CAMP SINGO, Uganda—Thirty-four Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers made history as the first UPDF service members to become civil affairs qualified.
The soldiers graduated from a 10-week Civil Military Operations course held at the Peace Support Operations Training Center (PSO-TC) at Camp Singo, Uganda, April 13, 2018.
In attendance with the graduates were PSO-TC Camp Singo Commandant Brig. Gen. Jack Bakasumba, UPDF Civil Military Cooperation (CIMIC) Chief Representative Col. Max Ogumiraki, Uganda Battle Group (UGABAG) commanders, and the instructors, U.S. Army Soldiers from the 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).
“This is the first civil affairs course offered here at Singo and I am very proud of how far you have come,” said Bakasumba. “There is no doubt that you have worked very hard and I encourage you to share what you have learned with your commanders.”
The course is the first of its kind offered at Camp Singo and founded in NATO civil military and U.S. military civil affairs doctrine. The UDPF students had limited knowledge of civil affairs prior to attending the course.
The graduates’ civil affairs skills were put to the test during the final phase of the course which included a Field Training Exercise and Medical Training Exercise.
“The students went from having little to no knowledge and understanding of civil affairs to being proficient and having a great understanding of it and the impact they can have on a community,” said U.S. Army Cpl. Shawn Bergers, a course instructor.
The motto of U.S. Army Civil Affairs is “Secure the Victory,” and they help military commanders by working with civil authorities and civilian populations in the commander’s area of operations to lessen the impact of military operations on them during peace, contingency operations and declared war. Civil Affairs forces support activities of both conventional and special operations forces, and are capable of assisting and supporting the civil administration in the area of operations. . The UPDF soldiers will now return to their respective units or prepare for a coming deployment to Somalia in order to provide civil affairs assistance to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
UPDF Staff Sgt. Janan Odongo, one of the graduates of the course, has received greater knowledge of civil affairs operations and is ready to put it to use.
“This has been very good training for the UPDF overall and after all of this we are well equipped to move forward with civil affairs operations,” said Odongo.