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    Second Annual Lake Chad Basin Initiative Cements NAVSCIATTS as Global Training Command

    Second Annual Lake Chad Basin Initiative Cements NAVSCIATTS as Global Training Command

    Photo By Angela Fry | 181119-N-TI567-062 STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – Students from the Naval Small Craft...... read more read more



    Story by Angela Fry 

    Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School

    STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss. – The day starts as any other as two 36-foot patrol vessels make their way along the Mississippi gulf coast on a routine patrol mission, charged with guarding the county’s transportation systems and borders as they cruise past cargo ships, oil tankers and platforms and a multitude of shipping vessels.

    Suddenly, an overhead Cessna 205 radios a warning to the vessels’ two captains, alerting them to a suspicious boat in the area. Using communications and intelligence as well as surveillance and reconnaissance tactics, the aviators are able to vector the patrol craft to the location of the suspicious boat along the 44-mile Mississippi coastline.

    The two patrol craft approach the 11-meter boat, which is flying the flag of an unspecified country, and request a compliant visit, board, search, and seizure; the process used by international law enforcement agencies and militaries regarding maritime boarding actions and tactics.

    While these and similar events happen every day throughout international waterways, this particular incident was completed as part of a final training exercise in support of the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School’s (NAVSCIATTS) 19-1 semester and second annual Lake Chad Basin Initiative (LCBI).

    These training events and other like them also highlight an ongoing evolution of NAVSCIATTS as the schoolhouse continues to build new relationships with other military services and focuses on regional efforts to more effectively bring various countries together.

    “A dream many of us hold at NAVSCIATTS is that this would one day become a joint training command with not only Navy, but representatives of the other military services standing with us on the instructor’s podium,” said Cmdr. John Green during the formal 19-1 graduation ceremony held at the John C. Stennis Space Center. “This semester marked the first time in our 56-year history that partner nation aviators lived on our campus and completed U.S. Air Force training here, provided by instructors from what I hope I can call our sister unit, the airmen of the 6th Special Operations Squadron (SOS).”

    Green continued by explaining that the aviators from the 6th SOS provided communications, warning and vectoring support in real time as partner nation soldiers and marines operated patrol boats during training along the Pearl River and the gulf coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.

    “This exceptionally difficult training objective, one that has been a long-standing goal for all of us, has been achieved and is ready to be brought to the waters and skies of the Lake Chad region,” Green stated in regards to NAVSCIATTS’ annual Lake Chad Basin Initiatives, which features both in-resident training on facilities located at the Stennis Space Center in southern Mississippi and mobile training team
    engagements within the countries of Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

    The inaugural LCBI was held in the fall semester of 2017, focusing on trans-regional threats, building partner capacity and interoperability. This year’s semester was a continuation of the in-resident training, with more than 90 percent of the students coming from countries located within the embattled region of west-central Africa. With the area’s primary language being French, NAVSCIATTS once again used partner nation interpreters and instructors from Belgium, France, Canada and NAVSCIATTS’ first permanent partner nation instructor from Cameroon, Lt. Jean Yves Mendoua.

    “This semester NAVSCIATTS instructor ranks were strengthened by partner nation instructors from BELSOF, CANSOF, FRASOF and our permanent staff member from Cameroon,” said Green, who has served as a Navy SEAL for more than 19 years. “You and our NATO allies have made the dream of this command as a truly international training command a reality.”

    Along with partner nation instructors and interpreters, observers from the United Kingdom Royal Marines participated as role players in a surveillance and reconnaissance insertion exercise along the Pearl River during NAVSCIATTS Patrol Craft Officer – Riverine course. The role of opposition forces was played by commandos from the Royal Netherlands Army Korps Commandotroepen (KTC) who are training on Stennis facilities in support of Operation Green Salamander. NAVSCIATTS incorporated interoperability into the final training exercise in a simulated casualty evacuation mission that also used rotary air evacuation support from Oschner Medical Center in Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.

    A large number of dignitaries, both national and international, attended the LCBI graduation, to include Brig. Gen. Eba Eba Bede Benoit, Cameroon; and representatives from U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, U.S. Special Operations Command North, Naval Special Warfare Command, the command element from Belgian Special Forces Group, and the Dutch KCT.

    With growing interest in NAVSCIATT’S’ globally-shaped initiatives, Ambassador Dan Mozena, the U.S. Department of State's senior coordinator on Boko Haram, served as a guest speaker during the graduation event. Mozena, who has worked African affairs for more than 18 years, stressed the value of each security force professional graduating from their respective courses.

    “Boko Haram has left more than 2.6 million people with no homes… tens of thousands have been killed by them… thousands more have been kidnapped and over 10 million people in the wonderful Lake Chad region are dependent on humanitarian assistance,” Mozena explained in his passionate speech to the more than 200 people in attendance. “In short, these terrorists are monsters; monsters who must be stopped. I believe that you from Niger and you from Cameroon and you from Chad... you are the key to defeating these terrorists.”

    Mozena said that although securing the Lake Chad region from the terrorism of Boko Haram is a difficult challenge, training and dedication to the mission will ultimately bring peace to the region.

    “With the quality training you have received here, and with the mud boats and other equipment that you are receiving there in your homes, you are building the capacity to take the fight to the terrorists,” he said. “Your efforts will deny the terrorists their safe havens. You will deny them their training camps, which they have on the islands. As you advance against these terrorists, your governments will then have the challenge to fill in behind you, to hold this territory and make it secure.”

    “Once peace returns... once civilian security is assured… only then can the people return to their homes on the islands of Lake Chad, he continued. “Only then can they return to fishing and other economic activities. Only then can the people, your fellow citizens, start to rebuild their lives.”

    Col-Maj. Moussa Barmou, chief of Nigerien Special Forces, also stressed the importance of continued training and partnerships in order to defeat Boko Haram.

    “In the wake of the Boko Haram attacks on Niger in early 2015, we have requested the assistance of the United States of America in providing us with the capacities to project ourselves in the islands of Lake Chad where Al Barnawi’s faction of Boko Haram, the Islamic State in West Africa, has established sanctuaries,” he said. “Ever since, they have excelled in conducting complex attacks against Multi-National Joint Task Force outposts and the civilian population in the area and have withdrawn to the islands.”

    “The Lake Chad Basin Initiative is gradually providing us with the capacity of projecting ourselves in the islands, but I have to mention that there is still a lot to be done,” the 25-year military veteran continued. “We need to acquire more boats to be able to project decisive forces. But I also want to stress the fact that we will achieve success only if we operate jointly with the respective countries affected by Boko Haram terrorist activities.”

    Barmou closed his remarks by stressing what NAVSCIATTS claims as one of its most important objectives: building and maintaining relationships.

    “It is a wonderful opportunity that you are having to get to know each other before you could actually meet one day on the battlefield, he said. “You should capitalize on the quality of the training you received, the friendships you made and maintain this bond over time. You are now brothers-in-arms and should be very proud of what you have accomplished so far. I congratulate you for all your efforts and wish you the best in your future endeavors.”

    The 19-1 semester featured almost 60 students from Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Iraq, Malaysia, Niger, Saint Vincent and Grenadines, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. The courses of instruction included: International Small Arms Maintenance, International Tactical Communications Course, Outboard Motor Maintenance and Overhaul, Patrol Craft Officer Coastal and Riverine courses, Technical Welding and Applied Repairs, Unit Logistics and Supply, Range Operations and Safety, and Instructor Development.

    NAVSCIATTS is a Naval Special Warfare Command operating under U.S. Special Operations Command in support of Foreign Security Assistance and Geographic Combatant Commanders’ Theater Security Cooperation priorities. To date, more than 12,000 security force professionals from 120 partner nations have trained with the international training command.



    Date Taken: 12.01.2018
    Date Posted: 12.10.2018 12:37
    Story ID: 302826

    Web Views: 731
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