The commander of U.S. Africa Command, General "Kip" Ward, conducted a three-day visit to Uganda April 9-11, 2008, to meet with Ugandan military leadership and address issues of mutual interest.
Upon arrival at Entebbe airport April 9, Ward was met by U.S. Ambassador to Uganda Steven Browning and Ugandan Chief of Land Forces Lieutenant General Katumba Wamala. Later that evening, he met with approximately 65 members of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies Uganda Community Chapter, as well as with senior leadership from the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Force.
Ward traveled April 10 to the Gulu district in Northern Uganda to observe a veterinary civic action program, or VETCAP, conducted at the Te-Tugu internally displaced persons camp by military personnel from Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa. He also met with representatives from U.S. government agencies, such as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) providing development and other humanitarian assistance. He also met with members of nongovernmental organizations such as the Malaria Consortium.
During the visit, Ward emphasized the mutually supportive nature of military security and development toward the provision of peace and stability in the region, to include activities such as the inoculation of livestock, provision of malaria prevention materials, and the establishment of safe and secure sources of water.
"It is important to note that we understand that you need security, but you also need development," Ward said in a news conference April 11 . " And when you have development occurring hand-in-hand with the security, that provides the best opportunity for the peoples of the continent to benefit. Education, health, levels of economic development that make a difference."
Ward said Africa Command will play a leading role in civil development work, which will continue to be coordinated by civilian agencies and nongovernmental organizations. "But where our activities can be supportive of that work," Ward said. "We want to be a positive contributing force, and by so doing helping to raise the standard for all the peoples on the continent."
Ward traveled April 11 to Kimaka Barracks in Jinja, where he delivered a 30-minute address to approximately 200 military students at the Ugandan Senior Command and Staff College. He emphasized the critical nature of education and learning to the development of a professional officer corps.
Immediately following his presentation, Ward accompanied AFRICOM's Command Sergeant Major Mark Ripka to Uganda's new Non-Commissioned Officer Academy at Gadafi Barracks in Jinja, created in 2007 to further the professionalism of the nation's senior enlisted leadership.
During his visit, Ward also met with Ugandan Chief of Defense Force Aronda Nyakairima to discuss issues of importance to Uganda and U.S. Africa Command in the realm of military security assistance.