THE Namibian Defence Force has commissioned 45 officers from an initial intake of 55 after a 17-month training course that tested the physical and mental strength of the cadets.
Speaking at the Osana Military School outside Okahandja on Friday, President Hifikepunye Pohamba said the NDF had excelled during international peacekeeping and military intervention excursions in countries such as Cambodia, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East Timor and Sudan.
"As a nation, we are proud to have a professional defence force that has distinguished itself regionally and internationally through the hard work of its members," the president said.
He said Namibia needs a well-equipped and well-trained military force to secure the country against possible threats.
The commissioned officers - 39 men and 15 women from the army, navy and air force - received training in basic soldiering, conventional warfare, low-intensity operations, leadership and administration.
One candidate had to withdraw for medical reasons.
"The aim is to mould and develop trainees into knowledgeable military officers capable of becoming effective leaders within the Namibian Defence Force," the president said.
Pohamba said he hoped more women would become officers in the future.
"I would therefore like to encourage young Namibian women who aspire to join the Namibia Defence Force, as well as those who are already in the force, to work hard so that they can advance through the ranks to assume command responsibilities," he said.
"In fact, I would like the next chief of defence to be a woman," the commander in chief of the country's armed forces said.
The event was also attended by Defence Minister Nahas Angula, his deputy Petrus Iilonga and various services' chiefs and instructors from the Namibian and Zimbabwean defence forces.