A civil-military partnership to address common challenges
Commander of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force Africa, U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, said the summit was an opportunity to exchange ideas, learn from each other and to discuss ways to meet common challenges. Which makes the African Land Forces Summit, in his eyes, an incredibly important event.
Held last Monday, May 10 in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), the 11th edition of the African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) involved more than 300 participants from land forces from 46 countries, 39 African partners, five European partners, the United States and Brazil. Indeed, the US military’s approach to Africa is partner-led and US-facilitated. “Above all, this means that we listen to our partners, the challenges they face and the solutions we are working towards together,” explains our speaker, General Wasmund. He will testify that this year’s event had a diverse group of military, civilian and academic leaders to guide discussions on the theme “addressing security challenges through civil-military partnerships”. Plenary sessions covered peacekeeping operations, drivers of instability, violent extremism and several other topics under the umbrella of the importance of civil-military relations. Parallel sessions were also held for senior enlisted leaders on the role of the NCO and how empowering enlisted leaders builds confidence and team effectiveness in our Army. “Each country here brings its own ideas, priorities and challenges, and also represents its potential,” informed our general. It must be emphasized that the United States is helping its partners to increase their capacity and ability to defeat threats, whether violent extremism or other sources of instability, as we have discussed this week at the summit. “We are still concerned about the proliferation of weapons.” However, for our general, this summit is different in the sense that there is a bit of renewal due to the fact that it has not been organized in Africa for a few years.