Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas -- U.S. Army South and 56th Signal Battalion Soldiers instruct nearly 20 signal officers and senior non-commissioned officers from nine countries at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Feb. 25-28 during the 2019 Junior Communications Symposium sponsored by U.S. Africa Command.

"The purpose of the symposium and these mil-to-mil engagements is to have the opportunity to have the African partner nations get together and exchange communications information," said Malgorzata Makuchowski, U.S. Africa Command program manager. "We can introduce them to the good practices that are conducted in the United States so they can take these ideas back to their countries. All of the participating personnel are signal officers so they will have the opportunity to share different methods of communication from their countries.This should help them communicate better in the future."

Lt. Hela Sassi Ep Ben Ali, a Tunisian Army communications officer said she enjoyed seeing the different radio strategies and equipment that the U.S. Army uses.
"I am hoping that my country will try to get equipment like that," said Sassi. "I am amazed at how good the technology is."

Makuchowski said she liked seeing the interaction between the militaries. The static displays and the radio demonstrations the U.S. Army South and 56th Signal Battalion showed were very helpful she said. These displays gave the officers and senior non-commissioned officers the opportunity to touch and see how the different systems actually worked.

"What interested me most was the satellite technology and some of the new equipment that makes the communication much easier to carry around," said Maj. Moagisi Tlotleng, a Botswanan Defense Force communications officer. "I believe if we had this technology in my country it would make things easier to communicate and to deploy quickly."

Tlotleng said this is his first communications symposium. He said he is very happy to build a relationship with other partnered nations signal officers and share his experiences while learning from others.

"I really liked interacting with the other militaries and learning the different things that they do in comparison to what I do," said Spc. LeAshley Harmel, a U.S. Army South information technology specialist. "Instructing gave me the opportunity to inform them on how important my job is to the U.S. Army signal mission and answering their questions gave me a better perspective on how they do their jobs."

Many of the partner nation officers agreed that they enjoyed the hands on experience and thanked the U.S. Army Soldiers for sharing their knowledge.
This symposium assisted in the familiarization of DoD signal and cyber defense key processes and training procedures to partner nation signal personnel.
Makuchowski said that they will meet later on in the year to discuss additional communications information and strategies.