U.S. Army Africa and Special Operations Command Africa are working together to support the Trans Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership, also known as TSCP, with a train and equip mission in Burkina Faso.
The TSCTP is a U.S. State Department-led, multi-year, interagency program designed to counter violent extremism by building the ability of communities to resist radicalization, terrorist recruitment, and counter terrorism by building long-term security force capacity and regional security cooperation.
The partnership comprises the U.S. Maghreb nations of Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia and Sahel nations of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. The partnership also includes Nigeria and Senegal.
In April, 13 Soldiers from USARAF’s Regionally Aligned Force, 1st Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, trained officers and noncommissioned officers of Burkina Faso’s 25th Regiment Parachutist Commando Counterterrorism Company.
"USARAF is working with SOCOM Africa to build capacity in the Burkinabe to support the Tran Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership. This alliance emphasizes the importance of a unified approach and leverages both organization's expertise to shape the security cooperation,” Lt. Col. Edwin Escobar, USARAF’s provost marshal said. Escobar was the lead planner and facilitator for the training.
Master Sgt. James Havlin, USARAF Provost Marshal operations sergeant, says equipping the Burkinabe counter terrorism company gives them the tools they need to catch the bad guys.
“Along with training, Burkinabe soldiers received equipment increasing the capacity as a counter terrorism company. The equipment should enable their operations to reinforce existing security networks as well as bolster their capacity to locate and interdict terrorists along local borders,” Havlin said. “Equipment included some support vehicles, individual body armor, uniforms, helmets, radios and sleeping bags.”
According to Escobar, Burkinabe soldiers received classroom training as well as hands-on field instruction. He said they developed training tasks and planned exercises based on how the U.S. Army plans its training exercises.
“Phase I began with military decision making process training known as MDMP, and was directed toward battle-focused training. MDMP instruction and tactical operations center exercises generated excellent dialogue and helped develop a mission essential task list known as METL,” Escobar said.
According to Havlin, RAF and contract trainers facilitated classes on squad and platoon-level patrolling, tactical combat casualty care and other soldier skills.
“Week two focused on weapons qualifications culminating in a squad-level live-fire exercise,” Havlin said. “A final field training exercise was just completed where the Burkinabe developed professional soldier skills and expanded the relationship between USARAF and the Burkinabe military.”