FT. BENNING, Ga. -- Military planners for U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa returned to Georgia Dec. 6-10 for the African Land Forces Summit main planning event. The planning event is part of ongoing preparation for ALFS, which is scheduled to take place in March.
In the months leading up to ALFS, planners have met with community and base officials in Columbus and Ft. Benning. They toured potential hotels, culturally significant locations, and on-base facilities that will be part of the event. Planners gathered information such as cost, building capacity, security, and connectivity capability for each location.
Monica Campos, protocol director for SETAF-AF, is a key member of the planning team. Campos said the planning team has grown since October’s IPE. “One of the differences between the initial and main planning events is the expansion of the planning team,” Campos said. “We bring in subject matter experts in order to formalize the program of events and refine requirements such as equipment and resources needed.”
The planners had a chance to continue getting to know the many local businesses and base personnel that will be involved with the event. Additionally, the team previewed the demonstrations ALFS attendees will get to see.
“With ALFS being conducted in Columbus and Fort Benning, our team has had the opportunity to experience Southern hospitality first hand,” Campos said. “It’s been wonderful returning to this community and strengthening the relationships that we made during the initial planning event. This community has opened its doors and it’s been a pleasure to come back and work side by side.”
ALFS is a weeklong event involving leaders from more than 40 African countries, hosted by the Army Chief of Staff and organized by SETAF-AF. For the first time since 2014, ALFS will be hosted in the United States. Ordinarily, it is hosted in Africa. The event in Georgia provides an opportunity for African leaders to observe world-class training programs and facilities at the Maneuver Center of Excellence, including Infantry Basic Training, Airborne Training, and U.S. Army Ranger School.
The final planning event is scheduled for late January and will consist of rehearsals as well as a round-table meeting that will put all planners, local businesses and Ft. Benning representatives in one room to ensure mutual understanding of the event schedule and logistical requirements.