ARUSHA, Tanzania - Planners from U.S. Army Africa and the Tanzanian People's Defense Force met Nov. 30-Dec. 4, 2015, to conduct the main planning event for the African Land Forces Summit 2016.
The summit, scheduled to take place in May, will be hosted by the TPDF and co-hosted by USARAF.
ALFS is an annual, weeklong summit bringing together land force chiefs of staff from throughout the African continent to discuss mutual threats and challenges from a regional and transregional perspective.
"The TPDF are hosting ALFS for the first time in Arusha and the summit is very important to all of Tanzania," said Col. Victor Kisiri, the 303rd Infantry Brigade administrative officer and senior planner for the TPDF.
"ALFS will build the cooperation between Tanzania and the other African countries," said Kisiri. "Other African countries and the U.S. will understand us more and will explore more of Tanzania."
The importance of the summit extends across Africa, according to Col. Stephen Maranian, U.S. Army Africa chief of staff.
"ALFS provides a venue for dialogue between regional partners and enables relationship building between senior leaders across Africa," said Maranian. "They have busy schedules and don't often have the time to gather in an open venue like this."
During ALFS 2015, held in Dakar, Senegal, more than 35 nations participated in the weeklong discussions about regional and transregional issues.
"For an event of this magnitude it's important that we're partnered with the nation hosting the event from the very beginning," said Maranian.
The main planning event brought planners together from both the TPDF and USARAF to coordinate the many requirements that must be met to ensure the success of ALFS.
"We are expecting a lot of people to come here. You can expect more challenges especially with people coming from so many different countries," said Kisiri.
"Administration must be planned in great detail," said Kisiri, because, "planning in detail ensures nothing gets overlooked."
Planners coordinate living arrangements, transportation, security and schedules for all participants.
"Planning is very important, especially for the military. There is nothing that can be done without planning. If you plan well, you can expect that what you planned will be carried out," said Kisiri.
U.S. Embassy Tanzania security desk officer, Lt. Col. Vincent Golembeski, reiterated the challenges of planning an event as large as ALFS.
"The impact of having so many senior ranking generals from across Africa is a daunting task," said Golembeski.
He said the main planning event was an "important milestone" to ensuring the success of the event.
Planners worked together to scout locations in and around Arusha to host the summit and corresponding cultural events. For some, this was their first trip to Tanzania and was an opportunity to experience the local culture.
"The Tanzanians are gracious hosts," said Maranian.
"We're very grateful to Tanzania for offering to host this event. It's a very large event and we'll continue to work together to ensure its success," Maranian said.