By Ksenia Bondal
Daniyar Uteulin receives his diploma at the United States Military Academy at West Point in May 2004. The "American system of military education is very well thought out and precisely structured", he says. [Uteulin's personal archive]
ALMATY -- As military co-operation continues to grow between Kazakhstan and the United States, more and more Kazakhstanis are considering attending US military schools.
The system for training and preparing military personnel in the United States is one of the best in the world and helps promote comprehensive human development, says Almaty resident Daniyar Uteulin, a graduate of the US Military Academy (USMA) at West Point.
Uteulin was admitted to the prestigious school in 2000 and graduated in 2004. He went through the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course at Fort Benning and the specialised Army Air Assault, Airborne, Pathfinder and Ranger schools.
"The American system of military education is very well thought out and precisely structured," Uteulin told Caravanserai.
The academy teaches discipline, initiative and honour and how to make well-defined plans. Besides the military aspect and very intensive physical training, cadets gain a civilian education in 36 possible majors, he said.
"During the process of advancing through the service, American military personnel can continue their civilian education, receiving master's or PhD degrees in the specialty they choose at the best institutions in the US and worldwide," he said. "This significantly broadens their horizons and allows them to integrate into American society more successfully."
His specialisation in international relations has been useful in civilian life, said Uteulin, head of sales at Siemens Healthineers, an international medical technology company with offices in Almaty.
"Thanks to the West Point Association of Graduates, cadets gain practical experience in government agencies and major American corporations, have the opportunity to study languages all over the world and participate in specialised conferences," he said.
The popularity of the US military education system among Kazakhstanis like Utelin is not surprising given on-going co-operation between the the two countries, much of which focuses on military education.
A military delegation of Kazakhstan's Defence Ministry, headed by Maj. Gen. Askhat Ryspaev, director of National Defence University in Astana, visited the US capital October 30 - November 2 for a military education tour.
The itinerary included seminars for Kazakhstani officers at the National War College and the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy, the Institute for National Strategic Studies and the College of Information and Cyberspace.
Earlier, on June 8, US President Donald Trump submitted a proposal to Congress for the US international aid budget for 2018, which includes Kazakhstan as a recipient, EurAsia Daily reported June 21.
Under the proposal, total US military assistance for Kazakhstan in 2018 amounts to $1.7 million (566 million KZT), with $700,000 (233 million KZT) allocated for military education and $1 million (333 million KZT) to be used for non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the fight against terrorism, clearing of land mines and miscellaneous items.
Overall co-operation between the US and Kazakhstani militaries continues as well.
On July 5, Kazakhstan and the United States signed their fourth successive military co-operation plan, this one for 2018-2022. It defines the areas of co-operation for the forthcoming five-year period, the Strategic Culture Foundation reported July 8.
Officials signed the document in Washington, where representatives of both countries' defence departments discussed "current and prospective military co-operation between Kazakhstan and the US," according to a Kazakhstani government statement at the time.
The United States has the most advanced weaponry and tactics and considerable experience participating in different conflicts as peacekeepers, said National Security Committee (KNB) reservist Col. Arat Narmanbetov.
The contribution made by the United States in fighting the "Islamic State" (IS) is enormous, he said.
"Kazakhstan needs to learn much more from the US about how to develop its peacekeeping potential," Narmanbetov said. "The world is very tumultuous, and we should be ready to deal with 'kinetic' situations inside our borders."
The defeat of IS in Iraq and Syria will bring an end to the group in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia -- where security forces are ready to deal with any new challenges, analysts say.
What is the biggest threat to peace and security in your country for 2018?