KAMPALA, Uganda (May 16, 2012) -- Land force chiefs and senior officers from 36 African nations and U.S. Army Africa have gathered in Uganda's capital of Kampala to discuss the importance of armies to national interests and the nation's people.

Welcoming the officers to the second biennial African Land Forces Summit was Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

In his opening ceremony speech, May 14, Museveni talked about the importance of strong Army ideologies; saying they were key to an Army's strength and success. He also drew upon European history to stress the importance of a united and secure Africa. "Africa armies must be ideologically independent from foreign exploitation and manipulation," Museveni said.

Maj. Gen David R. Hogg, commander, U.S. Army Africa, agreed with Museveni and added that the participation of the delegations at this conference "speaks to the fact that this was not the vision of one man, but it is the desire of the many."

The vision of a safe, stable and secure Africa is the foundation for the week-long summit; which is themed "Strength of the Army; for the nation and its people."

Museveni said the conference is a good initiative because it is one way of fostering Africanism by enabling Africans to solve African issues.

The U.S. Army created ALFS in an effort to build understanding, interpersonal relationships, and leadership, by bringing together senior leaders from the African continent.

The summit provides a unique opportunity for the U.S. and African partner land forces to solidify relationships, exchange information on current topics of mutual interests and seek to encourage cooperation in addressing challenges.

As a partner of many African nations, Hogg said, "this conference is one example of how we, United States Army Africa, partner with you as you continue to develop and implement strategies to improve the security and stability of your nations."

This biennial conference, which runs May 14-18, is the second ALFS and the first held on the African continent. The first summit was in Chantilly, Va. in 2010.