AFAF Deepens Ties with Kenyan Air Force

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Hannah Durbin
  • U.S. Air Forces in Europe - Air Forces Africa Public Affairs

An eight-member U.S. Air Forces Europe – Air Forces Africa team facilitated an institutional capability building engagement alongside the Kenyan Air Force in Nairobi, Kenya, April 25-28.

The institutional capacity building program strengthens USAFE-AFAFRICA’s relationships with allies and partners like Kenya by providing a platform for sharing ideas and best practices to enhance essential capabilities.

“This week was very fruitful for all participants […] seeing everything from public affairs to welfare programs has me thinking on how to improve some of our programs and better support our members,” said Col Catherine Lagat, KAF Chief of Personnel. “I’m looking forward to future cooperation and the betterment of both institutions.”

Throughout the week, AFAF and KAF members participated in valuable exchanges on topics such as Agile Combat Employment, enlisted force development, the first sergeant program, public affairs and information warfare, veteran’s affairs, force structure, and various welfare and resiliency programs.

“Kenya is a critical, willing, and capable partner on the continent,” said Col Beth Lane, USAFE-AFAFRICA International Affairs Division Chief and Association of African Air Forces Secretary General. “Institutional capacity building engagements move us along the continuum of ‘informed, interoperable, and integrated.’ Together, these engagements are improving both our air forces.”

Kenya is in phase three of the institutional capacity building program. Phase one of the program launched in October 2021; its focus is listening to the partner force to identify key areas for future cooperation. In March 2022, a Kenyan Defence Force delegation traveled to Ramstein Air Base, Germany, for phase two to further that cooperation through subject matter expert-led discussions and the direct observation of operational processes.

“Phase three is where the rubber really starts to hit the road,” said Noel Fachi, AFAFRICA’s institutional capacity building program manager. “This program is unique because you have leaders from both forces actively participating in workshops and passionate discussions focused on making each other better and developing important programs. The relationships built through the back-and-forth dialogue are invaluable.”

The exchanges that underpin the institutional capacity building program will better equip both the U.S. and KDF in their concurrent fights against terrorism. Several thousand KDF members are actively fighting Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Meanwhile, U.S. service members are conducting counterterrorism operations from Cooperative Security Location Manda Bay in Lamu county, Kenya.

In June, AFAF is scheduled to return to Kenya for an African Partnership Flight, a multi-lateral military-to-military engagement and security assistance event intended to enhance regional cooperation. June’s APF will facilitate the sharing of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief best practices among eight African partners.

USAFE-AFAFRICA conducts institutional capacity building missions across 15 countries in Europe and Africa to empower ally and partner nations through the development of foundational capabilities and enduring relationships.