The Inquirer (Monrovia)

20 February 2013

Liberia: U.S. Delegation Impressed With AFL Operation

An 18-man military delegation from the United States of America visiting the country has showered praises on the Minister of Defense and his staff for the smooth running of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL). The delegation headed by Retired General Hank Chiles told reporters yesterday minutes after an interactive discussion with Defense Minister Brownie Samukai that the delegation is impressed with the progress being made by the government and people of Liberia to maintain the AFL thus far.

Retired General Chiles lauded the Liberian people for participating in the process that led to the recruitment and training of the gallant men and women of the new AFL.

General Chiles acknowledged that Rome was not built in one day and as such the progress made so far shows that Liberia is on the right path.

"You are making progress and undertaking lots of progress. We have this saying in our country that Rome was not built in a day's time. We appreciate your insightful explanation and thank you for being part of the solution," Retired General Chiles told Minister Samukai.

The US Retired General presented a medal to Minister Samukai depicting his effort and significant contribution to the transformation of the AFL.

Earlier before General Chiles comment, Minister Samukai highlighted some of the reforms that have been undertaken by the ALF and the Ministry of Defense. Minister Samukai commended the government and people of the United States for the huge support that is being given to the people of Liberia especially the military.

Although some progress has been made, the Minister pointed out several challenges faced by the AFL. He outlined accommodation, rate of attrition, logistics, among others as some of the challenges being experienced by the new force.

Minister Samukai told the delegates about the command structure of the AFL including the selection of a Liberian Chief of Staff by 2014. He explained about the AFL deployment in Mali to assist with the peace keeping mission in that West African state.

The US military delegation has 15 of its members who are expected to be future generals of the US military. They are undergoing a capstone course. The objective of the course is to ensure that new GO/FOs and their civilian equivalents understand the fundamentals of joint doctrine and joint operation art and how to integrate the elements of national military strategies. The course also teaches fellows how joint interagency and multinational operations support national strategic goals and objectives. The course is five weeks in length, 12 days of which are dedicated to overseas field study.

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