By Steve Sanderson, U.S. Army AfricaOctober 14, 2009
WASHINGTON -- Maj. Gen. William B. Garrett, commander of U.S. Army Africa met with several African defense attachAfAs to discuss his command's partnership initiatives with African nations.
The roundtable discussion, which included numerous African attachAfAs assigned to embassies in the U.S. capital, took place Oct. 6, amid the Association of the United States Army conference. Several senior U.S. State Department and U.S. Defense Department officials alto took part.
By introducing the command to the African leaders, Garrett hoped to further relationships, creating a positive climate for future discussions and events with African partners, he said.
"Our future success in Africa will be based on the rapport we build now with our African counterparts," Garrett said. "Discussions such as this create a progressive environment for potential military cooperation between our armies."
Following a command overview, the group discussed current issues African nations face. The roundtable offered a chance for the Africans to learn more about U.S. Army Africa, while Garrett heard first hand what challenges are ahead, said Col. Peter Aubrey, U.S. Army Africa's Director of Security Cooperation, whose staff organized the talks.
"The event is an invaluable opportunity for senior African military representatives to deal with U.S. Army Africa's commander in a face to face setting," Aubrey said. "From here, we also take back important information for planning upcoming partnership initiatives."
Other invitees included representatives from the U.S. Institute for Peace, Global Peace Operations Initiative, the U.S. Security Assistance Training and Management Organization and the Office of the Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.
Closing the session was General William Ward, Commander, U.S. Africa Command. He emphasized the significance of listening and understanding one another; working together as a cohesive team to increase regional stability; and stressed how important it is that we recognize the goals and objectives of African countries so the United States and partner organizations can provide the requisite support in a coherent way.