The Analyst (Monrovia)

Liberia Needs 7,500 Army Size - Armed Forces Day Orator Recommends

The National Orator of Liberia's 156th Arm Forces Day (AFD) celebration, Ambassador George W. Wallace has advanced several recommendations to the Liberian government, among which is increase in the strength of the national army from 1,980 to a minimum of 7,500.

Delivering the keynote address at an official program marking celebration of AFD in Monrovia on Monday, February 11, 2013, Ambassador Wallace indicated that increasing the strength of the AFL will decreased human trafficking, terrorism, illicit cross border activities and small arms trade, amongst others.

He recommended that the increased size the army should be gender sensitive, so as to improve productivity in the national economy.

Ambassador Wallace said, when increased to over 7,000 that army should consider the establishment of vigorous and robust Navy and Air forces.

This, he stressed, will protect Liberia and coastline airspace respectively, adding, "An Air force will serve as a deterrent, while the Navy will protect our coastline and engage illegal entry on our territorial waters and, the navy will also effectively protect oil and gas facilities off the shores of Liberia."

Calling on the Liberian government to reconstitute the National Militia Force in keeping with the Act creating the Department of War (DOW), now the Ministry of National Defense (MOD), Ambassador Wallace recommended that the 53rd National Legislature need to enact a law for "Compulsory military training of all able body men between the ages 16 - 45 for a period of one year be given necessary cash compensation."

Making a case for the capacity of the engineering battalion of AFL to be improved in line with government's Agenda for Transformation (AFT), Ambassador Wallace who is a onetime military advocate also urged the government to increase incentives for military personnel in keeping with international best practice. He added that rebuilding a new Liberia must include a new army.

At the same time, AFL soldiers have been challenged to uphold, protect and defend the territory of Liberia and all citizens within.

Speaking on the theme, "The Armed Forces of Liberia is ready, willing and capable," Ambassador Wallace reminded the soldiers that they are obligated to showcase ethical values, take the lead, show humanity and civility and abide by the uniform code of ethics.

Disabusing the minds of AFL personnel that the army is another form of employment, the Keynote Speaker clarified that the "Army is not for job seekers, but a place for serious, selfless and sacrificial services."

He urged Liberians to appreciate the gallant men and women of the AFL, expressing confidence in the tactical ability of the new army to adequately protect and defend Liberia. He noted: "We have an army capable of executing its duty, they are ready, willing and capable of serving this nation and beyond."

AFD came to existence in 1955 by an act of the then National Legislature. The day is set aside to be celebrated each year in honor of the gallant men and women of AFL who lay down their lives in selfless defense of the nation.

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