ALFS 2023 continues senior enlisted leader program

Originally intended to bring together African land force chiefs, or a country’s equivalent of the chief of staff of the Army, as the event has matured, so has its scope. In 2017, SETAF-AF and co-host Malawi first extended invitations to command senior enlisted leaders and their inclusion has continued for all subsequent summits.


“The experience has been good in such a way that through our interaction we are able to understand each other and see the performance of our armies,” said Warrant Officer Class 1 Sundau Nonde, army sergeant major, Zambian Army. “We are learning a lot of things, discussing issues for the betterment of our NCOs in our armies."
By Sgt. Maj. Casey Nelsen U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa Abidjan, Côte D'Ivoire May 27, 2023
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Since its inception in 2010, the African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) has brought together senior leaders from across Africa and other partner nations to solidify relationships, exchange information on current topics of mutual interest and encourage cooperation in addressing challenges. The Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army (CSA) sponsors the event, now in its 11th iteration, with the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) serving as host.

Originally intended to bring together African land force chiefs, or a country’s equivalent of the CSA, as the event has matured, so has its scope. In 2017, SETAF-AF and co-host Malawi first extended invitations to command senior enlisted leaders (CSELs) and their inclusion has continued for all subsequent summits.

For ALFS 2023, SETAF-AF and co-host Côte d'Ivoire, chose the theme of ‘Addressing Security Challenges through Civil-Military Partnerships.’ Command Sgt. Maj. Reese W. Teakell, SETAF-AF command sergeant major, said the design of this year’s CSEL program intended to generate discussion about the role of noncommissioned officers in improving civil-military relationships.

“One of the things that we talked about and spent some time digging into, is, ‘what does it mean in terms of the noncommissioned officer corps, that will be at the front of developing those relationships that get built between the military and our civilian populations … both in terms of training and developing our subordinates and how to do that in a way that leads to better outcomes,’” said Teakell.

Through dedicated CSEL plenary and breakout sessions on civil-military operations, NCO roles and responsibilities, NCO empowerment, and professional military education, participants were able to share their perspectives and gain insights from each other.

“The experience has been good in such a way that through our interaction we are able to understand each other and see the performance of our armies,” said Warrant Officer Class 1 Sundau Nonde, army sergeant major, Zambian Army. “We are learning a lot of things, discussing issues for the betterment of our NCOs in our armies. Through these interactions, I think it will [bear fruit] in our systems,” added Nonde.

In total, 32 CSELs participated in ALFS 2023 from African partner nations and the U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps. “I’ve appreciated the commitment by our African partners by attending, the value and honesty in the conversations that we had that led to a rich discussion about challenges, how to train and the energy behind improving how NCOs are developing their formations,” said Teakell. “I was pretty excited about that and inspired by our partners this year and what they brought to the table.”

In 2024, the CSEL program will continue with SETAF-AF and the Zambian Defence Force co-hosting ALFS.

About ALFS

The African Land Forces Summit (ALFS) is the Chief of Staff of the Army's annual conference supporting U.S. Army activity in Africa.

Click here for additional African Land Forces Summit content on the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS).

About SETAF-AF

SETAF-AF provides U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Europe and Africa a dedicated headquarters to synchronize Army activities in Africa and scalable crisis-response options in Africa and Europe.

Follow SETAF-AF on: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube & DVIDS

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