• aim to further strengthen ties with RDF
KIGALI - A 21-man delegation of Senior US Military officers is in the country for a three-day official visit, to seek ways of further deepening relations with the Rwanda Defence Forces (RDF).
The group consisting of officers at the rank of Brigadier General, Senior Colonels and 3-Star Generals from the US Army National Defence University are in the country under the CAPSTONE programme, through which the two countries will develop a deeper understanding of their common interests, while building a stronger bond between their armies.
Speaking to journalists shortly after arrival at Kigali International Airport, leader of the delegation, retired Air Force Gen. Joseph W Ashy, said that the group mostly made up of newly promoted officers is on a fact finding mission, using Rwanda as a case study before they fully take on their new assignments.
“We are particularly happy for the invitation from the RDF and we are ready to learn from our friends so that we can experience our friendship and partnership with you.
We are particularly interested in the leadership here and peacekeeping and stability operations and how the US can help,” Gen Ashy told the press.
“We are also impressed by your leadership in Darfur and we are really interested in learning from you.”
Rwanda is one of the five countries the officers will visit. According to Ashy, Rwanda is a major ally of the US on the continent and its history of Genocide, and the way the country managed to rise from the ashes to a stable country with a strong military force makes it a commendable case study for the officers to learn from.
According to Col. Charles Karamba, the RDF head of Research and Development, the delegation will today visit the Ministry of Defence headquarters, where they will be hosted by the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. James Kabarebe. They are expected to be given an overview of the RDF, the current missions that it is involved in, as well as its future engagement plans.
The arrangement is part of the military cooperation arrangement between the US Army and the RDF.
The US army has also facilitated the RDF Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) as well as other military training arrangements.
The retired General holds a number of responsibilities besides being a senior fellow for CAPSTONE at the US Army National Defence University.
The delegation will also visit the Genocide Memorial at Gisozi where they will be briefed on the realities of the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi before they wind up their three day visit.
CAPSTONE is an intensive six weeks course that consists of seminars, informal discussions, visits to key US Commands as well as overseas field studies that bring US generals and Flag Officers into contact with senior political and military leaders of various governments.
The CAPSTONE curriculum focuses mainly on major national issues affecting national security decision making, military strategy, joint/combined doctrine and interoperability, among others.
It is mandatory for all newly selected generals and flag officers to attend CAPSTONE.