The Chairman of the Governance Commission (GC), Dr. Amos C. Sawyer, is proposing an upgrade for the Military Academy at Camp Todee, Upper Montserrado County.
While paying his respects to the AFL’s sizeable platoon serving with the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA), Dr. Sawyer observed that upgrading the academic capacities of the nation’s armed forces are part of the implementation of the government’s Agenda for Transformation (AfT).
Dr. Sawyer’s statement was part of a speech he delivered at a program marking the 57th Armed Forces Day celebration held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) on UN Drive in Monrovia.
Tuesday’s ceremony coincided with a colorful change of command by the army. During the formal procedure, AFL command was once again squarely placed in the hands of Liberians, who were promoted to the ranks of Chief of Staff, Deputy COS and Brigade Commander.
This year’s Armed Forces Day was observed on the theme, “Enhancing the Capabilities of the Armed Forces of Liberia to Meet Contemporary Challenges.”
According to Dr. Sawyer, the occasion’s main speaker, the celebration of Armed Forces Day is presently faced with the challenges of ensuring the full integration (mixing) of the country’s security sector; especially the military into the national AfT.
Dr. Sawyer explained this process would ensure security is used equally to project the AfT toward national reconciliation and healing; allowing good governance and progress in the national development agenda.
“We all agree the Liberian security sector should be organized with the objective of protecting and promoting human security—that which has to with the political, economic, social, and cultural empowerment of our citizens and other inhabitants,” Dr. Sawyer said.
According to him, the ongoing quest to turn the military into the driver of the country’s AfT stemmed from history when the armed forces were reshaped (from the Frontier Force into the current AFL during the 1950’S) to meet modern realities.
Dr. Sawyer noted a major part of this reshaping involved each AFL member being educated to the point where they are able to read and write effectively.
To buttress this progress, Dr. Sawyer, who served as an Interim President during the years of civil conflict, called for improved training curricula for the military that would include technical and vocational manuals allowing soldiers to become even more viable to overall national development.
“Our military today is the most educated we ever had. They are capable, trained and equipped to become the most developmentally centered military in Liberia’s recent history.”
The former Interim President was impressed with the level of education being achieved by officers and enlisted men of the new Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) since the restructuring exercise commenced in September 2006.
The Minister of National Defense, Brownie Jeffery Samukai, Jr., who spoke later, reported to the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf that since 2006, almost 85 percent of the officers’ cadre of all ranks had completed required levels of training and military specialties.
That meant, Minister Samukai reported to C-I-C Sirleaf, all officers of the first class of 2006 have completed Command and General Staff College Training, which is a requirement for enhancing the strategic command capabilities of the military leadership.
Minister Samukai also reported that over 400 soldiers and non-commissioned officers have benefited from training abroad in several countries in various disciplines.
Some of the countries the soldiers were trained included: the United States of America, Nigeria, China, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Benin, Rwanda, Bangladesh and Indonesia, among other places.