For the first time in over a decade, the US Defense Attaché (DAO) Office in Dar es Salaam, the East Africa Special Operations Conference (EASOC) initiative has provided the DAO with the first real opportunity to engage senior officers of the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) in discussions of regional security.
The Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) co-hosted the ‘East Africa Special Operations Conference’ in Zanzibar recently to provide a forum for each of the participants to share their unique perspectives in an effort to strengthen the collective effort to combat shared threats.
The theme of the conference was “Capable Special Operations Forces for the Challenges of Tomorrow” and the military representatives of the participating nations came together to discuss lessons learned from each nation’s experience and perspective. Participants from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Seychelles, Somalia, Tanzania and Uganda took part in the conference.
Across East Africa, the use of Special Operations Forces (SOF) as a means to enhance the local forces capability to protect their civilians is a growing trend. Each nation has a unique mission and purpose for its SOF component and no two are alike.
However, SOF in nearly every nation share a common set of experiences as they continue to grow and develop their individual capacities.
SOCAFRICA is the Special Operations component of US Africa Command and works as part of an integrated theater strategy to combat terrorism and advance US Africa Command’s strategic objectives.
In 2009, President Barack Obama said during a speech in Accra, Ghana that, in the long term, it is Africans who are best able to address African security challenges. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton echoed this comment in 2012, when she said that global problems need African solutions—and African contributions as well.