Remarks by U.S. Embassy Defense and Army Attaché Lieutenant Colonel Erick Jordan during the Zambia Battalion V Opening Ceremony

Remarks by U.S. Embassy Defense and Army Attaché
Lieutenant Colonel Erick Jordan
Zambia Battalion V Opening Ceremony
Nanking Peace Mission Training Center, Lusaka, Zambia
February 11, 2019

It is a great honor to represent the United States Department of Defense this morning on the occasion of the start of pre-deployment training for the fifth Zambia Battalion—ZAMBATT V—which will deploy to the United Nations MINUSCA peacekeeping operation in Central African Republic starting June of this year.

The United States is proud to have provided financial and technical support for all previous ZAMBATT pre-deployment training for MINUSCA.  The total dollar value of U.S. support to Zambia for the current training effort is approximately one half million U.S. dollars, but the ultimate value of the training and equipment is priceless, due to the lives that will be saved and changed for the better through the impact ZAMBATT V in the mission area.

I congratulate His Excellency President LUNGU; Minister of Defense CHAMA; Army Commander, Lieutenant General SIKAZWE; Air Force Commander, Lieutenant General MUMA; and indeed, all members of Zambia Defense Forces for your continued and demonstrated resolve to support the United Nations peacekeeping mission in CAR.

To all Zambian Defense personnel comprising ZAMBATT V, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel TEMBO, I wish you stamina and determination as you embark on a rigorous and comprehensive ten-week pre-deployment training program here at Nanking Peace Mission Training Center.

For 930 Zambian service members to prepare to assume responsibility from ZAMBATT 4—in a remote, austere, and difficult environment—is no easy task.  However, I am confident that under the leadership and guidance of the PMTC Commandant, Colonel CHANGALA, the men and women of ZAMBATT V will be up to the task of mastering all the training they complete here over the next two and-a-half months.

For Zambia Army and Air Force personnel who completed the Training-of-Trainers course last Friday—you commenced two weeks ahead of the start of battalion-wide training.  By completing this course, you are now fully prepared to instruct a total of 28 United Nations Core Pre-Deployment Training modules to all personnel comprising ZAMBATT V.

At the conclusion of ZAMBATT V training, the men and women assembled before us will be tested in a comprehensive and rigorous Field Training Exercise—or FTX.  This exercise will require you to apply the skills and knowledge in which you have been trained, in the most realistic training environment possible that could just as well be in the Central African Republic.  It behooves all of you to prepare thoroughly for the FTX and take this culminating exercise seriously, as it will prepare you to embark on your upcoming mission.

As with all past U.S.-supported training here at Nanking, this program will prepare you to support the United Nations’ MINUSCA mandate. This includes: Protection of Civilians; Child Protection; Promotion and Protection of Human Rights; Prevention of Conflict-Related Sexual Violence, and Creation of a secure environment for the immediate, full, safe, and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance.

By fulfilling this mandate, you will be able to return to Zambia—proud to have achieved an important mission in a tough environment—and equally proud to have built upon the reputation of those who served before you, and who established Zambia as a contributor of a capable, highly respected, and proficient peacekeeping force.  It bears mention that MINUSCA Force Commander, LTG KEITA, recently recognized ZAMBATT 4 with a Special Commendation in which he stated:

I commend ZAMBATT for planning and conducting praise worth CIMIC activities, and express my gratitude to Zambian authorities for their generous support … I would like to urge upon all contingents to continue the same upholding of the MINUSCA mandate.

This is quite a remarkable achievement, and one that all Zambians should rightfully be very proud. It is also the outcome of the partnership forged here last year for the first time between the Zambia Defense Force and the Combined, Joint training team, in which the United States Department of Defense is proudly a part. As was the case last year, U.S. DoD uniformed, civilian, and contractor trainers have joined ranks with eight uniformed trainers from the British Peace Support Team-Africa, led by Major Andrew HOLSGROVE. The uniformed Allied training and advisory team this past weekend doubled in size with the arrival of U.S. Army personnel from the 101st Airborne Division out of Fort Campbell, Kentucky. And it will double once more in early March with the arrival of 18 trainers from the Indian Ocean-based French Defense forces from La Rèunion, that will be led by LTC STRIFFLING.

As we assemble here this morning at the onset of ZAMBATT V training, it is also the time to start laying the groundwork for Allied support to Nanking PMTC for ZAMBATT 6 and beyond. As the PMTC reaches Full Training Capability, U.S. future assistance will rightfully evolve into more of an advisory role. Our future support may include additional assistance for infrastructure projects such as the PMTC barracks structures.  However, this continued support depends of having detailed inputs with ample lead-time.

In closing, I wish again to thank all Zambia Ministry of Defense and Defense Force authorities for partnering with the United States and Allied partners to build a more secure and prosperous future for the people of Central African Republic, or wherever you may be called upon to serve in the region in peacekeeping operations.

Lieutenant Colonel TEMBO, I am confident you are prepared to lead ZAMBATT V through the upcoming training program, and will capably lead the men and women under your command once in the mission area. I wish all men and women of ZAMBATT V an effective preparation for deployment.  God speed to you all.