New Defense Law Seeks Change of Title, Tenure for AFL Chief of Staff

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Plenary rejects committee’s report

A law to amend certain provisions of the National Defense Act of 2008 to change the nomenclature of the Chief of Staff (COS) of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and give it tenure, is under review at the House of Representatives.

According to the draft law, if it is amended, specifically in Section 3.2 (a) and Section 3.2 (b), AFL Chief of Staff shall be called the Chief of Defense Staff of the AFL, and shall have the tenure of five years, and can be re-elected for only a second tenure.

The new law states that the President (Commander-in-Chief) shall appoint the Chief of Defense Staff with advice and consent of the Senate. The Chief of Defense Staff will only be removed for a cause by the President with a simple majority vote from members of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The new law indicated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall be known as Lieutenant General, instead of its previous title of Major General.

“The Chief of Defense Staff shall be the head of the AFL, who shall have the responsibility to maintain effective operations, readiness, morale and the property of the AFL,” Nimba County District #7 Representative, who is also chairman on Judiciary and co-chairman on the House’s Joint Committee on National Defense and Judiciary, Worlea Saywah Dunnah said.

He added that the change of title to the Chief of Defense Staff is to put the country on par with other African countries, whose soldiers have a similar title.

The report also stated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall have the authority to dispatch the AFL in and out of the country without meeting the approval of the Minister of Defense or the Commander-In-Chief.

In their arguments, some members of the House of Representatives, including Montserrado County District #4 Representative Henry B. Fahnbulleh as well as Montserrado County District #8 Representative Acarous Gray, argued that the AFL should be headed by a soldier, instead of civilian administrators.

The two lawmakers further argued that the new National Defense Law gives the Chief of Defense Staff absolute power, as well as the President, without the input of the Legislature.

After further arguments, the House’s plenary rejected the report, tabled and transmitted it for another session until the chairman on the House’s committee on National Defense, George Mulbah, is present to explain the New Defense Law to the House.

It can be recalled that Liberia’s Chief of Staff, Major General Daniel Ziankahn, has been appointed as the chairman of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff.

22 COMMENTS

  1. “”The report also stated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall have the authority to dispatch the AFL in and out of the country without meeting the approval of the Minister of Defense or the Commander-In-Chief.””

    This is a recipe for disaster and mayhem. No one should be able to order the arm forces of the country without consensus from the Legislature and the President

    • S.V; you are absolutely right. As a matter of fact, I see nothing wrong with the American format for Liberia’s Armed Forces. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it. We are headed for disaster. They are telling the Soldiers to take matters in their own hands; without the consent of Liberia’s Laws Makers. How DUMB!

  2. Who are these people that writing these laws? Changing the title it’s not a development the Minster of Defense is in charge of the AFL

  3. Let’s be serious. This administration has been in power for 12 years. Why the rush to so many bills and executive orders at the time? I thik there should be a law to limit the the executive and the house from passing any law at the eleventh hour (6 months to the entry of a new admin.). All bills should be tabled and allow a new executive and house to ponder sufficiently the intent and impact of these legislations understanding their consequences and their (new admin) responsibility to the Liberian people.

    this is scaring because a law could be passed at the last minute and tomorrow we don’t have a country called Liberia.

    I think especially the President should know better but has never taken a stand. What a travesty and unspeakable greed.

  4. “The report also stated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall have the authority to dispatch the AFL in and out of the country without meeting the approval of the Minister of Defense or the Commander-In-Chief.” ? Is it Military Government ?

  5. That’s what happens when the head of the government is weak. you will have people making all kinds of flimsy recommendations.

  6. “The report also stated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall have the authority to dispatch the AFL in and out of the country without meeting the approval of the Minister of Defense or the Commander-In-Chief.”

    What is the meaning of that? What kind of Authority is that? Does it mean that the “Chief of Defense Staff” will have the power/authority to declare war whenever necessary without the approval of the Minister Of Defense or Commander-In-Chief?

  7. How can this be? Some of the lawmakers are out for something else and as representative of the people it is unbelievable that such a law will even be argued. This is not necessarily important right now and will never be. You lawmakers should be arguing about development of the state and people, making life better. How many of you have a farm?

  8. “The report also stated that the Chief of Defense Staff shall have the authority to dispatch the AFL in and out of the country without meeting the approval of the Minister of Defense or the Commander-In-Chief.”

    This is completely and utterly insane! Why exactly is there still a Minister of Defense, if this position is going to be nearly independent of that position?

  9. Does this mean the Minister of Defense is just the ceremonial head of the defense ministry; and that the chief of defense staff is independent with no one to oversee his activities? Even in the great USA, secretary of defense is the oversight person for the armed forces, i.e. the army, the navy, marine, air force, etc, and the joint cheifs of staff. Are we creating another dragon to create havoc? Are the crafters of this bill out of their mind?. Allah forbid.

  10. The Liberian soldiers will discuss their own code of justice after election October 10, 2017. AFL is not in politics neither interested in any particular group or personality. These GI s are busy with the protection of this nation and its people. The Liberian soldier is for all of us.
    Gone in silence. Tell the ballot box. Do not call me.

  11. That drift law is a complete nonsense, or is like putting the snake our of the cage with no one to control it. Why in the feature the Army get a trabilistice Chief of Staff, do you know what will happen to Liberia? Jest think about Liberia and the Army before the civil war, it became a tribal society. Let the Army be control by the civilians for check and balance. Gray them really confused.

  12. We are asolulately heading for a disaster. Let us be careful. I think let the law maker think about it. It is not necessary at the moment.

  13. Changing the title of the most senior officer in the Armed Forces should be the last step in getting on par with other African countries. The change of title from Chief of staff to Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) doesn’t in anyway put Liberia on par with other countries unless we commence doing the most significant thing first. The Chief of Defense Staff is the highest ranking military officer in the Armed Forces. In other countries that Liberia wants to get on par with, the Chief of Defense Staff supervises the three services chiefs: The Army, Navy and Air Force. Does Liberia now have Navy and Air Force added to the Army which warrants change of title from Chief of Staff to Chief of Defense Staff, or we just want to be on par with others by creating new portfolios? Currently, the highest commissioned officer in the AFL is a Major General who the President was forced to promote just because she wanted him to serve in the position of Chief of Staff. Again, they’re ready to once more break the record to promote him to Lieutenant General in less than two years in his current position. If this new recommendation is approved, the Armed Forces of Liberia will be the only Armed Forces in the entire world that has promoted one of its personnel from second Lieutenant to Lieutenant General within thirteen years. In other countries that Liberia wants to emulate, the Chief of Staff of the AFL, Major General Ziankahn could have still been a Major or Lieutenant Colonel in the Armed Forces of those countries. Less than fifteen years, he has moved from Second Lieutenant to Major General, something that is never a possibility in countries we want to imitate. Why are we promoting few persons and leaving others behind? Some have served in the same Army for more than ten years and they’re yet to attain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but here we’re using 4G promotion for one person. Let us be careful in rebuilding this Armed Forces and avoid creating a problem for the future!

  14. I have yet to read the RATIONALE for this new law! Liberian lawmakers should articulate their reasoning for the law, it’s genesis, benefits, etc.! Why in God’s name do we want a military that can declare war without the consent of the president, defense minister or legislature? Where is this thinking coming from, and why does it make sense? God help!

  15. Please leave the law as it is before your screwed it up as your did the Code of Conduct. You guys are play with fire. Please wait for the next administration to make this decision.

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