New year welcomes new vision for CJTF-HOA

Major General Ralph O. Baker - Official Photo
U.S. AFRICOM Photo Major General Ralph O. Baker - Official Photo
The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa service members are refocusing their vision to be the security partner of choice in East Africa as they welcome in the new year.

Maj. Gen. Rob Baker, CJTF-HOA commander, recently shared what the vision means for U.S. service members in this increasingly secure, stable and developed region.

"I want CJTF-HOA to partner with east African militaries," Baker said. "I want them to see us as a partner, and I want to work alongside them to fight transnational threats to both them and the United States."

According to the general, these transnational threats exceed the capacity of any one nation to address.

"It's only when you can collaborate and work together that you can defeat this kind of threat," he continued.

When working together with coalition partners, sister services or East African military members, relationships play a huge role in achieving the mission.

"What we do is all about relationships," said the general. " That's true at every level. I travel throughout East Africa to meet with senior leaders, and those relationships are vital to what we are trying to do here. Just as important are the individual Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines on the ground who develop personal relationships and make positive impressions with their counterparts."

Baker wants all service members to understand their importance and roles in fulfilling CJTF-HOA's vision.

"I want every troop in this command to understand what they're doing and how what they're doing supports the security of our nation and the security of American citizens in the region," Baker said.

CJTF-HOA members have devoted significant effort over the past year to set the conditions necessary to coordinate and synchronize all U.S. military activities in the command's 10-country operating area.

Baker said the command's refocus will help build and strengthen partner nation military capacity and ultimately contribute directly to the improved security of East African partners, to the security of the U.S. homeland and to the personal safety and security of Americans citizens in the region. The general looks to the next few years as a chance for opportunity and growth throughout East Africa.

"The strengthened capacity will not manifest itself probably for another two or three years because it takes time to train and develop these capabilities, but I'm confident that the systems we put in place based on our campaign plan are going to ensure that the quality of that training is significantly improved in the out years," Baker said. "I'm excited about the potential for us to improve the quality of the security cooperation training we provide to the East African militaries."