Workshop strengthens Mali military engineers


The Mali Military Base Design and Operational Energy Workshop, co-hosted by U.S. Africa Command’s Environmental Security Office and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was held Aug. 3-7, in Bamako, Mali.

The workshop was conducted with senior Mali Military leadership to support the development of a template for a standardized, enduring 600-1000 person military installation. The major objective of the workshop was to strengthen the skills, competencies, and abilities of the Malian military engineers to design and construct base camps.

The U.S. team, which included personnel from the AFRICOM’s Environmental Security and Command Surgeon offices, USACE, and the Dept. of Defense Expeditionary Energy and Sustainment Systems, visited the 33rd Parachutes Airborne Regiment installation in Bamako in order to assess existing Mali camp conditions. During the tour, the base commander emphasized that his primary concern was the establishment of sanitation and waste management systems in medical and living facilities to improve the health and welfare of soldiers and their family members.
“The significance of incorporating medical aspects into base camp design is to ensure the health of the force,” said Army Lt. Col. Sueann Ramsey, AFRICOM Force Health Protection Branch chief.

Following two days of intense training focused on the environmental and health aspect of base planning, the students participated in a design exercise utilizing their newly obtained knowledge to review the USACE-developed base design template and provide their input.

More than 15 stakeholders participated in the training, which was opened by Col.-Maj. Nana Traore, director of Malian military engineers. The participants included the Special Advisor to the President, Engineers from 33rd and 34th Brigades, architects from the Ministry of Defense, and physicians from the Medical Corps. The classroom training focused on the benefits of relevant energy, water, health, and waste management designs and resulted in enthusiastic debate.
“The reason we participate in these workgroups is to develop new partnerships and to assist with capacity building focused on environmental and health aspects of security,” said Jeffrey Andrews, AFRICOM environmental security chief.

The AFRICOM Environmental Security program, in concert with international partners and U.S. government agencies including the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Engineer Research and Development Center, participates in environmental engagements to promote a stable and secure African environment by capacity building within partner African nations in support of U.S. foreign policy. Facilitation of these events is key to identifying on-going initiatives and programs that AFRICOM and its partners can leverage for further capacity-building efforts on the continent.
“The event was a valuable opportunity to provide the Malian military the skill set required to design base camps to meet their specific mission requirements,” said Army Col. Robert Hailey, USACE liaison to AFRICOM. “Involving multiple decision makers and capabilities is crucial when designing base camps.”