ISG-Article - Institute for Security Governance
ISG Prepares the 2-135th Infantry Battalion for Horn of Africa Force Protection Mission via Remote Learning
ISG conducted an online seminar for the 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, 34th Division (Minnesota Army National Guard) from the 14-15 May 2020. The event was specifically designed to prepare the battalion for an upcoming mission in the Horn of Africa by providing insight from ISG’s regional experts and facilitating a productive dialogue among participants.
The 2-135th Infantry Battalion (2-135th IN) will deploy to conduct security operations, force protection, and provide security force assistance as a support to the Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) mission. Many participants attending the online seminar had limited to no experience in the region; which is adjacent to critical sea lanes, hosts the only U.S. military base in the continent, and contains several critical regional peace and stability missions. ISG’s efforts—among others—will play a critical role in ensuring that the battalion is prepared to work with military forces of partners, the U.S. government interagency, and to respond to crises within the CJTF-HOA area of operation.
Jessie Evans, ISG Regional Program Lead, actively shared insights from her extensive experience in the Horn of Africa with seminar participants. She played a key role in the seminar, effectively contextualizing information that guest academic faculty presented on conflicts, armed rebel groups, global power competition, and US regional interests. In addition, Ms. Evans highlighted ISG’s continuing bi-lateral engagement with Djibouti and reflected on her experience as a security sector reform advisor to the US Mission to Somalia. Ms. Evans was also a featured faculty member at the ISG-led 2-113th HOA seminar in 2019 and has worked closely with the Commander of 2-113th, LTC Rich Karcher in supporting the ongoing CJTF-HOA mission.
ISG also invited academic experts to contribute to the online seminar, including Dr. Ken Menkhaus, Chair and Professor of Political Science at Davidson College, and Dr. Michael Woldemariam from Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies. Both provided excellent commentary on key regional topics such as violent extremist groups; the flow of refugees, money and militants through ungoverned spaces; and how the HOA is being shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, the interests of other regional actors, global power competition, and foreign military presence in Africa.
Seminar participants remarked that the session and follow-on discussions were helpful as they continue preparations for their upcoming mission. ISG will a remain a resource for the 2-135th IN and looks forward to continued engagement.