The collaboration between the US and Malawi started in 2021.
Last week, the US Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), the US 7th Army Training Command Combined Arms Training Center, and the 7th Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy collaborated in efforts to elevate the Malawi Defence Force’s noncommissioned officer (NCO) curriculum. The joint initiative, unfolding at the Malawi Armed Forces College in Salima, marks the third event in a series aimed at fostering a robust partnership.
The collaboration started in 2021 and is characterized by SETAF Public Affairs as an initiative “spearheaded by the Office of Security Cooperation in Lilongwe and Malawian Defense Forces Headquarters (MDFHQ) to expand collaboration between MDFHQ and U.S. non-commissioned officers. The current event, the third in the series, is focused on providing a co-developed curriculum that will assist the Malawian Defense Forces in creating well-rounded NCOs.”
Significant strides have been made in the Malawi Armed Forces College’s course offerings since the programme’s inception in 2014. SETAF’s Public Affairs Office explained that “Malawian Armed Forces College offers various officer and enlisted development courses, including the Sergeants Major Course, Platoon Sergeant Course, and Cadet Training Course. It also features various individual speciality courses such as Physical Training Instructors Course, Cadre Development Course, and other functional areas.” These developments underscore the commitment to enhancing institutional capacity and professional military instruction, serving as a testament to the dedication of both the US and Malawi to building effective partnerships and achieving shared security goals.
For example, Horace Kamphinda, a commanding officer stationed at the headquarters of the Malawi Armed Forces College (MAFCO) in Salima, Malawi, witnessed a class conducted for soldiers of the Malawi Defence Force on 8 November 2023. This initiative aims to modernize the curriculum for noncommissioned officers, fostering NCO instructor development, and enhancing partner capabilities at MAFCO.
SETAF clarified that the 7th Army Training Command’s involvement is a logical extension of US Army Europe and Africa’s (USAREUR-AF) responsibilities. “As the Army command responsible for both Europe and Africa, it was a natural progression for US Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) to seek out training opportunities with partner nations in Africa,” SETAF elaborated. “U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) is the command inside of USAREUR-AF responsible for waking up every day thinking about Africa. 7th Army Training Command is part of USAREUR-AF, so it is logical that they would assist in training African partners.”
While the current focus is on supporting Malawian Defense Forces instructors, this pioneering programme aims to further develop basic and advanced NCO training courses at the Malawi Armed Forces College. Since its inception in 2014, the collaboration has borne fruit, aligning the Malawian academy’s structure with that of The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Notably, the Malawian academy’s inaugural course in 2014 has produced over 240 African sergeant majors from 18 African countries, underscoring the programme’s success in building partner capacity and strengthening enlisted development. US-Malawi defence leaders view the ongoing collaboration as a testament to the United States’ commitment to fostering enduring partnerships and enhancing regional security.
Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based White House Correspondent, and media commentator with expertise in US foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe