilities feature a state-of-the-art academic environment with 21st Century classrooms. Renovation began in 2011. On April 16, 2014, with six of the eight buildings completed and the headquarters moved into Bradley Hall, the campus was dedicated.
COL Keith Anthony became the fifth commandant of the Institute in April, 2014, and added the Center for Human Rights and Democracy to make four teaching departments.
Building 324 opened in June 2015 and Bldg 241 will be renovated in 2017 to complete the campus.
WHINSEC men and women have trained and educated more than 23,000 students—military, law enforcement and civilian—representing 36 countries.
WHINSEC honors all countries represented at the Institute by celebrating their Independence anniversaries with a history presentation and a toast to the nation. The International Fest each year includes expositions of folk life, food and drinks of the countries represented both at the Institute and the MCoE. In addition, WHINSEC’s instructors and students share their nations’ heritages with cultural expositions at local schools and in community events.
Students and faculty members have earned 152 Master’s degrees while at WHINSEC, 125 through civilian institutions and 27 Masters of Military Arts and Science.
WHINSEC enhances the professional capabilities of security forces and ministries of our home, the Americas, with a vision of strong joint, interagency, intergovernmental, and multinational collaboration leading to more effective partnerships.
¡LIBERTAD, PAZ Y FRATERNIDAD!