Military senior leaders from the U.S. Army and over 40 African countries met for the 10th African Land Forces Summit from March 21-25. The summit, hosted by the U.S. Army Chief of Staff, focused on strengthening partnerships and discussing security challenges impacting African land forces.
The theme for this year’s ALFS was “Resilient Institutions Build Resilient Leaders,” which highlighted the importance of foundational elements within army and security institutions, such as training centers and non-commissioned officers.
Maj. Gen. Chikunkha Harrison Soko, land forces commander, Republic of Malawi, said this year’s ALFS contributes to the security of the African continent because it exposed partner nations to new leadership styles and training models, as well as providing a means to discuss issues affecting Africa and the world at large.
“For some of the generals who have never been here, they have seen soldiers coming in for training straight from recruitment, and they have seen progressive courses both for noncommissioned officers and for the officers,” said Soko. “This summit cannot be in a better place than Fort Benning.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew Rohling, commander, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force - Africa, closed out this year's ALFS with remarks encouraging attendees to build on the connections they’ve made at the summit, continue discussions, and remember their common goal: a more secure, stable, and prosperous Africa.
“There is a popular saying: ‘If you want to go fast, go alone. But, if you want to go far, go together’,” said Rohling. “The United States wants to travel together. The United States Army is committed to being a trusted, dependable partner. We highly value our partnerships. We want to strengthen our partnerships and expand new ones.”
Rohling also announced the co-host and location of next year’s ALFS in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which is the first time the summit will be held in Africa since 2020.
“We look forward to planning the return of the African Land Forces Summit to the African continent in partnership with Division Gen. Aly Justin Dem and the Ivorian Armed Forces,” said Rohling. “I know it will be a great event.”
Attendees took part in plenary sessions in the morning and spent afternoons observing training at Fort Benning, home of the Maneuver Center of Excellence and the U.S. Army’s Infantry and Armor Schools. Attendees also saw One Station Unit Training, the Airborne School, a live fire demonstrations, and the popular Rangers in Action demonstration.
The goal of the African Land Forces Summit is to strengthen partnerships across Africa to improve regional and continent-wide security, as well as demonstrate to African partners that the U.S. is committed to their long-term success. This forum allowed for candid dialogue to discuss and develop cooperative solutions to improve transnational security and stability, and provided an opportunity for the U.S. participants to hear issues and concerns directly from African land forces commanders.