Airmen strengthen ties with Kenyan partners during first Nairobi engagement

  • Published
  • By Capt. Anna-Marie Wyant
  • U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

For the first time, U.S. Air Forces Europe-Air Forces Africa and Kenyan Air Force delegations partnered for a historic institutional capacity building engagement in Nairobi, Kenya, Oct. 26-28.

These engagements are bi-lateral, military-to-military, security cooperation events intended to strengthen U.S. strategic partnerships with key countries in Europe and Africa. Through the sharing of ideas, nations aim to enhance regional cooperation and further interoperability.

This engagement was the first time the USAFE-AFAFRICA team traveled to Kenya for this program, marking the beginning of a four-phase program that will strengthen the partnership between the two nations.

“Phase one is designed for us to do the listening,” said Noel Fachi, USAFE-AFAFRICA force development program manager. “We must first understand the Kenyan air force’s mission and desired end state in order for the program to be effective.”

Throughout the week, the U.S. team did just that as the Kenyan delegation shared their current threats and challenges while also explaining their force structure and posture.

“The Kenyan air force is a regional power and a highly professional force,” said Brig. Gen. William Marshall, USAFE-AFAFRICA deputy director of operations, strategic deterrence, and nuclear integration. “Our partnership with them is important for security in the region and our shared interests in the horn of Africa.”

Marshall also expressed how the week was a great opportunity to learn more about each other’s foundational capabilities and opportunities to partner in future endeavors—a sentiment shared by the Kenyan delegation. 

“There is a lot we can collaborate on going forward as we strengthen this relationship,” said Kenyan Air Force Brig. Gen. P. N. Githinji, Kenyan air force deputy commander.  “Before this engagement, a good relationship already existed between the Kenyan Air Force and the U.S. Air Force. This week gives us a better picture of what to expect in the future and what areas to explore more. This engagement will go a long way to further strengthen our relationship.”

The delegations had in-depth discussions on a variety of topics that included organizational structures, manpower requirements, force development models, gender equality and inclusivity initiatives and quality-of-life programs. 

In the program’s second phase, the Kenyan delegation will visit Ramstein to observe the capabilities and processes discussed in Kenya firsthand.

Engagements like this with global partners offer a path toward stabilizing the region and improving the interoperability that makes both forces stronger.

“I really look forward to the next phases—this is just the beginning of a program that I see being of a lot of benefit to the Kenyan Defense Forces and the United States,” Githinji said. “Through collaboration we expect to gain more and work as a team to face the existing threats. We are facing a common enemy and we really need a joint effort.”