Angola and US co-host 2023 intelligence conference, address terror threats

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The recently concluded four-day 2023 Directors of Military Intelligence Conference (DMIC) in Angola brought together military intelligence leaders from around Africa to discuss the growing threat of terrorist organizations such as al-Shabaab and ISIS on the continent.

Co-hosted by the Angola Military Intelligence and Security Service and the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), the conference aimed to foster cooperation and strengthen partnerships to address the complex security challenges facing African nations.

General João Pereira Massano, head of Angola’s military intelligence, emphasized the importance of collaboration and technical capabilities in combating terrorism. Speaking at the closing ceremony in Luanda, General Massano stated, “Alone we are condemned to fail. If we intend to win, we must cooperate, be united, be technically capable, and with the right precision, we will succeed.”

This year’s DMIC, held from 25 to 28 April, was double the length of similar regional iterations held in 2018 and 2019. Although AFRICOM does not, justifiably, disclose the list of participants for operational reasons, the combatant command confirmed to defenceWeb that there were representatives from all regions of the African continent.

Deputy director of Intelligence and US Army Brigadier General Rose Keravuori was the keynote speaker at the 2023 DMIC. “US AFRICOM does not offer any nation an us-or-them ultimatum, we are here to stay and fill a role in Africa’s modernization,” Kevavouri said, reiterating the stance of AFRICOM Commander US Marine Corps General Michael Langley.

The DMIC, said AFRICOM, “reflects the geopolitical significance of Africa to the US.” While individual countries have their own interests, the growth of terrorist groups has made a forum such as a multilateral DMIC serve as a valuable way for “strong partnerships foster open dialogue between the US, and both with, and among, our African partners to provide long-term strategic alliances needed to address current and future challenges such as increased risk from violent extremists, climate change, economic instability, and corruption,” a senior AFRICOM spokesperson told defenceWeb on 11 May. “

We organize these events to help bring together intelligence officials from across the region to meet and both multilateral and regionally focused discussions,” said the spokesperson.

“These sorts of forums are crucial to strengthening and expanding relationships and to learn how to better work together to achieve shared goals including the disruption, degradation and neutralization of violent extremist organizations,” said a senior AFRICOM spokesperson, in explaining to defenceWeb about the rationality of the DMIC events since inception.

Points of discussion and debate in Luanda were on the impact of climate change on the security environment, implementing a ‘whole-of-society’ approach to addressing security issues, and a look at how partners view emerging security issues, a senior AFRICOM spokesperson said. “There was also time set aside for regionally focused discussions between partners,” the AFRICOM spokesperson added.

AFRICOM has been hosting military intelligence conferences since 2018, including in Stuttgart, Germany and in Washington, DC. In addition to these, a DMIC event was hosted in 2018 by the Nigeria Defence Intelligence Agency to combat Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. In 2019, 17 countries were hosted by the East African Directors of Military Intelligence, in Ghana. This year’s DMIC, with the participation of 29 countries, is the largest.

Pearl Matibe is a Washington, DC-based foreign correspondent, and media commentator with expertise on US foreign policy and international security. You may follow her on Twitter: @PearlMatibe