In 1992, students from the Regular Class 27 of the Master in National Security Administration (MNSA) of the National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) saw the need and the potential to have a credible strategic research institution that would serve as a backbone for policy-making of the Department of National Defense (DND). The fulfillment of this idea eluded them until 25 years later when they revisited the plan as the project of the NDCP jubilarian class. The plan was spearheaded by Senator Loren B. Legarda, MNSA, Deputy Cabinet Secretary/Undersecretary Gloria Jumamil-Mercado PhD, MNSA and NDCP Alumni Association Chairman of the Board and President Benjamin I. Espiritu PhD, MNSA - Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Pamantasang Lungsod ng Maynila. They strongly advocated for the establishment of a center of excellence for strategic researches at the National Defense College of the Philippines. Their idea of a center of excellence came to fruition in 2017 with the issuance of DND Department Order No. 404 in September 2017 and the initial fund of P30 Million (10M for PCEDS projects and 20M to pilot an Executive MNSA in blended mode) was allocated by Senator Legarda. Former Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, General Alexander B. Yano served as the first director of the center in January 2018.
The center of excellence, currently known as the Philippine Center of Excellence in Defense, Development and Security (PCEDS), was not only relevant to its founders, but was also born out of the need to pursue excellence in strategic and defense research amidst the rapid development in the regional and global security landscape. Given this, the first activity of the Center in 2018 was an international conference with the theme “Resilience in the Age of Global Insecurity”. The Center likewise convened a leadership forum with women leaders from the six (6) regions of Mindanao in October 2018. This became the catalyst for its Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) flagship program.
Today, under the leadership of Dr. Gloria Jumamil-Mercado MNSA, the PCEDS is in full swing to deliver prompt, relevant, and quality research output for the defense department, and to extend its incubation and innovation expertise to other government agencies. For 2020-2022, the PCEDS will be working on six (6) key areas, with WPS as its flagship program. Other areas of interest include Archipelagic Security, Human Security, Defense Education, Peacebuilding in Mindanao, and the Network of Young Defense Analysts and Practitioners. For 2020, it is currently incubating the Executive MNSA degree program of the NDCP and releases regularly its PCEDS Strategic Analysis.
With its strategic positioning as a key part of the NDCP and its managerial and human capital resources, the PCEDS is ready to embark on a new chapter in its operations -- a chapter on pursuing excellence in every way.