ABIDJAN, Côte d’Ivoire—Military planners for U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), visited several sites in Cote d’Ivoire Sep 26-30, 2022 for the African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) initial planning event. The planning event is part of ongoing preparation for ALFS 23 scheduled for May, 2023.
ALFS is a weeklong event that hosts leaders from more than forty African countries for training and partnership building with U.S. Army leaders. Last year ALFS took place at Ft. Benning, Georgia. ALFS 23 marks the return of ALFS to Africa for first time since 2020.
The initial planning event sets the stage for SETAF-AF and Cote d’Ivoire planners to work together to build the event schedule, develop the ALFS 23 theme, and invite experts and leaders to present topics. In the months leading up to ALFS, planners will continue to meet with Ivorian officials and businesses, tour potential venues, culturally significant locations, and other facilities to select locations to be part of the training event. Planners gather information such as costs, building capacity, security, and connectivity capability for each location.
International military engagements branch chief for SETAF-AF, Lt. Col. Robert Miller, is serving as the lead planner for ALFS 23. Miller said that the event is the second of four planning meetings in Cote d’Ivoire that will take place in preparation for the summit. The first visit, the Pre-deployment Site Survey, took place in May.
"Planning engagement events is challenging and rewarding,” said Miller. “From my past experience, I know that all the hard work and the times spent organizing a well-run event allows our senior leaders the time and space to have the strategic discussions necessary to build and maintain our partnerships in Africa.”
“But this is my first time leading an event in Africa,” Miller said. “There are new challenges and opportunities that I am still learning how to best incorporate into the event. I'm excited for future planning events, and look forward to ALFS execution in May.”
ALFS is hosted annually by SETAF-AF in order to bring together military leaders from the U.S. and Africa to discuss capabilities, build partnerships through face-to-face interaction, and discuss issues the partner forces are facing on the African continent.
The first ALFS was held in Washington D.C. in 2010, and was hosted by Gen. George W. Casey, the U.S. Army Chief of Staff. The inagural summit welcomed nearly 100 senior military leaders from 23 African countries to discuss the theme, "Adapting Land Forces to 21st Century Security Challenges." Since 2010, the African Land Forces Summit has been an important forum for not only building partnerships with African Land Forces leaders, but to discuss current security concerns and challenges.
The 2022 African Land Forces Summit highlighted the important role of the noncommissioned officer in the U.S. Army.