Wednesday May 13, 2009
What is it?
In Rwanda, U.S. Army Africa noncommissioned officers are partnering with British soldiers to strengthen leadership capacity within the Rwandan Defence Force (RDF). The month-long program, at an RDF camp near Kigali, culminates in late-May with a field exercise to validate what the Rwandans learn.
What has U.S. Army Africa done?
U.S. Army Africa, the land component of U.S. Africa Command, partners with African nations to promote military professionalism as well as safe and prosperous environments on the continent. U.S. Army Africa was invited to participate in the effort by the British Peace Support Team Eastern Africa, a unit providing military advice and supervising international assistance to national armed forces in Central and East Africa. The RDF requested an event for students who already have some leadership experience, something similar to the U.S. Army Warrior Leadership Course.
In recent years, the RDF has become a disciplined force, responsive to elected officials in support of peace and stability in their nation. Rwanda is also committed to regional stability, as shown by their commitment of peacekeepers in Darfur. RDF soldiers demonstrate a genuine aspiration to strive for perfection, a fact recognized by U.S. Army Africa when planning for this partnership effort.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Programs like this, where U.S. and British militaries partner with an African nation, are coordinated through local embassies in support of diplomatic cooperation. This exposes Rwandan troops to other styles of NCO development that they can later incorporate into their own programs.
Meanwhile, opportunities for U.S. Army Africa to include Army NCOs for mentorship programs continue to grow. Army NCOs will continue to take part in such efforts in Liberia and the Horn of Africa. Other upcoming partnerships involve Swaziland and Uganda.
Why is this important to the Army?
The initial success of this military cooperation in Rwanda is indicative of the U.S. Army's role in partnering with African nations - engaging in ways that build capacity for African forces that support elected officials to create more peaceful and stable environments. By building security capacity and promoting strategic partnerships with the Rwandan military, the U.S. Army maintains a valuable ally in East Africa to support stability and defeat extremism in the region, a priority for U.S. foreign policy.
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