US, Kenyan officials assess military relationship


US and Kenyan defense officials met at the Pentagon on 4 May to strengthen the bilateral relationship between the countries and look for new ways to increase defense cooperation.

Celeste Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international affairs, met with Kenya Cabinet Secretary of Defense Eugene L Wamalwa and Kenya Army General Robert K Kibochi, the chief of the Kenya defense forces, for the US-Kenya Bilateral Defense Forum in the Pentagon.

The talks reaffirmed the two countries’ commitment to strengthening bilateral defense cooperation between the Defense Department and the Kenya Ministry of Defense and Kenya Defense Forces, officials said at the conclusion of the meeting.

The two sides discussed a range of topics, including regional security, cybersecurity and security cooperation as well as the mission of US Africa Command and status of the partnership program between Kenya and the Massachusetts National Guard, the US Department of Defence said.

“US military forces have worked closely with Kenyan forces for years. Kenya was a member of the African Union Mission in Somalia and now works there in the new African Union Transition Mission. US personnel served as advisers to the mission in Somalia and helped with logistics and communications for the peacekeeping force,” the DoD stated.

Kenyan service members have participated in many US Africa Command exercises and served alongside American troops in UN operations.

Kenyan officials were among those in attendance at the Ukraine Security Consultative Group meeting at Ramstein Air Base in Germany — one of four African nations to attend the meeting of more than 40 nations.

US and Kenya defense officials intend to continue a strong partnership going forward, including the next iteration of the US-Kenya Bilateral Defense Forum, officials said in a written release.