Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa commander Brig. Gen. David Furness attended the graduation ceremony for 60 engineers from Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) on July 7, at a Marine base in Jinja, Uganda.
The historic graduation of Class 17.2 marked the conclusion of the first class where UPDF instructors both ran and taught the entire course. The two-month training, advised by U.S. Marine Corps partners from the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa, covered three subjects, including civil engineering, heavy equipment operations, and utilities management.
Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi, the Deputy Chief of Defense Forces for Uganda, presided over the graduation ceremony that took place at the headquarters of Uganda Rapid Deployment Capability Center, based in Jinja, Uganda.
In addition to theoretical training, skills development was achieved through practical application, and as such, several projects were undertaken by students during the course. Those projects included constructing 3,500 meters of improved road surface and a four-acre, two-tier motor pool, a range renovation, and installation of external wiring in addition to a 610 meter chain-link security fence around the Jinja base.
The United States supports the work of African peacekeepers serving with the African Union (AU) and United Nations (UN) in Africa through the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP). This support has largely been delivered through training and equipping African troops and police for service in UN and AU peacekeeping operations as a means of strengthening the capacity of African troop-contributing countries to rapidly respond to emerging crises in Africa.
This is a realistic approach because it enhances effective response to emerging crises before they threaten regional stability requires sustainable, rapid-response peacekeeping capabilities in Africa. APRRP seeks to build the key military enablers: transportation, engineering, logistics, communications, and medical capabilities, to establish, operate, and sustain bases of operations in a deployed environment.
Uganda has been among the partnership countries working under this program. And, along with several training and other capacity-building activities, these countries have strengthened the capabilities of their professional military and police forces to protect their borders, work more efficiently with partner nations, and ultimately work towards peace and stability throughout the continent.