Friday March 19, 2010
What is it?
U.S. Army Africa is increasing partnership efforts in Africa through a series of senior leader engagements, part of the command's strategy to build solid relationships with African military leaders that will ultimately lead toward the goal of strengthening professional African land forces capable of supporting security, stability and peace in Africa. Senior leader interactions are one of the tools Army components traditionally use to execute capacity-building efforts. U.S. Army Africa engages senior African officers to encourage follow-on initiatives such as military-to-military familiarization events and combined exercises.
What has U.S. Army Africa done?
This spring, senior U.S. Army Africa leaders will visit South Africa, Algeria, Libya and other African nations. Developing relationships with African land force leaders remains central to U.S. Army Africa's mission. U.S. Army Africa also welcomed Tanzanian Maj. Gen. Wynjones Matthew Kisamba to Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy - marking the first time a senior African military officer visited U.S. Army Africa's headquarters since becoming an Army service component command. The senior leader visit was the first of several planned for 2010.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
This spring, U.S. Army Africa will bring together Army chiefs from many of Africa's 54 countries to take part in the inaugural African Land Force Summit in Washington, D.C. Senior U.S. Army officials and representatives from several military and civilian organizations will also attend. As U.S. Africa Command continues its approach to security cooperation with a persistent, sustained level of engagement, the Army's role in building partner security capacity is increasing. U.S. Army Africa has a lead role in this effort.
Why is this important to the Army?
U.S. Army activities in Africa, such as ongoing senior leader discussions, are in line with the U.S. State Department's policy of diplomatic, development and defense efforts to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives. Talks with senior African leaders help the command reach its four main objectives - laying the foundation now for future success as a theater army, helping African partner nations strengthen professional land force capacity that respects legitimate civilian authorities, becoming a trusted and reliable partner and preparing Army capabilities to prevent or mitigate crisis in Africa.
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"The ISF performance during the election was absolutely superb. They dealt with things professionally. They showed incredible bravery finding and diffusing IEDs; I was really impressed with their command and control."
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"We can have some basic conversation with the locals and gain some confidence. Ninety-nine percent of your day you are on patrol -- you're not going there to fight a bad guy. There's a lot of time to interact with people -- if you could talk to them: do they have food, are they getting what they need? If you can talk to them, it's huge. You get a lot accomplished if they feel they relate to you."
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