CJTF-HOA commander visits civil affairs team giving counter-illicit trafficking training in Tanzania
TANZANIA, Africa -- U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David Furness, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) commanding general, visited the CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs Team 2, Bravo Company, 411th Civil Affairs Battalion (CAB) as they provided training to Tanzanian Wildlife Authority (TAWA) game wardens in Western Tanzania, Sept. 28 – 29.
Following his visit, Furness indicated that he was very impressed with the dedication of both the CJTF-HOA civil affairs team and the government of Tanzania to counter illicit trafficking and improve overall security.
“The TAWA game wardens are responsible for securing an area comparable to the size of Illinois – that’s not a simple task,” said Furness. “They, along with our civil affairs team, are operating in a very challenging, austere environment and are doing incredible work.”
Over the last two years, U.S. Army civil affairs teams from CJTF-HOA have assisted with the development of TAWA game wardens in their efforts to mitigate illicit trade of natural resources and develop governance mechanisms and incentives to bring trade into the market. Most recently, they’ve focused on honing the game wardens’ field and medical skills, information collection and civil engagement capabilities. All of these efforts are in line with a CJTF-HOA key task of building partner nations’ security capabilities and capacity, thereby promoting regional stability and prosperity.
"Illicit trafficking is a problem which affects all of East Africa,” said U.S. Army Capt. Robert Kobold, the CJTF-HOA civil affairs team leader in Tanzania. “The movement of illegal goods damages the legitimacy of governments and is a source of violence and instability, especially in border regions.”
During his visit with the civil affairs battalion, Furness met with the TAWA leadership to better understand the operation and hear their operational challenges. Briefers explained that, while game hunting in protected areas is among the most common issues in the region, other key areas are illicit trafficking of ivory, timber and honey poaching.
Some of the challenges discussed included the difficulty in guarding a large amount of land with limited resources and travel obstacles due to flooding. Game wardens also identified methods poachers use to evade reprisal, as well how some use canoes or bicycles to reach areas inaccessible by motorized vehicles.
One way in which CJTF-HOA is assisting is in the instruction of basic medical skills, focusing on basic lifesaving skills in austere conditions. Using sticks and torn rags, they explained how to create splints for broken legs and slings to demobilize a broken arm.
“Medical response for austere environments increases the confidence for the wardens to complete their mission safely,” commented U.S. Army medic Staff Sgt. Daniel Hauser, one of the civil affairs trainers.
He further explained that initial medical capability assessments indicated the game wardens lack the medical equipment and up-to-date practices. Functioning in an environment hours removed from an established medical facility, a medical program was developed to demonstrate how the TAWA can use local resources for emergency care.
Through cooperation with the Tanzanian government, U.S. Embassy-Tanzania, U.S. Africa Command and CJTF-HOA, the CJTF-HOA civil affairs Soldiers and TAWA game wardens are maximizing their capabilities and coordinating their efforts for successful joint operations – now and into the future.
“We are excited to maintain a relationship with TAWA and hope to continue working with them to improve their training and practices for many years to come, “said Kobold. “The TAWA leadership wants to develop their own instructors, and they hope to have joint U.S. military-TAWA teaching teams working together in the next year. Luckily, civil affairs teams have the right personnel, with a mixture of military and civilian experience, to provide the targeted knowledge and experience needed to continue making this mission a success.”