Selebi-Phikwe, Botswana — In a demonstration of international cooperation, the U.S. Army’s 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade and the Botswana Defense Forces joined forces for rigorous training at the Mantswe a Ditschwene range here, Sep. 18, 2023. Amidst this austere environment, SFAB advisors and BDF soldiers worked to improve their proficiency at small-unit tactics.
The 2nd SFAB served as advisors for the BDF as they took part in a five-week Urban Combat Leadership Course (UCLC). This course consists of mainly small unit tactics training, with a focus on leadership development, casualty care, marksmanship, and close quarters combat training. The course culminated in the rugged terrain of Mantswe a Ditschwene range, with the BDF participants taking part in squad and platoon missions to include platoon raids and room clearing operations.
The collaboration marks yet another milestone of continued partnership for the 2nd SFAB, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) and the BDF, a partnership founded on shared security interests and the pursuit of regional stability.
“Advising our partners at the tactical level on tasks such as room clearing, platoon raids and operations orders establishes foundational proficiencies that enable a more capable and professional force,” explained Sgt. 1st Class Stephen Patterson, 2nd SFAB maneuver advisor team sergeant.
The 2nd SFAB, charged with advising and training allies and partner forces in Africa, brought its many collective years of experience to the table. In adherence to Army tradition and doctrine, American instructors and their Botswana counterparts meticulously drilled soldiers in small-unit infantry tactics.
“We recognize the pivotal role that African nations play in promoting stability and security on the continent. Our partnership with African military forces is a testament to our shared commitment to peace and prosperity,” added Capt. Phil Cavanagh, 2nd SFAB maneuver advisor team leader.
The vast, unforgiving landscape of the Mantswe a Ditschwene Range posed unique challenges for the training unit. Soldiers had to adapt swiftly to the challenging terrain, where unpredictable weather and limited resources mirrored the conditions they might encounter in real-world missions.
"This collaboration is a testament to our commitment to strengthening alliances with our partners in Botswana. By honing their skills, we are not only preparing the BDF for any challenges they may face but also solidifying the bonds of friendship and trust between our two nations,” said Cavanagh.
"We value the enduring relationship between our countries,” said Maj. B. Selepeng, the officer-in-charge of BDF soldiers. ”This training will undoubtedly enhance the capabilities of our soldiers, allowing us to better serve our nation and contribute to regional security."
Botswana's position in Southern Africa places it at the crossroads of various regional dynamics. It shares borders with South Africa, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe, making it a critical point of contact with neighboring nations. This geographic centrality enables Botswana to monitor and respond effectively to regional security threats, including violent extremist organizations.
The 2nd SFAB is regionally aligned with U.S. Africa Command and is under the operational control of SETAF-AF. This mission in Botswana is one of many which 2nd SFAB executes on the African continent, maintaining periodic presence in up to 15 African countries. Engagements such as this underscore the importance of partnerships where global challenges require collective responses.