BUJUMBURA, Burundi - U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. James R. Kriesel, deputy commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), visited Bujumbura, Burundi, July 18-20 to participate in the Burundi National Defence Force's (BNDF) Senior Command and Staff College (SCSC) graduation.
The objective of the visit was to recognize the accomplishments the students made while attending the 45-week course. The Burundi SCSC was established in 2017 to meet the training requirements designated by the heads of state of East African Community countries.
During the graduation, Lt. Gen Prime Niyongabo, BNDF chief of defence, thanked CJTF-HOA for all of the personnel support and logistics provided to facilitate the class.
"I appreciate the work done by (CJTF-HOA) and the members of the college staff who worked night and day to give our student officers the most support," said Niyongabo. "The training provided to our students is of high importance."
The 28-person class, which included senior officers from the countries of Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya, was the first taught entirely in English with the assistance of English language classes led by CJTF-HOA's 403rd Civil Affairs Battalion, according to U.S. Army Lt. Col. Benjamin Kenion, CJTF-HOA liaison officer to Burundi.
While visiting the SCSC, Kriesel thanked the men and women of the allied militaries for their selfless service and reiterated the need to always adapt to an ever-changing military force.
"It is necessary to integrate the collective strengths and unique cultures as they are perishable; they must be cultivated," said Kriesel. "Each of us must display moral courage and always do what is right, regardless of the cost. All service members must call the profession of arms their own, from the most junior enlisted to our most senior leaders."
Kriesel also acknowledged the importance of maintaining a relationship with the BNDF and other East African Community countries.
"We are proud of the strong partnership we have formed with all of you and know that you and your colleagues will play a large role in your respective countries' future, including future peacekeeping and other humanitarian missions," said Kriesel.
Kriesel challenged the students to empower individual initiative by providing clear, concise and complete mission orders in a climate of mutual trust and understanding.
"Today, responsive and resilient service members are necessary in environments against adaptable, thinking adversaries who exploit opportunities at every turn," said Kriesel. "These challenges call for
leaders at the tactical level to exercise greater personal initiative vice relying on the decision-making of echelons well above the point of action."
During Kriesel's visit, he also met with the Minister of National Defence of Burundi, Emmanuel Ntahomvukiye, and Col. Cassien Ntacebera, commandant of the Burundi SCSC. Ntacebera hopes the partnership with members of CJTF-HOA will continue to further develop into a lasting alliance.
"There is not a single country that can work in isolation," said Ntacebera. "We must make allies like you (CJTF-HOA) to achieve success in the future."