Creating an open line of communication helps instill a regional approach and is vital to the success of any operation or organization. This concept is extremely important to the development of our East African partners.
The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Theater Security Cooperation Team led the East Africa Theater Security Cooperation Conference, which provided this opportunity at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Jan 12-17, 2015.
The conference hosted many distinguished visitors and ambassadors to East African Nations to include, Ambassador Phillip Carter, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Engagement (DCME) of United States Africa Command.
According to Carter, this conference has brought people together to look at these problems, not just bilaterally but regionally and in that context, the conference has been a success.
“The hope is we are going to have better clarity in terms of our engagements with our African partners, looking for ways that we can make a real difference in strengthening their capacities as they take on some of the most complex challenges,” said Carter. “With these discussions we will have a practical roadmap, a practical sense of objectives with clear metrics that we can monitor and evaluate over the upcoming year and years ahead."
The EATSC conference was designed to align complementary United States Government activities in East Africa, to provide a forum for open dialogue and to increase mutual understanding of operations, militaries and needs among members of the East African Nations.
According to Commander Scott Ruston, Theater Security deputy director, the objective of the conference is to align the discussion between all partners, where and when feasible, on the different types of programs to include, counter-terrorism, and bilateral security sector assistance, causing regional effectiveness.
“First and foremost we are looking to create an open dialogue where we have a greater understanding of the different levels of perspectives from our East African partners and military counterparts, that are part of theater security operations,” said Ruston. “We look at East Africa as a braided rope and we are looking to weave the strands to bring the different pieces of regionalism, interoperability, and regional programs together to create the strongest rope possible.”
The conference also hosted speakers from many civilian agencies to include, United States Africa Command, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, Department of State, United States Agency for International Development and East African Nation liaison Officers.
The conference allowed these individuals to meet and become better leaders who will provide an effective Joint, Interagency, Intergovernmental, Multinational Team to go forward and provide regional access and enabling CJTF-HOA regional partnerships, according to Maj. Gen. Wayne W. Grigsby, Jr., CJTF-HOA commander.
“We want to develop our leaders, to begin thinking about regional impact when solving bi-lateral problems, utilizing the knowledge and skill sets of our East African partners,” said Grigsby. “Everyone has an invested interest in the success of the East African Nations, we should be engaged in each other successes, that is what partnership is.”
With the effectiveness of the conference and the attendance, Carter hopes this conference will become a yearly regional event and the take away will have a regional effect.
“I believe the intent of the conference has been met and I hope the take away for the attendees of the conference is that they need to be able to communicate across their immediate portfolios, that they need to be able to engage their colleagues who look not just at one country but at the neighborhood,” concluded Carter. “In the end it’s not how we measure the actions that we take but it’s the effects that we hope to achieve and that’s really the lesson I hope everyone takes away.”
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