Strengthening Networks In East Africa

I was recently invited to present at Theater Security Cooperation workshop hosted by Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Regional Engagements Branch at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti.

The Task Force is attempting to better understand its relationships with partner nations (and their militaries), non-Department of Defense US Government organizations, NonGovernmental Organizations (NGOs), as well as other organizations operating in, and around the East Africa region. The workshop was designed to improve integration between the Security Cooperation Teams at US Embassies and the CJTF-HOA staff.

CJTF-HOA African Theater Security Cooperation Workshop
Specifically, the staff would like to designate a desired state in which the CJTF is less central to the security cooperation network and the regional partners take more of a leadership role. During the conference, I presented a scenario in which network analysis techniques could help the staff better understand the current situation, build a desired end state model, and then identify the type of local engagements that strengthen the network. This “strengthening” includes the evolution to a more distributed network than the one that currently exists.

While at the workshop, I participated in country-specific working groups in order to better understand the process and then developed a proposed way-ahead that would better integrate the country specific events into a more cohesive regional effort. My suggestions were met favorably and the Network Science Center will continue our relationship with the CJTF staff. In fact, in the upcoming months, we will assist in the development of a prototype model and methodology to improve the Theater Security Cooperation planning process.

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The Network Science Center (NSC) brings together service members, civilians, and cadets to research and develop significant contributions in the study of network representations of physical, biological, and social phenomena leading to predictive models. The NSC is a thought-leader in this emerging discipline and addresses Army-specific and related Network Science challenges. The NSC also provides relevant educational opportunities for current and future Army leaders.