Kenyan Public Affairs Officers visit JMRC - 100308
Kenyan Public Affairs Officers visit JMRC
HOHENFELS, Germany – Three Kenyan Armed Forces officers recently visited the Joint Multinational Readiness Center to observe U.S. Army public affairs training as the African country’s military leaders work to develop and expand their own public affairs operations.
Lt. Col. Pius Migwi, a Kenyan military staff officer in charge of education, said the primary interactions between the U.S. and Kenyan militaries in the past had focused on military operations. That changed last April when the Kenyan military helped the U.S. set up a public affairs operations center at last year’s Land Forces Symposium in Mombasa, Kenya, where military officials from 23 countries, including senior leaders from U.S. Army Africa, met for the first time in Africa.
Migwi said up to then, the Kenyan Armed Forces had focused on public relations rather than public affairs.
“Public Affairs is a new area we’re trying to get into. We want to promote public affairs and learn from the U.S. Army how they conduct they conduct their business,” Migwi said. “We see it as a new concept we want to get into so we won’t be left behind.”
During their visit at JMRC, Europe’s premier training facility, the Kenyan officers also were given a chance to take part in media training the 2nd Styker Cavalry Regiment Soldiers received during their Mission Rehearsal Exercise.
At the JMRC, not only are soldiers equipped with skills that will help them survive in Afghanistan, they are also given training from the JMRC public affairs staff that will assist them when talking to the media.
Maj. Junel Jeffrey, a planner with U.S. Army Africa who escorted the Kenyans, said the visit to JMRC gave the military officers a bird’s eye of view of how the U.S. military sets up and delivers public affairs training to Soldiers during a mission rehearsal exercise.
“They get a chance to see how the U.S. does it and take that and use it in their own country,” she said.
The Kenyans five-day visit included trips to AFN Bavaria to observe broadcast operations and to Stars and Stripes to observe newspaper news gathering operations, Jeffrey said.
Before arriving at JMRC, Kenyan military sent officers to the Defense Information School in Fort Meade, Maryland, where they completed the school’s Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course, which is a requirement for US military public affairs officers.