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12 juin 2014 4 12 /06 /juin /2014 10:45
General David M Rodriguez, Commanding General of US Africa Command (Africom)

General David M Rodriguez, Commanding General of US Africa Command (Africom)


10 June 2014 by US Army Africa/defenceWeb


Major General Patrick J Donahue II handed command of US Army Africa (USARAF) to Major General Darryl A Williams during a ceremony on Hoekstra Field at Vicenza in Italy.


General David M Rodriguez, Commanding General of US Africa Command (Africom) presided over the change of command ceremony.


“Under General Donahue’s leadership, Army Africa worked with the first Regionally Aligned Force and helped ensure its success,” Rodriguez said.


“When the regionally aligned force is training, exercising or enabling partners, US and African soldiers benefit from enhanced skills, inter-operability and readiness. The regionally aligned force also supports the protection of US personnel and facilities on the continent.”


Rodriguez praised Donahue’s leadership of USARAF.


“Another way the US Army is transforming to meet the challenges of the 21st century security environment is by developing leaders who can work effectively with a broad range of partners,” he said.


“This includes partners from other countries, government agencies and military services. Army Africa has deepened partnerships with African and European militaries, with civilian agencies and with other Service components,” Rodriguez said.


Rodriguez welcomed Williams as the incoming USARAF commander.


“As Pat and Maureen Donahue depart for Army Forces Command, they pass leadership of the Army Africa team to Darryl and his wife Erin. I know the Williams’ will continue to lead this team superbly. Thank you all for your continued contributions to advancing our nation’s interests in Africa. We will go forward, together," Rodriguez said.


Williams said he was thankful of the opportunity to serve as USARAF’s commander.


“Gen Rodriguez thank you for having confidence in me and giving me an opportunity to command this great organisation of soldiers and civilians.


"Pat (Donahue), the work you have done with the US Army Africa team has made great changes in Africa. I am honoured and humbled to follow in your footsteps and look forward to the challenge.” Williams said.


“USARAF’s mission on the continent of Africa could not be more relevant than it is today. The team of professionals you have assembled is proving each day how valuable they are to the mission. I look forward to working alongside these fine men and women,” the new force commander said.

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14 mai 2014 3 14 /05 /mai /2014 07:45
US military training Nigerian Rangers


13 May 2014 by defenceWeb / USARAF


United States Army Africa has sent personnel to Nigeria to train a Ranger Battalion in a first of a kind move to prepare Nigerian forces for full spectrum warfare. In the past the US military has mainly trained African soldiers for peacekeeping operations.


The US Army Africa (USARAF) team, along with Special Forces and general purpose forces from the National Guard, are being sent to Nigeria at the request of the Nigerian government. They will train a 650-strong ranger battalion, according to USARAF.


"What we're doing with the Nigerian Army is helping them take a ranger battalion that already exists and provide infantry skills to enable them to go counter a threat within their country, and it is not peacekeeping -- it is every bit of what we call decisive action, meaning those soldiers will go in harm's way to conduct counter insurgency operations in their country to defeat a known threat, and it's all purely funded by the Nigerians," said Col. John D. Ruffing, chief of USARAF's Security Cooperation Division. "So, they asked us for assistance, and we tailored a package that we agreed on and they influenced and help us put in parameters to work with."


In September 2013, Maj. Liam Connor, West Africa Desk Officer escorted the Nigerian Directorate of Training to the U.S. Army Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. "Following the visit, the Nigerian Army came back to us with a Ranger Training/Advanced Infantry Training request," Connor said. "We worked for several months to come up with a program of instruction that stayed within the limitations of the almost $400,000 the Nigerian Army would provide us. This training was specifically requested to take them out of a peacekeeping mission set putting them more in a decisive action set to defeat and counter terrorist Boko Haram.


In two weeks’ time a team of 12 people will head to Africa for 35 days to train the ranger unit on basic and advanced infantry tactics at the Nigerian Army Training Centre. The Nigerian Army has allocated 40 of its officers and non-commissioned officers to serve as cadre.


"We will provide fundamentals of patrolling, small unit tactics, ambush/raid attack, movements of contact, night operations as opposed to the more traditional UN focused peace keeping tasks like patrolling, cordon and search, and establish checkpoints," said Lt. Col. Vinnie Garbarino, USARAF's International Military Engagements Officer. "We want these soldiers to take the fight to Boko Haram in the restricted terrain and really eliminate the threat within their borders so they can get back to peacekeeping operations."


"We're looking at future opportunities with this training centre because they're looking at roughly 7 000 Nigerian soldiers between now and September rotating through," Garbarino said.


Part of training will ultimately be aimed at developing a cross-border capability for Nigeria and its neighbours to combat Boko Haram threats. This will involve sharing information and coordinating operations.


Meanwhile, on Friday eight US military personnel arrived in Abuja to help with tracking down more than 200 schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram militants last month. Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said that “their principal job is to advise and assist” Nigerian authorities while “providing gap analysis” for any additional help or resources they may need to conduct the mission, Defense News reports.


Also on Friday the US Marine Corps Africa completed a three-week long training course for 100 Nigerian soldiers who were schooled in amphibious and riverine warfare at the Amphibious Training School in Calabar, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.


“Over the past decades, a few challenges facing the nation have been a threat to oil exploration and economic activities in the Niger Delta area. This is as a result of the activities of criminals, and some misguided elements,” said Maj.-Gen. Bamidele Ologundudu, Director of Training, Army Headquarters.

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10 février 2014 1 10 /02 /février /2014 18:45
USARAF training helping African nations



06 February 2014 defenceweb


The training US Army Africa (USARAF) is providing to different African nations is helping them secure their own borders as well as own regions, in line with the US policy of helping Africans solve their own problems.


This is according to Major Albert Conley III, USARAF's Counter Terrorism Desk Officer for International Military Engagements. He said that this means the US doesn't need to get involved and whatever American interests are in that region or country will, as a secondary effect, be secure because USARAF is helping them with internal and external security.


“If Africans are solving African problems the US government won't need to use the United States Army to solve African problems. For example, by having a conglomerate of nations in the African Union going into Somalia to help fix that nation's problems means American servicemen don't have to go into Somalia to help fix that problem,” he said.


USARAF is currently partnering with the French government to train and equip in Guinea and will be in Chad and Malawi this month to train more than 4 000 African troops for peace enforcement missions in Mali and the DRC.


“We are ready to begin training in Chad for about 1 300 soldiers - an 850 man battalion plus another 450 man battalion. While we are not partnering with the government of France, we are partnering with a private French security firm the government of Chad has contracted. They are providing some training and we are also providing some,” said Colonel John Ruffing, USARAF Security Co-operation Director.


USARAF is planning more training and equipping iterations -- probably a total of about 15 between now and the end of the fiscal year, with various countries on the African continent.


“We are looking at partnering with some of our non-traditional partners as well and would like to partner with an African nation to train other countries. We'd also like to work with an international, non-traditional partner to train a third-party African nation in a particular skill set, as well as provide us with training because we don't know how to operate in that environment very well, and are learning each and every time we put people on the continent," he said.


USARAF only started training and equipping African nations about 18 months ago.


“A lot of this is coming on-line now with the Regionally Aligned Forces. An example would be how the US Army Africa worked during Shared Accord 13 (SA13).


“It was a sophisticated exercise where we did air field seizure, forcible entry operations, an amphibious assault and the environment was difficult with high sea states, low visibility, high winds and we were able to conduct this operation through mission command in a C-130 where you had a South African general officer and a US colonel sitting side-by-side with the South African general making decisions to conduct this operation. There were two forces --the US and South Africa, conducting this event. Not only conventional forces were involved, but there were Special Forces from both countries involved in this exercise,” he said.


Because of lessons learned from that Shared Accord 13 the impact was seen almost immediately.


“I believe the training received during SA 13 helped 1/18th Infantry when they were sent to South Sudan to reinforce the US Embassy there as part of the East Africa Response Force operations. Had that force just been sitting at a location doing training and not understanding the environment or working with a foreign military, it might have been a little more difficult. But because they were able to work in the environment with South Africa during Shared Accord, I think that helped them and prepared them for that operation in South Sudan.”


Conley offered additional examples.


“We trained in Niger and then Niger went into Mali. We are now working with the French to actually get the assessment of that since we're not working with them in Mali. So, now the French get to see this unit we trained and equipped to go in and fight in Mali and secure the area. The French are actually giving us the assessment and evaluation of that unit and then whatever lessons are learned, we will implement them in the next training mission,” he said.


Another and perhaps better example, Conley said, is from training in East Africa.


“The US government has been training in Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti and Burundi to conduct peacekeeping missions in Somalia. For the longest time they were restricted to the city of Mogadishu. Because of all the training we've been doing with them, building up different units with reconnaissance capabilities so they can push out of Mogadishu and into the countryside while pushing the terrorist group El Shabaab out speaks of success. I don't need to be on the ground to see the success of that - it's evident."

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