VICENZA, Italy - The Botswana Defence Force and U.S. Army Africa moved one step closer to the seventh African Land Forces Summit after wrapping up the main planning event Feb. 5-8 in Gaborone, Botswana.

ALFS is the premiere conference for military leaders from across Africa and it provides an open forum for land force chiefs to discuss trans-regional threats and engage in candid dialogue.

"African Land Forces Summit is important because senior leaders need to meet," said Dave Sutton, the USARAF ALFS lead planner. "ALFS provides that forum. It's an opportunity for them to talk about issues that matter."

According to the United Nations website, Africa is home to seven of the current 14 U.N. peace keeping missions in the world.

When combined with regions across the continent engaged in conflict with
violent extremist organizations and an ongoing poaching crisis, ALFS provides military leaders an opportunity to address these important issues.

Among other benefits of the yearly seminar are the relationships that are forged and strengthened, an important factor considering most threats span borders and peacekeeping missions are comprised of several countries.

"Strengthening partner networks is the theme for this year's summit." Sutton said. "It reflects our shared beliefs that partner networks are essential to strengthening coordination and collaboration across regional borders and militaries."

During the four day conference in June, attendees will be grouped into regions and listen to military and academic leaders during plenary breakout sessions focusing on regional organizations, multinational task forces and cooperation through peacekeeping.

With the conference less than four months away, both the BDF and USARAF planning teams continue to make strides ensuring every detail is planned so land force chiefs depart the conference with new contacts and tangible ideas to improve efficiencies in their areas of concern.

"The main planning event was a great success thanks to our BDF counterparts," Sutton said. "Our teams worked effectively together, they were focused and there was an overall great spirit of teamwork."