CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa hosted a Capstone Military Leadership Program for newly-promoted, U.S military general and flag officers from around the globe at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, Feb. 13-14, 2019.
Nearly twenty newly-promoted generals and admirals participated in the CJTF-HOA fieldtrip portion of the five-week program.
“It is important to the majority of folks we briefed today to show strategic importance of CJTF-HOA lines of effort, which includes strategic access and crisis response,” said Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, deputy commanding general of CJTF-HOA. “As we move forward, we look forward to more Capstone cohorts.”
Kriesel added the general and flag officers’ visit was of vital importance.
“A majority of the Capstone participants have not been on the African continent,” said Kriesel. “To understand Africa, you have to experience Africa.”
The U.S. Department of Defense established the Capstone curriculum in 1982 to help new general and flag officers examine major issues affecting national security decision-making, military strategy and joint doctrine.
The goal of the program is to familiarize senior officers with allied nations through guest speakers, seminars, case studies, group discussions and visits to military commands.
The CJTF-HOA portion of Capstone kicked off with a meet-and-greet, where the visiting general and flag officers could exchange ideas while building camaraderie. The Capstone cohort also received briefings on CJTF-HOA’s mission and got a first-hand look at a deployed, joint operation during their visit.
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Andrew Burcher, vice director of Navy staff, deputy of submarine forces Atlantic and Pacific, and fellow of the Capstone program, also stressed the program’s importance.
“You don’t get a very good sense of a place by just seeing pictures and power points,” said Burcher. “Coming here and actually seeing the environment and the level of engagement is a very rewarding experience.”
“All the services are part of the Capstone course,” said Burcher, who experienced the program alongside other new U.S. Navy, Army, Marine Corps and Air Force general and flag officers. “As part of this, it is integral to work jointly and build those relationships that, through the rest of our careers, will bring us back together.”
Capstone requires involvement on the part of each general and flag officer through participation in seminars, field trips, discussions, and a current-issues exercise along with opportunities to share expertise and experience.