U.S. Army Africa officers mentoring in Ethiopia


Mentorship in Ethiopia offers low cost, high impact benefits

By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – After spending a year mentoring Ethiopian officers, Lt. Col. Randy Torno jumped at the chance to extend his tour – remaining in the role he calls the most rewarding job he’s ever done.

Now he’s tackling his second year at the Ethiopian Defense Command and Staff College (EDCSC), a program that serves as a model for U.S. Army Africa partnership on the continent.

“With a small investment, the salary of a few colonels, this type of engagement is having a profound effect on the capability of our Ethiopian partners,” Torno said. “We’re making a difference by helping Ethiopians shape the future of their professional military.”

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2 responses to “U.S. Army Africa officers mentoring in Ethiopia

  1. Juan Rodriguez

    I was asked about our right to impose our values concerning domestic violence in other countries. While it is true that imposing one’s values on a nation’s peoples might be counterproductive in the short term, but as a culture with knowledge of human rights and stability, interjection is our only means to change such clouded norms. Unchecked, these norms will not only create greater disparity but a heritage with lineage to a greater consequence, an idea to their youth that sends a message of acceptance of such brutality. As one nation, we simply cannot change the people, we must also change institutions. As I quote President Obama’s speech on President Kennedy on change he reminds us that we must “focus on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.” This means we must get involved as a governmental entity to help change the laws of their governments to attain the bases for crime and punishment, and not to westernize their culture. These fundamental laws will eventually change views and ideas, impose reward and punishment which in turn will change norms. This gradual process must be evolutionary rather that revolutionary as President Kennedy suggests. A carefully balance of laws, promotion of human rights, sanctions and force must be surgically placed into motion. What we must not do is “force” our values on their peoples. This can cast shadows of doubt in our means to transform ideas for the good of the people. What ultimately must be changed is behavior. As a government and as a people, patience is crucial for such change. President Obama’s ideas of our nation in concert with others of the world speak of peace, but such peace must at times be obtained with force and with the understanding that collateral damage will occur. The abused might feel more repressed or consequentially beaten further, but human nature is hope and such resilience in the face of danger will foster change even if it’s slow to emerge. Unfortunately, at times the vessels of such change will parish, but ideas will be formed and norms will be pursued for the betterment of humanity. It is not so much our right because we can but our responsibility because we must.

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