CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti – The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs awarded Mr. Scott Ticknor, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD), with the 2017 Robert D. Murphy Senior-Level POLAD of the Year Award July 19.
The award recognizes Ticknor’s accomplishments with CJTF-HOA for having “significantly increased cooperation between [U.S. Africa Command] and the State Department throughout Eastern and Central Africa.”
As a foreign policy advisor, Ticknor’s role is multidimensional. He advises and travels with U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. David J. Furness, CJTF-HOA commanding general, while serving as a resource to staff and command agencies. Providing a diplomatic perspective, he is the civilian voice of the U.S. State Department during DOD meetings and engagements and in the creation and execution of written products. He functions as a focal point for interaction between the DOD, Department of State and non-governmental agencies serving to strengthen U.S. government engagement in East Africa.
“We are very proud of Scott and the fact that he has earned this very prestigious award,” said Furness. “He gives me and my staff valuable advice and perspective on a range of topics, which helps us better understand the very complex environment within East Africa and make more informed decisions.”
The award, established in 2012 to recognize the contributions of individual POLADs, is based on the following criteria:
- the awardee shows a sustained performance, which significantly enhances relationship or the partnerships between the Department of State and the Department of Defense;
- the POLAD certifies effective interagency engagement that ensures the POLAD’s respective commands’ exercises and activities promote U.S. government foreign policy goals and objectives; and,
- any action or contribution of the POLAD on a political-military issue has a direct, positive impact on U.S. national security.
Specifically, the Department of State commented that Ticknor, the only POLAD assigned on the continent of Africa, worked with interagency partners to build Somalia’s National Security Forces and provided assessments of al-Shabaab. These efforts were noted as key components in progressing Somalia’s stability and security.
“This award shines a light on the important work of CJTF-HOA,” said Ticknor. “We’ve really tried to bring CJTF-HOA and the U.S. Mission to Somalia closer together in terms of our approach and communication, promoting U.S. security sector goals overall in Somalia.”
The CJTF-HOA mission includes assisting partner nations and regional organizations in combating transnational threats, executing peace operations, responding to crisis, and promoting regional stability. Predominantly, efforts are directed toward developing East African defense forces to neutralize al-Shabaab – the primary violent extremist organization in Somalia.
Although CJTF-HOA has gained much from Ticknor’s insights and expertise, he also greatly appreciates the experience and lessons learned while working with the DOD.
“I have not served in the military and I hadn’t worked that much with the military before,” said Ticknor, who is a career Foreign Service Officer. “Here, I’ve had the chance to learn about how the U.S. military works and how it differs from our approach and style in the State Department. After this assignment I think I’ll be better able to bridge our two cultures in the kind of whole-of-government approach that is vital to successfully advancing our national security. ”
Mr. Ticknor is one of approximately 90 State Department Foreign Service Officers who are assigned to commands around the world as Foreign Policy Advisors, in a program that traces its roots back to World War II.