Newly-appointed CJTF-HOA leaders’ visit helps reinforce an independent Somali defense force

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira exchange greetings before their meeting at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. Having assumed command the day prior, the event served as Furness’s first official key leader engagement as the CJTF-HOA commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
CJTF-HOA commander, SRCC for Somalia meet to examine partnership mission Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira exchange greetings before their meeting at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. Having assumed command the day prior, the event served as Furness’s first official key leader engagement as the CJTF-HOA commander. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
Second from left, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) leadership, U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz, center, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, second from right, begin discussion during a meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. USAFRICOM and subcomponent CJTF-HOA assist African states in strengthening their defense capabilities to mitigate their security threats more effectively. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
USAFRICOM, U.S. State Dept., Somali leadership assemble to discuss current events Second from left, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) leadership, U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz, center, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, second from right, begin discussion during a meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. USAFRICOM and subcomponent CJTF-HOA assist African states in strengthening their defense capabilities to mitigate their security threats more effectively. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
At center, U.S. Africa Command Commander (USAFRICOM) U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known by his nickname “Farmajo,” stand alongside their respective dignitaries and military coterie after their meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. With its partners, USAFRICOM works to neutralize transnational threats, protect U.S. personnel and facilities, prevent and mitigate conflict, and build defense capability to promote regional stability and prosperity. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa Image At center, U.S. Africa Command Commander (USAFRICOM) U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser and President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known by his nickname “Farmajo,” stand alongside their respective dignitaries and military coterie after their meeting held at Mogadishu International Airport, Somalia, April 29, 2017. With its partners, USAFRICOM works to neutralize transnational threats, protect U.S. personnel and facilities, prevent and mitigate conflict, and build defense capability to promote regional stability and prosperity. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Andria Allmond)

MOGADISHU, Somalia – Newly-appointed Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commander U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness and the CJTF-HOA Command Senior Enlisted Leader U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Benjamin J. Higginbotham joined the U.S. Ambassador to Somalia Stephen Schwartz and U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM) commander U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser for a series of meetings regarding East African security here Saturday.

Having just assumed their leadership positions at CJTF-HOA the previous day, Furness and Higginbotham quickly began covering ground on critical security issues in East Africa.

“There is no question that Al-Shabaab has brought great turmoil and has committed extreme atrocities in East Africa, and particularly in Somalia,” said Furness. “But we are committed to working with partner nations to help Somalia stand strong against this violent extremist organization, and assist with the international and intergovernmental efforts to bring back security and stability to this very important region."

This visit to Mogadishu International Airport solidified a commitment to assist African regional partners strengthen their own security through the following measures: countering transnational threats, promoting regional stability through defense capabilities and protection of U.S. assets.

Their foundational forum took place with President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known by his nickname “Farmajo,” and the Somali National Army Chief of Defense.

“This was a very productive visit,” stated Furness. “It was a chance to meet the country's leadership and reaffirm the strong ties we have with President Farmajo and the great people of Somalia.”

Afterward, the U.S. military leaders, Schwartz and his assembly met for briefings with regional intelligence collection agencies and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (SRCC) for Somalia Ambassador Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira, to discussing current events. This meeting comes little more than a week after the first U.S. Africa Command Chiefs of Defense (CHoD) conference held in Stuttgart, Germany, which had a focus on countering VEOs.

“The first and top priority of the AFRICOM Theater Campaign Plan is to neutralize Al-Shabaab and transition the African Union Mission to Somalia,” Furness said. “AMISOM has done yeoman's work to stabilize Somalia over the last 10 years, and they can be proud of their efforts.”

With AMISOM scheduled to withdraw forces over a 24-month period beginning in October 2018, President Farmajo is slated to present a new national security architecture at the London Summit in May.  Furness expressed that he is hopeful the plan laying out Somalia’s armed forces structure will integrate well with U.S. efforts to train, advise and assist Somali security forces.

“With this close partnership, I think the Government of Somalia will make a real difference in isolating Al-Shabaab, eradicating hardliners and reconciling those who are open to becoming productive members of society," he said.

According to a story posted by USAFRICOM Public Affairs April 21, during the CHoD conference, Madeira said, “Peace and security in Somalia is the goal…We must strengthen the Somalia National Security Force.”

“Let’s resolve to remove Al-Shabaab from the remaining towns and villages,” added Madeira.

AFRICOM and its subcomponent CJTF-HOA assist African states in strengthening their defense capabilities and mitigate security threats more effectively. Primarily, this is achieved through military-to-military engagements, programs, exercises and operations coordinated with the Department of State and African partner nations. 

The CJTF-HOA is a tenant unit on Camp Lemonnier – the only U.S. military base on the continent. The task force, operating since 2002, achieves its mission by building and reinforcing partnerships that contribute to the security and stability of East Africa.

 

Tags

African Union Senior Enlisted Leader Somalia East Africa CJTF-HOA AFRICOM Security AFRICOM USAFRICOM Africa Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa Air Force military AMISOM Horn of Africa HOA Marine Mogadishu Stephen Schwartz

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