CAMP LEMONNIER, Djibouti (NNS) -- U.S. Naval War College (NWC) professors Larry McCabe and James Cook visited Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), June 14-15, to facilitate a two-day seminar on issues important to the African continent.
The gathering marks the first time CJTF-HOA has hosted an event in collaboration with NWC since June 2008. More than 80 staff members were present for the training.
"Coming here, engaging and talking with the staff provides a much more accurate and contemporary picture of what's happening here," said McCabe. "And we take it back and share it with our colleagues and then present to our students what's happening on the ground."
McCabe and Cook are active participants of the college's international engagement program, where they lecture on strategy and international security matters.
"What we bring to the group here is a strategic view on what they do," said McCabe. "They are so busy working at the operations and tactical level. They are so busy doing, that they don't have time to ask, 'Why am I doing this? Is what we are doing the most effective?'"
The faculty duo, both members of the college's National Security Affairs department, received the invitation from a NWC alumnus and former student of McCabe's -- Army Maj. Gen. Mark R. Stammer, the previous commander of CJTF-HOA. The current commander of CJTF-HOA, Army Maj. Gen. Kurt L. Sonntag, also a NWC alumnus, was equally thrilled to have them on board. He considers the NWC experience as the "best available anywhere" and viewed the engagement as a "tremendous opportunity" for his staff.
"I highly recommend the U.S. Naval War College," said Sonntag. "[It was] by far the best year in my 30-year career, professionally and personally."
Those in attendance gained a better understanding of the history of Africa, its traditions and legal processes, its economy, and the contemporary challenges unique to the Horn of Africa. They also received an overview of the tools being used in building strategic partnerships. In the final sessions there was a sharing of lessons learned, and a roundtable discussion on the challenges and opportunities for cooperation.
"The material presented was relevant, valuable and insightful, and will be of particular use in the execution of my duties as the CJTF-HOA commander's liaison officer to the U.S. mission to Somalia," said Lt. Cmdr. Tim Tuck.
The event coordinator, Lt. Cmdr. Matt Ahlers agreed, and hopes to continue this type of dialogue in the future.
"It provided a valuable educational opportunity for the staff to gain insight into the bilateral agreements made with other countries," said Ahlers. "We look forward to future events."
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