The Keynote Speaker of the 56th Celebration of the Armed Forces Day of Liberia has called on the Liberian Government to increase the present strength of the national army.
Amb. George Wallace called on the government to increase the strength of the army from its present strength of 2,000 soldiers to at least 7,000. The Liberian career Diplomat, lawyer and Administrator said the increment in the strength of the AFL is necessary to enable them adequately protect the territorial borders of Liberia.
He said government must ensure that it strengthens the AFL Air Force, and navy officers to protect Liberia's airspace; the country's water and the emerging oil in the sea. Amb. Wallace also recommended a compulsory military training for all abled body citizens as done in other countries including the United States.
He also called for the Engineering Battalion of the Armed Forces of Liberia to be upgraded to enable it meet the challenge of national reconstruction and development. The Liberian diplomat who has served in the diplomatic circle for over 50 years called for the establishment of a military college to offer advanced military training to personnel of the AFL and other paramilitary groups in the country.
Amb. Wallace then admonished the Liberian Government to develop the political will in the implementation of the recommendations for the improvement and development of the national army which is believed to still be in the state of transition.
He lauded the United States Government and other partners including the Peoples' Republic of China for their continuous support which has seen the Liberian army being transformed following years of civil unrest at which time the army was said to have been factionalized by actors in the civil conflict.
He then praised the soldiers for completing a difficult task along the Liberia-Ivorian border when dissidents attacked the Ivorian borders last year. Speaking to the gallant men and women directly, Amb. Wallace said, "As an army, you must uphold your ethics; defend the citizens; be friends and protectors of the people and you must always have integrity."
He further said, "The new army must restore confidence that was once reposed in the AFL, and you must convince the citizens by showing them humanity, and must use the Constitution of Liberia as your guide." Amb.Wallace then reminded the soldiers to remain vigilant adding, "The flag on your shoulders represents your country and so you must do all to protect and defend the country through your commitment and dedication."
Amb. Wallace told the soldiers who were elegantly dressed in their military uniforms befitting the day's celebration that the military is not for job seekers but a profession where sacrificial service is rendered. "The military is for patriotic citizens who are willing to serve their country with commitment," he added.
"In the military what is important is discipline, discipline and discipline because in the absence of discipline and commitment, the army was victimized and devastated as a result of the war," he intimated. "So, you must commit yourselves and promise never again to resort to violence and must never again turn the weapons on the citizens," he said.