Senior leaders from 11 African countries, seven allied and partner nations, U.S. military and country-specific liaison officers attended the opening ceremony for the inaugural African Land Forces Colloquium Sept. 20.
The weeklong event is designed to showcase military capabilities and address key issues in the U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa area of responsibility.
The ALFC 2021 overall theme is “U.S. Army Europe, Africa training, from tactical to operational,” indicating ALFC will emphasize U.S. Army warfighting skills, platforms and training methods.
During the ALFC scheduled events, senior leaders participating will see some of the many capabilities of the 7th Army Training Command, Grafenwoehr Training Area, the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, and the Joint Multinational Simulation Center located in Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels, Germany.
In his opening ceremony remarks, Ambassador Andrew Young, the U.S. Africa Command deputy to the commander for civil-military engagement, emphasized the importance of multinational partnerships and communication among allies.
“Working together in partnership is essential in building relationships,” Young said. “I want you to make the most of your time here, engage with each other and get to know your partners,” he said. “It’s such a pleasure to be joining you here today at the launch of this powerful linkage with partners across the continent.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling, the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa commander, discussed challenges and opportunities focused on this year’s theme and what that means to the ALFC participants.
“This is our inaugural event to see if this is helpful and worthwhile and to develop the way forward to expand opportunities for the future,” Rohling said. “If (ALFC) can get participants to call each other about an issue or problem — that will be a great win.”
For Maj. Gen. Thomas Oppong-Peprah, the Ghana Armed Forces chief of army staff, ALFC provides a collective effort to maintain peacekeeping operations, adding that he hopes to get to know more of his African colleagues and give him more of an insight into the application of the training restrictions and understand the procedures related to using these training capabilities.
“Before you can work together, it’s important to understand each other, so coming here and being exposed to some of the training, equipment and procedures used by our global partners, will help me understand how I can contribute to achieving peace and stability in my region,” he said.