Meeting of Eastern Africa Defense, Security Council in Nairobi

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Addis Ababa, 20 February 2014 (WIC) - The 15th Session of the Committee of the Defense and Security Council of Eastern Africa held in Nairobi last week (February 13-15) ended on Saturday.

The meeting agreed to prioritize investment in modern methods of intelligence gathering to help forestall the eruptions of conflict in the region.

The Defense Chiefs agreed that poor early warning systems were partly to blame for conflict and general insecurity, and that some of the recent conflicts might have been avoided if they had acted more promptly.

“We need to invest in early warning to forestall chaos” said General Wamala, Uganda’s Chief of Defense Forces. Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of Defense, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, the guest of honor, expressed her appreciation to the commitment of the defense chiefs and reiterated the need for the East African Standby Forces to become a credible tool for regional peace and security.

The current Chair of the Committee of Eastern Africa Chiefs of Defense, General Julius Karangi, Chief Kenya’s Defense Forces, emphasized the responsibility of the Chiefs of Defense to oversee the programs and activities of the EASF, and encouraged them to address all challenges that might slow down the EASF’s preparations for Full Operational Capability, due next year.

He noted that the EASF Technical team sent to Somalia under AMISOM in early 2010 so far remained the only action taken by EASF in support of peace support operations, and said much more needed to be done before EASF could realistically deploy in any more demanding situation.

The situation in South Sudan underlined the urgency for operationalization of the EASF. He highlighted the need to consider the implementation of Rapid Deployment Capabilities, and to chart a way forward after achieving Full Operational Capability on the basis of the recommendation in the Report on the Strategic Review of EASF.

The Eastern Africa Standby Force represents the Eastern Africa Region, one of five regions of the African Peace and Security Architecture.

Active members are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, the signatories to the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the Eastern Africa Standby Force; South Sudan has had observer status since April 2013.