Archive for the 'East Africa' Category

JAG Journal, Days 4 & 5: U.S., Tanzanian militaries share more legal similarities than differences

U.S. and Tanzanian military legal members pose for a group photo during the Military Law Symposium held at the Peacekeeping Training Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. During the symposium, the two militaries exchanged ideas on legal investigations, introduction to operational law and introduction to military justice. (Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa courtesy photo)

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Deegan and U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Peter Tunis, CJTF-HOA judge advocate generals, and U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Sciapli, USARAF judge advocate general, traveled to East Africa to exchange of legal practices with the Tanzanian Peoples’ Defense Force.

Here’s the final day-by-day recap of the visit to Dar es Salaam … (Read Day 1 and Days 2 & 3).

Day 4: Operational Law

On day four, U.S. and Tanzanian team members discussed rules of engagement, the law of armed conflict (LOAC) and the role of operational law attorneys in the U.S. military. The LOAC brief addressed the Geneva Conventions and the Hague Convention, strategic misconduct and the code of conduct soldiers are expected to follow in combat. Beyond the international policies that drove the conventions, the benefits of following LOAC were discussed through the lens of adding legitimacy to a nation’s position in a conflict, furthering that nation’s interests.

The participants also weighed in on the rules of engagement and subjecting service members to criminal jurisdiction under the International Criminal Court.

Maj. Shija Lupi, legal officer and military police commander, Tanzanian 603rd Air Transport Station, highlighted issues from one of his deployments to Lebanon.

“ROE should also include cultural awareness for the area where the contingency [force] is going,” said Lupi.

Tunis then gave an overview of Joint Operational Planning Process, ROE working groups, and the Joint Operations Center concept.

The U.S. and TPDF also discussed application of the planning concepts to experiences of U.S. military attorneys at Combined Task Force – Horn of Africa and in Afghanistan.

Day 5: The Tanzanian Military Justice System

On the last day of the symposium, Mbindi facilitated discussion about the Tanzanian Military Justice System. This was followed by one final block of instruction by Deegan on the role of the staff judge advocate.

The TPDF then conducted a ceremony concluding the week’s exchange of legal practices. Each TPDF judge advocate was presented a certificate by their U.S. counterparts for attending the military law symposium, while each of the U.S. participants was presented wood carvings made by local Tanzanian artisans.

Tunis was deeply moved by the gesture.

“The gift was touching and incredibly thoughtful,” said Tunis. “The three of us were humbled by their generosity. You could really relate to the sense of national pride in the gifts they chose. The same way that many Americans feel about buying things that say ‘Made in the USA’ was the same way that the TPDF felt.”

Deegan summed up the traveling contact team’s week-long endeavor.

“We learned that the U.S. and Tanzania militaries have many more similarities in military law than differences,” said Deegan. “The week was a huge success that we hope transcends to future engagements.”

JAG Journal, Day 1: Sharing knowledge with our counterparts in Tanzania

U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Peter Tunis, Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa judge advocate general, right, converses with a Tanzanian Peoples’ Defense Force legal officer during the Military Law Symposium held at the Peacekeeping Training Center. Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa courtesy photo)

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – Two members of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa legal staff and one U.S. Army Africa legal staff member recently attended the Military Law Symposium at the Peacekeeping Training Center here as part of a traveling contact team.

U.S. Army Lt. Col. Michael Deegan and U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Peter Tunis, CJTF-HOA judge advocate generals, and U.S. Army Capt. Daniel Sciapli, USARAF judge advocate general, went to Dar es Salaam for an exchange of legal practices with the Tanzanian Peoples’ Defense Force.

The team’s visit, which had been requested by the Tanzanian military, informed Tanzanian legal officers and aviation officers of U.S. military law, legal best practices, and the role Judge Advocate General Corps Officers play in advising military commanders on operational law and legal issues. The event highlighted discussions on investigations, introduction to operational law and introduction to military justice.

When the team stepped off of the plane into the humid, 88-degree heat, they had some concerns and anxieties normally associated with visiting a country for the first time. How would they be received? Would their instruction be on point with what the Tanzanian military was looking for? Would there be language barrier issues? Most Tanzanians speak English as a third language, with tribal languages and Swahili as their first and second.

Here’s a day-by-day recap of the engagement between the two groups of military lawyers …

Day 1: How to Train and Use a JAG

On the morning drive through the buzzing metropolis, each city block was packed with thousands of Tanzanians conducting their morning commute on foot, bicycles, and in various rickshaws, cars, and ornately-detailed minibuses.

When they arrived at the Peacekeeping Training Center, the team received a warm welcome from the TPDF. Tanzanian Lt. Col. Mbindi, his supporting staff, and the TPDF judge advocates in attendance quickly put one of the Americans’ main concerns to rest―they all spoke English. After a formal ceremony that included a speech from the installation’s commanding officer, everyone gave a personal introduction.

The team’s introductions included not just their areas of legal experience, but also mentioned their families. The Tanzanians introduced themselves, and every married man in the TPDF made a point to say, “I love my wife very much.”

“Having been away from my wife for the better part of six months, the TPDF’s introductions were very endearing. They triggered a response in my internal dialogue that was pushing me to express ‘I love my wife, too!’” said Tunis.

Tunis gave the first block of instruction, which discussed examples of the U.S. process for training and educating judge advocates. For a U.S. Marine Corps JAG officer, this eight-year process includes getting a bachelor’s degree followed by a law degree, taking a bar exam, and graduating Officer Candidate School, The Basic School, and Naval Justice School.

The Tanzanian model for the initial training of a judge advocate involves fewer steps. An individual who wants to practice law can go directly to law school upon finishing primary school, which is the Tanzanian equivalent of a U.S. high school.

Deegan then provided instruction on how U.S. commanders can use JAGs―and not only in their decision-making process on legal matters.

“JAGs should be used as military attorneys, but that doesn’t mean they can’t road march, learn to operate an armored vehicle, fire heavy weapon systems or participate in battle drills or exercises,” Deegan said.

He stressed that JAGs do not merely provide legal opinions.

“Training has taught JAGs not just the laws and statutes, but how to systematically approach problem solving,” said Deegan.

Stay tuned for Day 2 later this week …

Africa Snapshot: Morocco

U.S. Africa Command is responsible for military relations with 54 African countries across the continent. Morocco is one of the northernmost, located in West Africa, bordered on one side by the North Atlantic Ocean and by Algeria on the other. This month Morocco is host to African Lion, a Marine Forces Africa partnership exercise that focuses on air and land combat.

CIA World Factbook, Morocco

Population: About 32.3 million people live in Morocco. Of 238 countries listed in the CIA Factbook, Morocco ranks 38th in size.

Languages: Arabic is the official language, but French is also widely spoken, especially in government and business. The indigenous Berber dialects are also spoken.

Religion: Predominantly Islam.

Politics: Hereditary monarchy with a prime minister chosen from the largest party in parliament. In the wake of the Arab Spring last year and protests in his country, King Mohammed VI agreed to some constitutional reforms.

Geography: Morocco covers about 446,000 square kilometers and is slightly larger than the size of California. The northern coast is mountainous and prone to earthquakes.

Strategic importance: The country sits on the Strait of Gibraltar, an important trade route that allows ships to pass from the Mediterranean Sea directly to the Atlantic Ocean. At its narrowest point, the strait separates Europe and Africa by just 8 miles.

CIA World Factbook Morocco

Border controversy: Morocco claimed sovereignty over the former Spanish colony of Western Sahara, to the south, in 1979, prompting a guerrilla war that ended in a 1991 UN-brokered ceasefire. A referendum was promised to decide Western Sahara’s fate but so far has not happened.

U.S. Partnerships: African Lion, currently taking place in Morocco,  is the largest bilateral exercise on the continent.

You might know it because: Morocco is home to the city of Casablanca, made famous in America by the iconic 1942 film named after it. The movie was not actually filmed in Morocco, but on studio sets in California.

Sources: CIA Fact Book, U.S. Department of

(To learn more about Africa, watch for our occasional “Africa Snapshot” series. Our previous snapshot featured Benin, a small country on the Gulf of Guinea.)

Maritime Safety and Security Seminar one piece of AFRICOM effort

“We believe that security of the seas is essential for global security. There is a relationship between security of the sea, the ability of countries to govern their waters, a country’s prosperity, stability and peace. The oceans of the world are a common bond between the economies and countries of the world. Seventy percent of the world is water, 80% of the world lives on or near the coastline and 90% of the world’s commerce is transported on the ocean. Individual nations cannot combat maritime problems and crimes alone …”

— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa

This week’s Maritime Safety and Security Seminar in Benin is just one example of how U.S. Africa Command, its components, agencies and partner nations work to combat piracy and other maritime security challenges off Africa’s 18,000 miles of coastline. That meeting kicked off yesterday and continues today, with top leaders from the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States. The meeting is a continuation of one held last year where the two organizations and their country representatives talked about ways to work together to improve maritime safety and security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.

Countering piracy and illicit trafficking is one of AFRICOM’s top priorities, according to Gen. Carter F. Ham. In his recently released 2012 Posture Statement outlining AFRICOM’s goals and priorities, Gen. Ham highlighted the importance of maritime security.

“The free flow of commerce through the global commons is essential to U.S. economic and security interests,” he said. “Piracy and other maritime crimes negatively impact the security and freedom of access for all nations to critical waterways and continue to threaten U.S. security in the waters off the East and West coast of Africa.”

The command’s two primary anti-piracy and maritime security programs are Africa Partnership Station (APS)  and Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP), both lead by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, based in Naples, Italy.

An amphibious assault vehicle with 3rd Platoon, Delta Compay, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, moves out to the USS Whidbey Island, March 20 at Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Thirty-six Marines with the platoon conducted reintegration exercises from March 19 – 22 in preparation for their deployment with the Africa Partnership Station 2012 this year. Read a story about their preparation. (Photo by Sgt. Bryan A. Peterson)

APS, in its fifth year, involves Navy ships that visit our African partners to conduct training and exchange information. The Navy likens it to a “floating university.” This year’s APS kicked off in January and includes the USS Simpson, the USS Fort McHenry and the HSV Swift, along with some 19 African countries plus partners from Europe and North and South America. Recent APS engagements include combat lifesaver training in Cameroon, and a 27-day ship visit aboard the USS Simpson for sailors from Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and Togo.

The goals of APS are to deter piracy, discourage illicit trafficking of drugs and persons and impede drug smuggling.

AMLEP, on the other hand, includes actual law enforcement operations with partner nations. U.S. forces team up with regional navies and coast guards to patrol and enforce their own territorial waters in order to combat piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime crimes.

Click the links below to learn more about these and other maritime security initiatives:

2012 AFRICOM Posture Statement

AFRICOM fact sheet on APS

AFRICOM fact sheet on AMLEP

APS Facebook page 

Benin meeting focuses on maritime security in West, Central Africa

Piracy, drug smuggling, child trafficking and illegal fishing are all challenges for the African countries that border the Gulf of Guinea.

Those issues hinder economic development, which in turn can lead to destabilization of countries. According to the director of the Maritime and Coastal Security Africa conference held in October:

Piracy and other maritime threats around Africa are now costing most international users of sea routes millions in increased fuel prices, insurance, security and ransom payments as well as costing Africa its integrity, security and position as a leading player in sea trade.

But several nations are working together to combat those challenges. Representatives from both the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) are meeting this week to continue an effort started last year to improve maritime safety and security in the region.

The same groups met last year in Garmisch, Germany. More than 100 participants from 25 nations attended, plus representatives from the International Maritime Organization, the U.S. Coast Guard and several other interested agencies. (Read more about last year’s meeting here.)

This week’s meeting is in Benin, a West African nation with a coastline on the Gulf of Guinea. ECCAS and ECOWAS member states will talk about how they can work together in order to at quickly and decisively to counter maritime threats in their sea.

Benin is a member of ECOWAS, which includes 14 other West African countries working together promote economic integration across the region.  It was started in 1975.

ECCAS, a similar coalition of 10 Central African countries, was established in 1983 but was inactive for several years due to regional conflict. It aims to maintain economic stability and raise the standard of living for its member nations.

We have a reporter at this week’s conference, and we will bring you updates throughout the week here on the blog and our other AFRICOM social media sites.

Feel free to share your thoughts on the issues discussed this week or ask us questions as the meeting and our coverage progress.

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