MDF Commander visits the Pentagon to discuss global security challenges

MDF Commander visits the Pentagon to discuss global security challenges
MDF Commander visits the Pentagon to discuss global security challenges

Africa-Press – Malawi. In an act of solidarity and in pursuance of a quality bilateral relationship, the Office of the Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff of the United States Armed Forces invited the Commander of the Malawi Defence Force (MDF) General Dr. Paul Velentino Phiri for a courtesy call at the Pentagon in Virginia, United States of America (USA) last week amid global security challenges.

General Phiri’s visit to the Pentagon, set against the backdrop of ongoing global security challenges, was a significant gesture of the enduring partnership between the Malawi Defence Force and the United States Armed Forces.

The discussions focused on various aspects of military cooperation, with Phiri expressing gratitude for the United States’ continued support

Making his presentation at the Pentagon on Tuesday February 20th, 2024, General Dr. Phiri underscored the importance of the cordial relationship between the two-Armed Forces and expressed his appreciation for the support Washington has been giving the Malawi Defence Force.

Further, General Phiri laid out his vision of the MDF and how the United States can support the execution of this mission

Among the issues that General Phiri presented included the need to build the capacity and capability of the Malawi Defence Force in operationalisation of the quadri-service, and comprehensive disaster management, including the establishment of early warning and early response systems.

The Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Christopher Grady, appreciated General Phiri’s vision and philosophy and assured him of continued support.

Admiral Grady, who is the second highest-ranking military officer in the United States Armed Forces, underlined the need for upholding the rule of law, accountability, and civilian control of the military.

Admiral Grady commended the professionalism that the Malawi Defence Force has displayed and Malawi’s contribution to peacekeeping, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At the Pentagon, General Phiri was accompanied by Malawi’s Defence Advisor to Washington DC, Brigadier General Philip Prince Nyamali and his colleague, Brigadier General George Warwick Phiri.

Partnership with North Carolina National Guard

Later, the Defence Force Commander met General Daniel Hokanson, the Chief of the United States National Guard, and Major General Todd Hunt, the Adjutant General of the North Carolina National Guard.

The two Generals discussed matters of mutual interest between the Malawi Defence Force and the North Carolina National Guard, which has been partnered with the country in a State Partnership Programme (SPP) together with Zambia.

The SPP is a Department of Defence security cooperation initiative, managed and administered by the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, executed by the Global Combatant Commanders such as the US Africa Command (AFRICOM).

The US secretary of defence is authorised through the SPP to support Washington’s security cooperation objectives between North Carolina and the Malawi Defence Force. The partnership of Malawi with North Carolina is the most recent one.

The two entities share common interests including maritime security and economic growth. North Carolina National Guard and the Malawi Defence Force will explore how the latter can contribute to agricultural development, which is the backbone of the country’s economy.

The signing ceremony of the partnership will take place in April this year in Lilongwe.

Operationalisation of the National Defence College

General Dr. Phiri was in the United States on a benchmarking exercise for the operationalisation of the country’s National Defence College (NDC).

The mission of the NDC is to train strategic leaders and conduct research, analysis, and strategic gaming to support the defence and security requirements of Malawi and other allied nations including regional and subregional bodies.

The NDC aims at training senior military and government officials drawn mainly from strategic Ministries, Departments and Agencies.

The NDC will also be open to foreign course participants on the continent. The NDC training focus on a broader dimension of national and global security at a strategic level aimed at developing and improving the intellectual capacity of this target group.

Without its own Defence College, Malawi has been sending senior officers abroad for strategic studies.

The initiative of the Defence Force to establish its own college will save public funds and benefit senior military officers and government officials to pursue tailor-made courses locally.

Meanwhile, the NDC has taken a shallow end approach by starting with executive courses, symposia, and research.

The flagship NDC course will be inaugurated after completion of the benchmarking exercise.

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