UPDF steps up efforts to Improve Civil-Military Relations; Develop a special Syllabus for trainees

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UPDF officers with facilitators from US at a workshop in Kampala

The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) in partnership with facilitators from the Joint Special Operations University from the United States of America (USA) has developed a Civil-Military Cooperation (CIMIC) syllabus that will guide efforts to improve relations between UPDF officers and civilians.

The syllabus will be incorporated in all training manuals for the different training schools and Colleges of UPDF.

The syllabus, has been developed by a team of UPDF senior instructors attending the Civil-Military Basic Phase 1V Course organized in partnership with the US government, held at Rivonia Suites in Kampala from 23rd to 27th Sept 2019.

The developed syllabus covers a range of topics including among others; introduction to CIMIC, its core functions, principles, duties and responsibilities, communication, Law of armed conflict, and terms of female engagement.

Representatives from different UPDF units and formations also participated in the workshop.

In his remarks, while presiding over the closing ceremony of the Basic Course, the UPDF Chief of Training and Recruitment (CTR) Brig James Kinalwa noted that conflicts have changed faces, no longer have front-lines, and are not visible; thus necessitating the training to transform forces to suit the demands of the situation.

He added that UPDF puts humanitarian considerations at the fore of all its engagements since it’s a pro-people force.

“The UPDF’s umbilical cord are the civilians and this syllabus is a great milestone in the professionalization of UPDF,” he said, adding that how UPDF relates with civilians matters most.

He called for the need to have a CIMIC officer at all the different Command levels to identify, assess and coordinate the humanitarian factor before any engagement.

Brig Kinalwa hailed the US Government for supporting UPDF in building capacity and professionalism.

The CTR pledged to support the implementation of the newly developed syllabus and called upon CIMIC officers to behave rationally and show commitment.

Maj Miller, on behalf of the American Ambassador to Uganda H.E Deborah Malac, explained the importance of supporting CIMIC operations for the success of any engagement. He said UPDF CIMIC operations are already on record within Uganda and Somalia, saying this must never stop but rather be improved and strengthened through training and the creation of a special CIMIC program.

He however encouraged participants to design a CIMIC syllabus that is in tandem with the UPDF doctrine.

The UPDF Deputy Chief of CIMIC operations Col Nelson Aheebwa on behalf of the Chief of CIMIC Brig Innocent Oula commended both the UPDF leadership and US Government for identifying the training gap and addressing it.

In his speech, Brig Oula noted that the situation is always changing and forces should be adaptive.

“Using soft power capability strengthens our relationship with the people. This is work in progress evidenced by the need for a needs assessment before any engagement,” he noted.

The chief instructor from the Joint Special Operations University, Ken La Voy, thanked participants for their zeal to learn and urged them to practice and harmonize what they have learnt with what they already know. The workshop climaxed with the award of certificates to all participants.

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