RSLAF to Join State Partnership Program with Michigan National Guard & Liberia

Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF).jpg

By Amin Kef Sesay

The Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF) is set to become a new member of the State Partnership Program, strengthening the existing alliance between the Michigan National Guard and the Armed Forces of Liberia. Michigan and Liberia have been collaborating under the SPP since 2009.

U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, Michigan National Guard Adjutant General, expressed optimism about the expansion, stating, “Welcoming Sierra Leone to our partnership in West Africa will provide new opportunities to address security challenges through a trilateral approach. Michigan sees this as a new chapter in the history of one incredibly meaningful regional partnership.”

Initiated in 1993 with 13 partners, the SPP now encompasses over 100 nations, facilitating civil-military cooperation to support defence and security objectives globally.

Lt. Gen. Peter Lavahun, RSLAF Chief of Defence Staff, affirmed, “This partnership will strengthen defence, security cooperation and will address lingering security challenges in the West African sub-region and the Gulf of Guinea.”

Michigan and Liberia have collaborated extensively over the past 15 years on various fronts, including rule of law familiarization, non commissioned officer professional development, medical readiness and disease control.

Brig. Gen. Davidson Forleh, AFL Chief of Staff, emphasized the success of the State Partnership Program for Liberia, expressing eagerness to continue the collaboration with Michigan alongside Sierra Leone.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer highlighted Michigan’s longstanding involvement in the program, stressing the importance of reaffirming commitment to existing partnerships while forging new ones with Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone, located west of Liberia in coastal West Africa, shares linguistic and historical ties with its neighbour. Both countries endured devastating civil wars during the 1990s and early 2000s.

U.S. Ambassador to Sierra Leone Bryan Hunt underscored the significance of Sierra Leone’s partnership with the U.S. in addressing regional security challenges, noting that the SPP will enhance the professionalization of the RSLAF and promote bilateral security cooperation.

An official signing ceremony for Sierra Leone’s SPP membership is scheduled for late 2024.



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