Fort Benning

U.S. Army Fort Benning and The Maneuver Center of Excellence


Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC)


History, January 2001 to January 2018
Seventeen 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.

Building 35

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. On April 16, 2014, the campus was dedicated. In October 2017, the School of Leadership and Tactics moved in to Miller Hall, bringing all of the Institute’s components onto the campus.

WHINSEC Campus aerial photo

COL Keith Anthony became commandant of the Institute in April, 2014, and added the Center for Human Rights and Democracy to make four teaching departments.

In July, 2017, WHINSEC got its sixth commandant, COL Robert F. Alvaro, and began a strong effort to expose the Institute’s excellence to the entire hemisphere. WHINSEC men and women have trained and educated more than 24,000 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.

Students and faculty members have earned 188 Master’s degrees while at WHINSEC, 135 through civilian institutions and 53 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.