STUTTGART, Germany – As we take a look back at 2017, U.S. Africa Command’s “Year in Review” is a brief look at the contributions of AFRICOM’s people, our interagency and international partners, and African partners as we work together toward a more secure, stable and prosperous Africa.
Exercises, Rule of Law engagements, medical training events, conferences on countering violent extremisim, meetings with African leaders, security in East Africa, the first ever African Chiefs of Defense Conference and first ever enlisted senior leader conference, Somalia, Niger, a new state partnership – this is just a sampling of AFRICOM in action with partners on the continent in 2017.
Paving the road to a more secure Somalia
Leaders meet for the 2017 Somali National Army Symposium
Somali National Army Chief of Defense Forces Maj. Gen. Mohammed Adan Ahmed, right, and Chief of Staff Col. Ahmed Mohammed, left, converse with African Union Mission in Somalia Col. Ali Noor during the SNA Symposium in downtown Mogadishu, Jan. 12, 2017. The symposium is part of an ongoing international effort to aid security conditions throughout Somalia by fostering the growth and revitalization of the national military defense force, which disbanded following the collapse of the country’s central government in 1991. (Photo by Master Sgt. Paul Gorman/Released)
Leaders of the Somali National Army met with international military and civilian officials to discuss the future of Somalia’s security at the 2017 SNA Symposium in downtown Mogadishu, Jan. 10.
More than 60 participants attended the two-day event, including representatives from Denmark, Germany, Italy, Somalia, Turkey, Uganda, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America. Also in attendance were representatives from international organizations such as the United Nations, the European Union Training Mission, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
State, Defense officials focus on East Africa security
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Commanding General U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Kurt Sonntag converse during the 2017 East Africa Security Synchronization Conference at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Jan. 24. The two-day event allowed U.S. Embassy representatives from eight East African nations to engage with AFRICOM leadership, and provided the opportunity for an open dialogue to discuss the security environments of each country. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Paul Gorman/Released)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – U.S. Embassy representatives from eight East African nations joined military leaders from U.S. Africa Command and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa at Camp Lemonnier Jan. 24, for the 2017 East Africa Security Synchronization Conference.
“My goal for the conference is that we synchronize the efforts of U.S. AFRICOM, and the visions of the Chiefs of Mission,” Waldhauser said. “I truly view this as partnership.”
He continued by stressing the importance of aligning regional military priorities with those of the ambassador’s host countries. According to Waldhauser, the highest priority must be placed on the concerns of the host nation, followed by those of the embassy, and lastly those of U.S. AFRICOM.
Indiana National Guard, Republic of Niger form new partnership
NIAMEY, Niger - Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the Adjutant General of Indiana, and Gen. Seyni Garba, Joint Chief of Staff of the Niger Armed Forces, sign a ceremonial partnership agreement during the State Partnership Program signing ceremony in Niamey, Niger, Jan. 26, 2017. (Photo by Nate Herring, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/Released)
The Indiana National Guard and the Republic of Niger began a new partnership Jan. 26 as part of the National Guard’s State Partnership Program.
Maj. Gen. Courtney P. Carr, the Adjutant General of Indiana, and Gen. Seyni Garba, Joint Chief of Staff of the Niger Armed Forces, signed a ceremonial partnership agreement during a ceremony in Niamey, Niger.
"This partnership is timely because it offers a great opportunity for the Niger armed forces to further develop its capabilities to face all the major security challenges of the day," Garba said.
“For the Forces Armée Nigerien, it will build and strengthen its already impressive military training institutions and security operations,” said Amb. Eunice S. Reddick, U.S. Ambassador to Niger. “For the Indiana National Guard, the partnership offers a chance to increase readiness, interoperability, and regional expertise.”
Multinational planners put final touches on Exercise Unified Focus 2017 in Cameroon
Countering violent extremist organizations in Lake Chad Basin focus of exercise
Planners discuss the details of each exercise scenario during the Unified Focus 2017 final planning event (FPE), Douala, Cameroon, Feb. 6, 2017. The UF17 FPE brought partner nation planners together to discuss and shape the inaugural Unified Focus exercise designed to enhance and enable Lake Chad Basin Commission nations to support the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) counter-Boko Haram operations. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Capt. Jason Welch/Released)
DOUALA, Cameroon - Military planners from the U.S., Cameroon and seven other African and European nations met here Feb. 6-9 to finish the planning and preparation for the inaugural U.S. Army Africa-led exercise Unified Focus 2017, scheduled to take place in April.
UF17 is a tabletop exercise that brings the military partners of the Lake Chad Basin Commission’s Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) together to practice joint planning and coordination through a series of vignettes.
The planning event began with recognition of the recent loss of Cameroonian Brig. Gen. Jacob Kodji and three other officers in a helicopter crash.
“This exercise that we're planning is a counterterrorism exercise and on the 22nd of January, Brig. Gen. Kodji and three of his comrades were killed on the battlefield in the fight against terrorism,” said Cameroonian Maj. Gen. Saly Mohamadou, Commander of the 2nd Military Region and senior host for the planning event.
AFRICOM hosts former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
Mission and programs in Africa focus of visit
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, escorts former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to a brief on the command's mission and programs in Africa during her visit to AFRICOM, Feb. 16, 2017. Albright also met with career Foreign Service officers currently assigned to AFRICOM and U.S. European Command, sharing her experiences and expressing the importance of “working across the aisle” to get things done. (USAFRICOM photos by Brenda Law/Released)
On her way to the annual Munich Security Conference, Albright arrived a day earlier in Stuttgart and was hosted by AFRICOM commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and his staff who gave a presentation on the organization’s mission and programs in Africa.
Reflecting on her time in various roles in government and academia, she shared her experiences and wisdom with the current cadre of Foreign Service officers. She praised their contributions to American diplomatic efforts and expressed the importance of “reaching across the aisle” as a way to build and nurture relationships that benefit the nation.
Flintlock 2017 builds trust in Niger
A Nigerien soldier provides rear security for his squad while they performed a dismounted patrol during Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, March 11, 2017. Flintlock exercises strengthen security institutions, promote multilateral sharing of information, and develop interoperability among partner nations in the Trans-Sahara. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Zayid Ballesteros/Released)
DIFFA, Niger— For two and a half weeks, Forces Armees Nigerinnes (FAN) soldiers trained with Australian, Belgium, Canadian and U.S. Special Operations Forces as a part of Exercise Flintlock 2017, which commenced on Feb. 27 and concluded March 15. The training started with individual soldiering techniques such as marksmanship, first aid, land navigation, counter-explosives training and eventually progressed into advanced platoon-level maneuvers.
FAN soldiers come from across Niger. Niger has many tribal groups and some soldiers know French and some speak other languages like Hausa. By training as a unit these soldiers bonded and found common ground with each other.
AFRICOM science advisors focus on solving warfighter challenges
The Wave Glider, an unmanned surface vehicle, is powered by wave motion and it is the only proven unmanned surface vehicle for real-time ocean data collection and communications over long durations and in varying sea states. Wave Glider, which was recently on display at the U.S. Pacific Command Operational Science and Technology Conference, holds the world record - 3,200 nautical miles in a three-month period of unmanned operations, beating out the previous world record by 700 nautical miles. The Wave Glider is an example of a tool developed to support Department of Defense capability gaps. (U.S. Africa Command photo courtesy of Ricardo Arias)
STUTTGART, Germany - Helping to ensure that science and technology meet warfighter requirements are combatant command science advisory teams, like the one at U.S. Africa Command, that work to respond to command technology needs and close, minimize or mitigate capability gaps.
“We [do] this by leveraging the resources of the DoD S&T enterprise and the DoD Research, Development, Testing and Evaluation programs and resources,” said Ricardo Arias, AFRICOM liaison officer to the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics, who recently represented AFRICOM at the U.S. Pacific Command Operational Science and Technology Conference in Honolulu, March 6 to 10.
“DARPA is one of 444 DoD entities that contribute to the department's $80 billion annual research and development enterprise that we can help AFRICOM connect with.”
Prime Minister of Libyan Government of National Accord visits AFRICOM
The Prime Minister of Libya’s unity government, Fayez al-Sarraj, visited the U.S. Africa Command headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany April 5, 2017.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command greets Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj during a visit April 5, 2017 at the AFRICOM headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. (USAFRICOM photo by Nate Herring/Released)
The visit also included Amb. Peter Bodde, U.S. Ambassador to Libya.
“We had a good discussion about the ways ahead and how we continue our support to the Government of National Accord,” Waldhauser said. “We have some exchanges now that are going to continue on and some working groups based on some of the topics we discussed today.”
In partnership with the GNA, the operation succeeded in its core objective of enabling GNA-aligned forces to drive ISIS out of Sirte by conducting 495 precision airstrikes against Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Devices, heavy guns, tanks, command and control centers and fighting positions.
“We continue to develop intelligence and watch groups like ISIS in conjunction with the Government of National Accord,” Waldhauser said. “The counter-terrorism fight is still something we both focus on and work very closely on.”
AFRICOM hosts first ever Chiefs of Defense conference
African CHoDs gather to discuss countering VEOs, peace support operations
More than 40 African Chiefs of Defense or their representatives participated in the first ever CHoD conference hosted by U.S. Africa Command, April 19-20, 2017, in Stuttgart, GE. Countering VEOs and peace support operations were the central topics for discussion. (Photos by Brenda Law and Staff Sgt. Grady Jones, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/Released)
More than 225 attendees from various organizations participated in the event. Besides AFRICOM senior leadership were representatives from 42 African countries, 35 U.S. Defense Attachés, AFRICOM Component Commanders, and members of the Joint Staff. Also attending were representatives from the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Institute of Defense Analysis, and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) who operate on the continent.
In his opening remarks, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command said, “Our goal is to have this conference defined by you and the issues of concern to your countries.
“As many of you know, the United States Africa Command was established 10 years ago as a reflection of the U.S. vital strategic interests.
“Ten years ago--in keeping with our National strategic objectives--we envisioned our overarching purpose to foster security, stability, and prosperity in Africa.
“This remains our purpose today,” said Waldhauser.
AFRICOM Commander joins SecDef in meeting with Djibouti's president
U.S. - Djibouti security partnership focus of meeting
Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and U.S. Africa Command Commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser meet with Djibouti’s President Ismail Omar Guelleh at his presidential palace in Djibouti City, Djibouti, April 23, 2017. (DOD photo by U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley/Released)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command joined U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis during a meeting with President Ismael Omar Guelleh on April 23 to discuss U.S. - Djibouti security partnership. In an exclusive statement to Radio Television Djibouti, Secretary Mattis confirmed he had a good meeting with the President, discussing a wide range of bilateral issues.
"Our two countries enjoy an excellent relationship, centered on security cooperation and activities that benefit the economy and welfare of both peoples. The United States contributes more than $140 million to the Djiboutian economy each year and is one of the largest employers, employing more than 2,500 Djiboutian at the U.S. military installation Camp Lemonnier and U.S. Embassy," said Mattis.
AFRICOM, CJTF-HOA Commanders meet with Somalia President
Leaders discuss security, independent Somalia force during meeting
U.S. Africa Command commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, and President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known by his nickname “Farmaajo,” shake hands after their meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017.
With its partners, USAFRICOM works to neutralize transnational threats protect U.S. personnel and facilities, prevent and mitigate conflict, and build defense capability to promote regional stability and prosperity. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond/Released)
MOGADISHU, Somalia – Newly-appointed Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness and the CJTF-HOA Command Senior Enlisted Leader U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin J. Higginbotham joined the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser for a series of meetings regarding East African security here Saturday.
This visit to Mogadishu International Airport solidified a commitment to assist African regional partners strengthen their own security through the following measures: countering transnational threats, promoting regional stability through defense capabilities and protection of U.S. assets.
With AMISOM scheduled to withdraw forces over a 24-month period beginning in October 2018, President Farmaajo is slated to present a new national security architecture at the London Summit in May. Furness expressed that he is hopeful the plan laying out Somalia’s armed forces structure will integrate well with U.S. efforts to train, advise and assist Somali security forces.
AFRICOM Commander visits Libyan Prime Minister in Tripoli, Libya
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), and Amb. Peter Bodde, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, meets with Fayez al-Sarraj the Prime Minister of Libya's Unity Government, during a recent visit to Tripoli, Libya May 23, 2017. This marks the first time a high-ranking U.S. military official has been in Libya since 2014.
STUTTGART, Germany - U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, and Amb. Peter Bodde, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, met with the Prime Minister of Libya's Unity Government Fayez al-Sarraj in Tripoli, Libya May 23, 2017.
"The U.S. Africa Command continues to collaborate with Government of National Accord (GNA) security officials on ways we can support those forces charged with security Tripoli," said Waldhauser. "We support partner operations, including the European Union Border Assistance mission in Libya and Operation Sophia which trains for border security."
This visit to Libya marks the first time a high-ranking U.S. military official has visited Libya since 2014.
"This visit today demonstrates the commitment of the United States to a partnership with Prime Minister Sarraj and the Government of National Accord," said Bodde. "We urge all Libyans to join together in a shared effort to ensure their mutual security and prosperity."
United Accord 2017 enhances readiness from private to general
Jungle warfare school marks the first time African partner nation trained U.S. Army Africa regionally aligned forces
U.S. Soldiers assigned to the 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division and Ghana Armed Forces soldiers participate in a farewell event during United Accord 2017 at Bundase Training Camp, Bundase, Ghana, May 29, 2017. United Accord (formerly Western Accord) 2017 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that promotes regional relationships, increases capacity, trains U.S. and Western African forces, and encourages cross training and interoperability. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Victor Perez Vargas/Released)
UA 2017’s CPX hosted service members from 15 African and seven western nations collectively working through a peacekeeping scenario similar to real-world missions from the United Nations Multidimensional Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA).
“You are guardians of your homelands and the protectors of our collective security,” said U.S. Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson. “It is only through partnership that we can address existing conflicts and prevent future ones.”
Fleet Anti-Terrorism Security Team completes first exercise in Africa
FASTEUR embassy engagement conducted in Morocco
RABAT, Morocco (May 24,2017) Marine Sergeant Anthony King, first squad leader with Alpha Company 1st Platoon Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team, Company Europe (FASTEUR), oversees Moroccan Police as they execute various Close Quarters Battle techniques in Rabat, Morocco. FASTEUR was in Rabat to train with Moroccan Police and U.S. Embassy Security during the first embassy training exercise within AFRICOM to strengthen interoperability and prepare a coordinated response plan for any unforeseen emergency. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Russell R. Rhodes Jr./Released)
Embassy engagement exercises allow Embassy staff members the opportunity to see the support FASTEUR would provide in an emergency and FASTEUR gains direct knowledge of how an embassy functions, which improves their capability for response and protection.
This is the first time FASTEUR is working in Rabat for this type of exercise.
“I think that as much as we can do table top exercises, that’s essential, but you really can’t replace exercises in which everybody has to jump up from their desks and go through the motions, go to where they need to go, try to keep communication lines open, try to understand as things are going off around you how you would react,” said Stephanie Miley, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Mission to Morocco. “The FAST team being here offered us that opportunity. There were a lot of lessons learned. Every time we do this it gives us an opportunity to improve the game and that’s what we’re looking for. The FAST team gave us an extra level of sophistication that we don’t normally have in these kinds of exercises.”
AFRICOM Imam leads first Iftar with U.S., SNA leaders
Religious celebration observed with US military and African partners
U.S. Navy Cmdr. Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Africa Command deputy command chaplain, leads a prayer before an Iftar with members of the Somali National Army at the Mogadishu International Airport, Mogadishu, Somalia, June 5, 2017. This was the first Iftar held between U.S. and SNA military personnel. Additionally, it was the first led by a U.S. Imam, who is a leader in the Islamic faith. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Prince/Released)
MOGADISHU, Somalia - The setting sun over the western skies of Mogadishu, Somalia, on June 5, 2017, not only signaled the end of the daily fasting over the month of Ramadan, but also marked an important step in building relationships between the U.S. and Somali military leadership. This was the first time a U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) Imam led an Iftar at the Mogadishu International Airport for U.S. personnel from AFRICOM, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), the Mogadishu Coordination Cell, as well as Somali National Army leaders.
The event required close coordination between the U.S. hosts and the SNA partners. Using a pair of headphones, Col. Nuuraani Ali Dirir, Liaison Officer for European Training Mission in Somalia, listened intently for the international Islamic call to prayer, which announced the moment when Muslims should line up for the beginning of each prayer.
After Ali Dirir gave the cue to begin, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Abuhena Saifulislam, U.S. Africa Command deputy command chaplain, led six other Somali National Army guests to a designated area in which they would pray before partaking in the Iftar feast.
Road to peace: Senegalese, U.S. Marines strengthen peacekeeping abilities in Africa
Senegalese Soldiers and U.S. Marines conduct theater security cooperation peacekeeping operation Thies, Senegal, May 15 – June 16.
U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Seth Carney, a rifleman with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa, observes the accuracy of a soldier with Senegal’s 5th Contingent in Mali during a peacekeeping operations training mission at Thies, Senegal, June 9, 2017. Marines and Sailors with SPMAGTF-CR-AF served as instructors and designed the training to enhance the soldiers’ abilities to successfully deploy in support of United Nations peacekeeping missions in the continent. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Samuel Guerra/Released)
THIES, Senegal — Senegal’s 5th Contingent in Mali and U.S. Marines with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) have worked together to conduct theater security cooperation peacekeeping operation (PKO) training at Thies, Senegal, May 15 – June 16, 2017.
“We carefully reviewed [the soldiers’] reports before we began instructing and oriented our curriculum to prepare them for what they may experience abroad,” said Sgt. Timothy Kuklis, team one primary instructor with the unit. “This bilateral mission was extremely important for both the Senegalese and the U.S. Marine Corps. This allows us to work with our allies and demonstrate the positive things we are able to accomplish in a non-wartime environment.
U.S., South African troops kick off Shared Accord 2017 with ceremonial tribute
Exercise promotes multi-national cohesion among U.S. and African partners.
South African Army Brig. Gen. Gustav Lategan and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. William J.Prendergast, U.S. Army Africa Deputy Commanding General, places the final plaque on the pile of rocks signifying the pledge to train safely during Shared Accord 2017 at the South Africa Army Combat Training Center, July 17, 2017. SA17 is a Joint-Combined Command Post Exercise (CPX) and company field training exercise (FTX) focused on peace keeping operations designed to exercise participants' capability and capacity to conduct African Union/United Nations mandated peace keeping operations.
LOHATLA, South Africa — More than 300 U.S. Soldiers and Marines joined roughly 830 members of the South African military in a “rock piling” ceremony here July 17, 2017, kicking off Shared Accord 2017, a combined, joint command post and field training exercise focused on peacekeeping operations.
Troops from the 101st Airborne Division, and Soldiers from U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) make up the U.S. Army contingent participating in this exercise, designed to promote regional partnerships and develop interoperability, which will run until August 3.
“The main effort of the exercise will be the strengthening of multi-national cohesion between South Africa and the United States of America,” South African Maj. Gen. M. Mbiza, representative for the chief of joint operations, said during the ceremony. “Such exercises are not only important, they are a critical prerequisite for adequate force preparation and their long-term benefits are incalculable.”
U.S., French partners hone medical evacuation readiness in Djibouti
Tactical combat casualty care training helps soldiers learn to save lives.
A member of the French Air Force Tactical Airlift Squadron 88 stands on the flight-line during a bilateral exercise with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One, a maneuver unit of the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, at Camp Lemonnier, July 20, 2017. This bilateral training was the first execution of medical evacuation procedures with French military personnel and increases the ability of all participants to plan, communicate and execute complex operations. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Eboni Prince/Released)
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti— U.S. Navy Sailors with the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion One, assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, and members of the French Air Force Tactical Airlift Squadron 88 participated in the first bilateral medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) exercise at a Seabee humanitarian assistance construction site in the Djibouti’s Arta region on July 19 and 20.
In deployed environments, it is essential for military personnel to be well versed in tactical combat casualty care. A quick response by personnel to attend to the injured and care for critical wounds can be the difference between life and death.
MEDEVAC is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to wounded individuals needing to be evacuated from a battlefield or from the scene of an accident to a medical facility using medically equipped ground vehicles or aircraft.
Sexual Exploitation Abuse in Peace Ops focus of AFRICOM Rule of Law event
U.S. AFRICOM conducts the Fifth Accountability Colloquium, the first to be conducted in Africa. Nearly 50 military and civilian legal professionals and troop commanders from 24 African countries participated in the event in Senegal, Aug. 22-24, 2017, which was coordinated by U.S. AFRICOM in cooperation with the International Institute of Humanitarian Law. Senegal volunteered to host this year’s colloquium and participants were welcomed by Contre-amiral Momar Diagne, head of the Senegalese Navy. This year, AC V continued the effort to address the challenge of establishing the rule of law by expanding the discussion from AC IV to include identifying responsibilities and best practices of commanders and legal advisors in preventing and responding to SEA in peace operations. (Photo by Brenda Law, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs/RELEASED)
DAKAR, Senegal – “Peacekeeping is centered on building the trust of those we are here to protect. You cannot abuse and protect the population at the same time. Any allegation undermines the morale of those soldiers who do not commit abuses, undermining our will to perform our duties. This is why as Commander I take this issue extremely seriously; SEA undermines the trust in us from the population and reduces our ability to fight.” – South African Lt. Gen. Derrick Mgwebi, Force Commander, UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO).
The SEA referred to by Gen. Mgwebi during his keynote address stands for sexual exploitation and abuse and was the focus of U.S. AFRICOM’s Fifth Accountability Colloquium (ACV), conducted in Dakar, Senegal, Aug. 22-24.
Women, Peace & Security: Greater Inclusion of Women at Africa Endeavor 2017
Of the more than 40 African partner nations to attend Africa Endeavor 2017, 16 sent female participants, marking the largest number of female participants since the start of the event in 2006.
LILONGWE, Malawi (Aug. 22, 2017) – Women serving in the militaries of various U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) African partner nations pose for a photo during the AFRICOM sponsored senior leader symposium Africa Endeavor 2017 (AE17) in Lilongwe, Malawi. AE17 is an annual senior leader and communications symposium and technology expo designed to develop standardized, multinational communications practices for peacekeeping and disaster response missions mandated by the African Union and the United Nations. (Official Photo by U.S. Navy Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Dominique Shelton/RELEASED)
“Increased female participation in events like AE17 allows women to demonstrate their subject matter expertise and capability not only to their leadership but also to leaders across the continent,” explained Cori Fleser, AFRICOM’s Gender Advisor. “This helps shape attitudes and beliefs surrounding women’s participation in the military and contributes to breaking down stereotypes about women in the military for both U.S. and African participants.”
According to the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325, it is imperative that women be considered equal and granted the opportunity to act as active agents in areas of prevention, resolution conflict, peace building and peacekeeping. Known as “women, peace and security,” the resolution urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspectives in all United Nations peace and security efforts.
AFRICOM delivers equipment for strategic partner, Uganda
AMISOM strength bolstered with AFRICOM vehicle delivery to UPDF
U.S. military forces delivered nearly 20 vehicles and two storage containers to members of the Uganda People’s Defence Force at Mogadishu International Airport, Mogadishu, Somalia, Sept. 25, 2017. U.S. forces’ mission in the Horn of Africa is to assist partner nations of AMISOM strengthen Somalia’s defenses against local violent extremist organizations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
The transfer of assets falls in line with security cooperation goals and AFRICOM’s aim to assist regional organizations in strengthening their defense capabilities against security threats posed by violent extremist organizations (VEOs).
“The UPDF is a steadfast partner to the U.S. and to AMISOM,” said Brig. Gen. Miguel A. Castellanos, deputy commanding general for CJTF-HOA in Somalia. “We are pleased to offer them this additional capability to counter al-Shabaab and other violent extremist groups in Somalia.”
“As a contingent, we have been operating at 40 percent capacity in terms of the necessary equipment,” said Ugandan Contingent Commander Brig. Gen. Kayanja Muhanga.
“An OSC conducts security force assistance for all troop-contributing countries,” said U.S. Army Maj. Leah Mock, Team Somalia OSC. “The OSC here is a part of the U.S. Embassy standing up in Mogadishu. Its job is to look forward to the equipment and gear needs for the troop-contributing countries and then meet those needs of the AMISOM troops fighting in their sector.”
U.S., Japanese, French, Italian militaries partner for first multilateral NEO exercise in Africa
Noncombatant evacuation operation exercise initiated by Japanese military
Lt. Col. Shingo Keno, of the Japanese military international cooperation office in Djibouti, engages with US, French and Italian counterparts during a Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa hosted noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise to share best practices with the Japanese military located in Djibouti, Africa, Sept. 27 - 19, 2017. The exercise included military representation from French and Italian partner nations. During the multi-day event, CJTF-HOA conducted table-top exercises, a combat lifesaver course and force protection discussion along with the NEO on Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, Africa.
CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Initiated by the Japanese military, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) supported a joint-nation noncombatant evacuation operation (NEO) exercise and training here, Sept. 29.
CJTF-HOA assists partner nations in building their militaries’ capability and capacity to execute peace operations and respond to emergencies, which not only enhances security and stability throughout Africa, but also is also beneficial to U.S. security interests.
Promising future: SPMAGTF-CR-AF LCE Marines and Sailors concludes first phase of training UPDF soldiers
8-week course covered civil engineering, utilities and heavy equipment operation
A U.S. Marine assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa logistics combat element host a static display after the graduation ceremony at Camp Jinja, Uganda, Oct. 13, 2017. SPMAGTF-CR-AF LCE service members facilitated an eight-week training mission in Uganda. SPMAGTF-CR-AF Marines deployed to conduct crisis-response and theater-security operations in Europe and Africa. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Patrick Osino)
“This training is very beneficial for the UPDF because we are teaching their forces to be able to sustain operations for their future engagements and efforts in combatting terrorism,” said Staff Sgt. Gregory Desire, utilities operations chief. “Our main objective out here is to equip, train and create a level of proficiency among the UPDF soldiers and also maintain and sustain our relationship with Uganda.”
Why the U.S. Military is in Niger
A U.S. Army Special Forces weapons sergeant observes a Niger Army soldier during marksmanship training as part of Exercise Flintlock 2017 in Diffa, Niger, Feb. 28, 2017. Niger was one of seven locations to host tactical-level training during the exercise while staff officers tested their planning abilities at a simulated multinational headquarters in N’Djamena, Chad. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Klutts/released)
STUTTGART, Germany – A safe, stable, secure and prosperous Afria is an enduring United States interest. Niger is an important partner to the U.S. The United States and Niger have a long-standing bilateral relationship. Our militaries have been stalwart allies focused on working together to deter and to defeat terrorist threats in the West African nation and across the Sahel region.
The U.S. military does not have an active, direct combat mission in Niger. AFRICOM provides training and security assistance to the Nigerien Armed Forces, including support for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance to facilitate their efforts to target violent extremist organizations in the region. This training includes advising and assisting the Nigeriens to increase their organic ability to bring stability and security to their country.
There are approximately 800 U.S. military personnel in Niger. Some of these troops are supporting French operations in the region, said U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis Oct. 19.
These capacity-building efforts includes tactical security, logistics and medical training, command and control, disease outbreak response and other various other types of supporting instruction.
“We call it foreign internal defense training, and we actually do these kinds of missions by, with and through our allies,” Mattis said.
“Africa is an enduring interest for the United States,” said U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command. “Small, but wise investments in the capability, legitimacy, and accountability of African defense institutions offer disproportionate benefits to Africa, our allies, and the United States, and importantly, enable African solutions to African problems.”
Dunford: DoD Owes Families, Nation Information on Niger Action
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford speaks with media about recent military operations in Niger during a briefing Oct. 23, 2017, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. (DOD photo by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 23, 2017 — The Defense Department owes the families of the soldiers lost in Niger and the American people an explanation of what the soldiers were doing in Niger and why it was important, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said here today.
Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford said the four Special Forces soldiers who were killed and the two who were wounded in the Oct. 4 action, were conducting an important train, advise and assist mission with Nigerien forces.
Building Capacity of Local Forces
“Our soldiers are operating in Niger to build the capacity of local forces to defeat violent extremism in West Africa,” the general said at a Pentagon news conference. “Their presence is part of a global strategy.”
ISIS seeks to survive in the dark corners of the world where local inhabitants lack the power and expertise to control the violent group, Dunford said. ISIS operates where it can exploit weaknesses in local government and local security forces, he added. Libya, Somalia, West Africa, certain places in Central and Southeast Asia are places where ISIS and like groups choose to operate.
The general said the campaign against violent extremists is making progress, but much more needs to be done.
The general said he’s hosting the chiefs of defense and representatives from 75 different
AFRICOM Holds Inaugural Africa Senior Enlisted Leader Conference
Senior Enlisted Leaders from 20 African partner nations, the U.S., and NATO participated in the inaugural Senior Enlisted Leader Conference hosted by U.S. Africa Command, Nov. 6-10, 2017 in Grainau, Germany.
Senior Enlisted Leaders from more than 20 African nations and the U.S. met during the first ever Africa Senior Enlisted Leader Conference in Grainau, Germany Nov. 6-10, 2017. The purpose of the conference was to discuss shared challenges and opportunities.
“The primary goal of the conference is synchronization between the African partners and U.S. and NATO personnel that have stakes in the region,” said U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez, command senior enlisted leader, U.S. Africa Command. “This is just a forum for all of us to sit down together and learn from each other in order to enhance the security in the Africa.”
The African continent is an extremely complex environment and African militaries face many challenges, he said. “I found that the conversation from the senior enlisted was missing. Increasing the capacity of African partner non-commissioned officer (NCO) corps will assist in the overall effectiveness of those nations dealing with those complexities.”
Military forces have more enlisted personnel than officers. This is key in understanding how to enhance African partner military capacities, according to Chief Master Sgt. of the U.S. Air Force Kaleth Wright.
“Having strong senior enlisted leaders who are ready and capable of leading enlisted men into dangerous things are important,” Wright said.
“What we’ve seen is that our greatest competitive advantage as the U.S. military is our empowered enlisted leaders,” said U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
US service members hunker down for French Desert Commando Course
U.S. service members assigned to the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa keep watch as their platoon set ups an objective rally point on the first day of a French Desert Commando Course at the Djibouti Range Complex near Arta, Djibouti, Nov. 26, 2017. The 12-day course will expose service members to the fundamentals of desert combat, survival, and troop movements while also bridging language and cultural barriers between the French and American troops. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Timothy Moore)
“What we’re hoping to do is not just practice our tactics but also practice integrating with a foreign unit such as the French and hopefully learn from them,” said U.S. Army National Guard 1st Lt. Joshua York, 3rd Battalion, 144th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Bayonet platoon leader.
To select participants for the course, the battalion conducted a two-day assessment that consisted of a five-mile ruck march, a five-mile uniform run, pull-ups, rope and wall climbs, and a swim test.
“It’s exciting because I get to work with other militaries,” said U.S. Army National Guard Spc. Zachary Frazier, 3-144th IN. “I get to see other parts of Djibouti, and (I get to) see what I’m made of here.”
Why the U.S. Military is in Somalia
Nearly 60 Danab battalion soldiers from the Somali National Army graduate from a logistics course taught by the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division May 24, 2017, in Mogadishu, Somalia. The logistics course focused on various aspects of moving personnel, equipment and supplies. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Joe Harwood)
The U.S. response to the challenges in Somalia has been to work with the Federal Government and the Federal Member state administrations, in coordination with the African Union, the United Nations, and other partners working toward a common goal: to support Somali-led efforts to stabilize and rebuild their country along democratic and federal lines.
AFRICOM efforts are in conjunction with Somali National Security Forces, and are providing direct support to the five primary troop contributing countries in the African Union Mission in Somalia, also known as AMISOM: Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti and Ethiopia. We work with the United Nations, the European Union, and a range of traditional and non-traditional partners including the United Kingdom, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.
Our military actions, to include strikes against the Al-Qaeda-aligned Al-Shabaab terrorist group and – more recently – against a new Islamic State of Iraq and Syria-aligned group, are done in support and with the concurrence of the Federal Government of Somalia. Our policy is to support Somalia-led efforts to encourage members of the Al-Shabaab and ISIS to defect and pledge support to the Somali Government. When that is not possible, our military policy to target these groups is in accordance with the laws of armed conflict and in support of our broader stabilization goals.
Historic PAMBALA 2017 draws to a close in Angola
State Partner Ohio works with Serbia and the Republic of Angola during trilateral medical engagement
Representatives of several countries from all over the world, including the Ivory Coast, Portugal and Hungary, attend the closing ceremony and VIP day for the PAMBALA 2017 exercise Dec. 14, 2017, Bengo Province, Angola. During the closing ceremony, members of both the Serbian Armed Forces and the Ohio National Guard exchanged flags with their host nation, Angola, and remarks were given by representatives of each participating country on the success of the first-ever trilateral engagement. (Ohio National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Wendy Kuhn)
“It was a great honor and a pleasure for the Angolan Armed Forces to receive the responsibility to prepare this exercise in order to exchange experiences with the other armed forces here,” said Angolan Armed Forces Gen. José Luís Caetano Higino de Sousa, deputy general chief of staff for the operational and development area.
“I’m very proud to be here today and be a part of PAMBALA 2017,” said Col. Miroslav Broic of the Serbian Armed Forces. “During this medical engagement, we made new friendships and we exchanged our experience and our knowledge, so we can do good things for our people.”
Our last story of 2017 was about Somalia’s continuing efforts to build institutions, improve stability, and improve services for its people.
U.S. support to the Federal Government of Somalia continues to make a positive impact
International participants met to set a course for the future of the Federal Government of Somalia’s national security architecture, one of the country’s primary commitments from the previous Somalia Security Conference, held in London this past May.
The Federal President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed Farmaajo, right, meets with U.S. officials, l-r: Michelle Lenihan, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander, U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Ambassador Don Yamamoto, Acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, during the Somalia Security Conference held in Mogadishu on December 4, 2017. (Courtesy photo)
The U.S. remains committed to helping Somalia's government strengthen democratic institutions, improve stability and security, and deliver services for the Somali people. U.S. goals in Somalia are to promote political and economic stability, prevent the use of Somalia as a safe haven for international terrorism, and alleviate the humanitarian crisis caused by years of conflict, drought, flooding, and deficient governance. To help achieve these goals, U.S. Africa Command’s efforts in Somalia support, and are closely implemented with, the Federal Government of Somalia, the U.S. Mission to Somalia, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and a host of other international and interagency partners.
“All the work we do by, with, and through the African Union Mission in Somalia and our Somali partners, whether dealing with the threats they face or training them to improve their capabilities, is focused toward one goal,” Waldhauser said. “And that is establishing a secure environment for the broader diplomatic efforts related to national reconciliation and the building of a viable, capable, and representative government in Somalia.”
These were just a few of our stories from 2017. For more stories, use the “Media Room” drop-down menu on our homepage at www.africom.mil.
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