May 30, 2024

2023 African Land Forces Summit Strengthens U.S.-African Partnerships in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire

Brig. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, 1st Infantry Division Atlantic Resolve Mission Command Element commander, and Sgt. Maj. Sael Garcia, senior noncommissioned officer for 1st Infantry Division Atlantic Resolve Mission Command Element, cut the cake during Thanksgiving celebration at Poznan, Poland, on Nov. 22. Unit leaders traditionally serve their Soldiers during Thanksgiving to demonstrate service and to express appreciation to Soldiers daily sacrifices. (Sgt. Michael L. K. West, 24th Press Camp)
Brig. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, 1st Infantry Division Atlantic Resolve Mission Command Element commander, and Sgt. Maj. Sael Garcia, senior enlisted advisor for 1st Infantry Division Atlantic Resolve Mission Command Element, cut the cake during Thanksgiving celebration at Poznan, Poland, Nov. 22, 2018. Unit leaders traditionally serve their Soldiers during Thanksgiving to demonstrate service and to express appreciation to Soldiers daily sacrifices.(U.S. Army photos by: Sgt. Michael L. K. West)

The 2023 African Land Forces Summit, themed “Addressing security challenges through civil-military partnerships,” recently took place in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire. The summit, which aims to strengthen U.S.-African partnerships and enhance security and stability across the continent, was addressed by U.S. Army Major General Todd R. Wasmund and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Scott.

The summit’s location is chosen through a collaborative effort, considering U.S. Africa Command’s priorities and regional considerations. Host nations are selected based on policy guidelines established in coordination with the State Department, with a key aspect being the involvement of African partners.

During the summit, Major General Wasmund emphasized the partner-led and U.S.-enabled approach adopted by the U.S. Army in Africa. The focus is on supporting African partners in building their capacity and capability to counter threats such as violent extremism and other sources of instability. The theme of the summit revolved around the significance of civil-military relationships, with discussions covering topics such as peacekeeping operations, drivers of instability, and the role of noncommissioned officers.

The 11th iteration of the African Land Forces Summit witnessed the participation of over 300 representatives from 46 countries, including 39 African partners, five European partners, the United States, and Brazil. The summit serves as a platform for land force commanders to showcase their capabilities and cultures, fostering relationships and addressing common security challenges faced by African nations.

During the media briefing, Major General Wasmund expressed gratitude to the Department of State for their assistance in organizing the event, highlighting the importance of diplomatic efforts in their military engagements. Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott also emphasized the crucial role of the Department of Defense and the Department of State in addressing challenges such as arms proliferation.

Concerns were raised during the question-and-answer session regarding the proliferation of arms and ammunition across the continent. Major General Wasmund affirmed that their strategy revolves around listening to partners’ priorities and working together to enhance their capacity to combat threats. Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott added that arms proliferation is a significant concern, and international mechanisms, intelligence sharing, and collaboration with law enforcement are crucial in countering this challenge.

Journalists also inquired about the alignment between the African Land Forces Summit and the recommendations from the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit held in Washington, D.C. Major General Wasmund emphasized the U.S. government’s commitment to Africa and the alignment between security, humanitarian aid, and local development efforts. The focus on civil-military relations during the summit directly ties into these priorities.

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