(DAKAR, Senegal) — Strengthening key land forces relationships in West Africa and setting the stage for major events in 2023 was on the docket when the commanding general and command sergeant major of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa visited Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal Aug. 5-9, 2022.
U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe & Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis response options in Africa and Europe.
“Our work is in Africa,” said SETAF-AF Commander Maj. Gen. Todd Wasmund. “We are forward-based in Italy, but to do our job—we have to meet our partners where they are and understand our shared priorities from their perspective.”
In the capital of Ghana, Wasmund and Command Sgt. Maj. Reese Teakell met with Ghana Armed Forces Chief of Army Staff Maj. Gen. Thomas Oppong-Peprah and his staff to discuss the security situation in West Africa, build on existing cooperation activities and set conditions for Ghana to host a portion of the African Lion exercise again in 2023.
African Lion is U.S. Africa Command’s largest and premier combined, joint exercise. Last year’s Africa Lion took place across North and West Africa in Ghana, Senegal, Morocco and Tunisia with over 7,500 participants from 28 nations.
“Maj. Gen. Oppong-Peprah invited us to visit Ghana during the Association of the U.S. Army conference in Washington, DC in September,” said Wasmund. “This trip was an excellent opportunity to deepen relationships between our armies. Ghana is a regional security leader and it is evident why after getting to spend time with our friends at the Ghana Armed Forces.”
In Cote d’Ivoire, Chief of the Army Staff Maj. Gen. Aly Dem discussed preparation with Wasmund for the upcoming African Land Forces Summit in the spring of 2023. ALFS brings together land forces chiefs from across Africa and other partner nations to discuss and identify solutions to transregional and common challenges, and encourage cooperation in addressing them.
“We’re thrilled that Cote d’Ivoire will host the African Land Forces Summit this spring in Abidjan,” said Wasmund. “Maj. Gen. Dem and his staff have been great partners in the planning process, ensuring that ALFS will be a tremendous success.”
Wasmund then met with Senegalese Army Chief of Staff Brig. Gen. Souleymane Kande and his staff during in Dakar. In addition to discussing ongoing partnership and Senegal’s hosting role in the upcoming African Lion, the Senegalese Armed Forces hosted Wasmund for a roundtable discussion with War College students at the recently-opened Senegal Institute of Defense alongside the institute’s director Brig. Gen. Koly Faye.
“The level of strategic discussion amongst the students was impressive,” said Wasmund. “They have a deep understanding of the complex security challenges facing West Africa. Their thought-provoking questions explored how the military and other instruments of national power, together with partners, can be employed to achieve peace, stability and prosperity in the region.”
Kande affirmed the enduring partnership between the U.S. and Senegalese armies to accomplish mutual objectives and contributes to the success of the SAF as a regional leader for security and peacekeeping operations.
In Ghana and Senegal, Wasmund and Teakell met with U.S. Army advisors from the 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade and discussed current and future training support from the SFAB to their respective host nations. Teakell also traveled to visit SFAB Soldiers in Senegal.
“The SFAB provides our command and the embassy team a highly flexible package that can adapt to our partner’s needs,” said Teakell. “The subject-matter experts from the SFAB can adapt in real-time and if needed, reach back to wider Army resources to tailor training to what the partner needs.”
For more information on U.S. Army activities in Africa, go to www.setaf-africa.army.mil.
|Date Posted:||12.21.2022 05:23|