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The Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation officially has a new home on Fort Benning, as the organization dedicated its new campus during a ceremony Friday at Bradley Hall.
Col. Glenn Huber, WHINSEC commandant, said the new facility proves that WHINSEC will continue to provide top-notch professional development.
"When we dedicate this facility and our students occupy the classrooms, they know they are coming here to a school that isn't different because it speaks Spanish or because it has a unique set of colors on its seal, but they're coming to Army institution that provides the same quality and capabilities of professional leader development and education as can be expected from any other Army school," Huber said.
Brig. Gen. Christopher Hughes, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., was the event's keynote speaker, and agreed that the new facility represents the dedication the U.S. has to WHINSEC's partner nations.
"This is a very important day because it tells us that the United States and the U.S. Army continues to invest in this hemisphere and pay close special attention to (our) professional military education (system), which we are all members of and we spread across the Western Hemisphere," Hughes said.
The campus consists of eight buildings built in the 1920s to house Fort Benning's first hospital.
Six of the buildings, including Bradley Hall, have been renovated and are in use by the Institute, with the last two scheduled for completion in early 2015. Bradley Hall served as the home of the National Infantry Museum from 1977 to 2008.
Chilean army Col. Gustavo Nunez Kocher, WHINSEC assistant commandant, took time to thank all involved for the new facilities.
"Gratitude is a feeling that fortifies the spirit, and that's why I say on behalf of all the partner nations at WHINSEC, we thank the United States Army for giving us this magnificent piece of history," Nunez said.
WHINSEC opened in Ridgway Hall in January 2001. While most of the Institute operated there, other facilities on Fort Benning were also used.
In 2008, WHINSEC was relocated to three buildings along Richardson Circle. A decision in 2011 led to the renovation of seven of the buildings between Bills Street and Baltzell Avenue as a single location for the Institute.
Bradley Hall's 16 classrooms are designed to facilitate instruction using the Army Learning Model and are the heart of the Institute's operation, according to WHINSEC.
WHINSEC faculty and staff include uniformed and civilian members of the armed services of the United States and partner nations.
More than 18,000 professionals from 36 nations have taken courses since the institute opened.