KINANIRA, Burundi – Service members from Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa participated in a subject matter expert exchange at the Senior Command and Staff College in Kinanira, Burundi, May 13-17, 2019.
The Burundi SCSC is a 45-week course established in 2017 to meet the training requirements designated by the heads of state of East African Community (EAC) countries. A team of four CJTF-HOA service members discussed best practices with the Burundi SCSC students, who were senior officers from the countries of Burundi, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
“The exchange included lecture presentations, practical exercises, and participation in group discussions with the SCSC students and cadre,” said U.S. Army Capt. William Brant, the 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion mission commander for CJTF-HOA’s subject matter expert exchange with the Burundi SCSC. “The content of our briefs was synchronized to complement other presentations delivered by SCSC instructors as well as subject matter experts from the World Health Organization and U.S. Agency for International Development.”
During the five-day exchange, the CJTF-HOA service members discussed specialized areas of civil-military cooperation, medical planning, public affairs and information operations, which are not currently covered by the Burundi SCSC teaching staff.
“We’ve learned it is important to have partnerships with other countries that have experience in specialized fields,” said Burundi National Defence Force Col. C Ntacebera, commandant of the Burundi SCSC. “It’s about sharing experiences and strengthening knowledge and skills, allowing us to expand our knowledge on how to do things, establish partnerships and build bridges.”
The CJTF-HOA service members learned from the Burundi SCSC students as well.
“These exchanges increase cooperation and understanding between the U.S. military and Burundi National Defence Force,” said Brant. “The BNDF was able to learn our perspectives in conducting operations from presentations, and then give us their feedback and ideas during the practical exercises. Furthermore, other guest presentations such as the Ebola brief given by World Health Organization gave opportunities for joint learning and collaboration.”
Subject matter expert exchanges between CJTF-HOA and the Burundi SCSC are just one of several initiatives being implemented to enhance the partnership between the U.S. and Burundi.
“Burundi is the number-two troop contributing country for African Union Mission in Somalia,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Benjamin Kenion, CJTF-HOA liaison officer to Burundi. “It’s important for us to maintain and build relationships with military leaders in Burundi. Working with the Burundi Senior Command and Staff College provides us an opportunity to engage with the future leaders of the Burundi National Defence Force.”
Ntacebera hopes there will be more exchanges with CJTF-HOA in the future.
“We appreciate the help and support that has been provided by the CJTF-HOA team,” said Ntacebera. “It is very important that we develop this relationship. We hope the partnership will continue.”