23 April 2018

Liberia: AFL's First Female Deputy Chief of Staff Awaits Senate's Blessing

The Liberian Senate's committee on Defense, Security, Intelligence and Veteran Affairs has exhaustively grilled Liberia's first female nominee for the post of Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia and there are indications that she will receive the blessing of senate plenary this week.

Colonel Geraldine Janet George, whose rich profile seemed to have won the hearts of majority of the Defense Committee, told members of that body that she joined the Armed Forces of Liberia in 2006 and has since underwent extensive training in several African countries and United States' military academies.

The young female Colonel clarified that the decision to nominate her was solely based on merit, and absolutely not due to gender preference.

"In military training, there is no such thing as specially-designed training for females or males; when a male is given a magazine and ordered to discharge, his female counterparts receive the same instruction," said Col. George, who is expected to replace now Chief of Staff Brigadier/General Prince Johnson.

Prior to her nomination, Col. George served as Acting Commander of the 23rd Infantry Brigade, headquartered at the Edward B. Kesselly Barracks. She has served in many other posts, including Commander of Military Police (MP), Provost Marshall, 23rd Infantry Brigade, Legal Officer, Armed Forces of Liberia Headquarters, and Acting Deputy Chief of Staff, among several other posts.

A graduate of the College of West Africa, Col. George holds a Master of Arts Degree in International Relations, Webster University, United States of America, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Criminal Justice from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University College, Monrovia, and several other certificates relating to military training.

Col. George's international training included those at Fort Benning, USA; Basic Officer Leader Course, Fort Benning; Military Police Basic Officer Leadership Course, Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, USA, among many others in Sierra Leone and Rwanda.

Col. George assured the senate committee that in line with their oversight responsibility, she will hold regular consultations with them, based on instructions from her direct boss, the Chief of Staff.

The Deputy Chief of Staff, who hails from River Gee County, promised to work with the Chief of Staff for improvement of the livelihood of soldiers, and assured that encouragement for more female recruitment into the AFL will continue.

She emphasized the importance and need to improve the salary structure, housing, medicare and education of soldiers. However, the cordiality and glaring assurances of a smooth confirmation for the AFL's first ever female Captain and Colonel was thrown into slight doubt when former Chairman of the defense committee Senator Stephen Zargo expressed suspicion that the nominee actually climbed the ladder on merit.

The Lofa County senator, who now represents the senate at the ECOWAS Parliament in Abuja, Nigeria, was, however, encouraged to take issues up with the committee during deliberations in committee room. "I will definitely bring the issue on the table in committee room, and if I am not convinced, I will file a motion for reconsideration," Sen Zargo announced.

Also appearing yesterday were nominees from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and Assistant Minister at Ministry of Defense.

Meanwhile, Senate Protempore Albert Chie on Thursday ruled in favor of a motion calling for the adjournment of the 22nd day sitting, without discussing a single item on the agendas, which were all reports on confirmation hearings.

Nimba County ranking Senator and Chairman of the Committee on Internal Affairs Thomas Grupee, had earlier declared a reluctance to accept the agenda, with the contention in line with the Rules of the Senate, that the reports on the agenda were not distributed among individual senators within the time frame of 24 hours prior to yesterday's sitting.

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