At a June 7, 2018 ceremony in Jinja, Uganda, the United States Department of State and Department of Defense delivered essential equipment to the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) as part of the African Peacekeeping Rapid Response Partnership (APRRP). The equipment, delivered to the Uganda Rapid Response Deployment Capability Center (URRDC), included engineering and logistics vehicles, and medical and communications equipment, which the UPDF will use to enhance their rapid response capabilities for future peace operations or emerging crises.
At the official handover ceremony, U.S. Ambass ador Deborah Malac and UPDF Chief of Defense Forces General David Muhoozi highlighted the importance of the U.S.-Uganda partnership in peacekeeping. In addition to the provision of equipment, U.S. Marine Forces-Africa and Department of Defense’s Center for Global Health Engagement have been actively engaged in training the UPDF to strengthen rapid response capabilities. These activities complement broader U.S. security assistance efforts to build Uganda’s peace operations capacity building partnership, with a particular focus on support Uganda’s sustained deployment to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
Uganda’s critical role in helping stabilize the security situation in Somalia – and the United States’ supporting capacity building activities – directly advance U.S. national security interests on the continent. In March 2007, Uganda was the first country to deploy to AMISOM; and, demonstrating their strong commitment to regional security, Uganda remains the largest troop contributor to that mission. The UPDF continues to demonstrate its strong commitment to the AMISOM mandate and regional security objectives. In acknowledgement of this commitment, the UPDF was recognized by the African Union (AU) in April for their important role in the removal of al-Shabaab from Mogadishu and for providing escort for humanitarian relief vehicles.
AU and United Nations (UN) peace operations have been significant international tools for responding to crises, managing conflict, and enabling life-saving humanitarian assistance on the African continent. The international community, however, has faced significant challenges mobilizing and rapidly deploying peacekeeping forces for crisis response in Africa. APRRP was announced during the August 2014 U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit in an effort to help address these challenges. APRRP is managed by the Department of State’s Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, in close partnership with the Department of Defense. With nearly $270 million dedicated to the program, APRRP aims to assist select African partner countries by targeting the development of capabilities that are persistent shortfalls in crisis response capacity.
Maintaining a robust U.S.-Uganda relationship is important to advancing U.S. national security interests. The shared U.S.-Uganda APRRP goals are to build, sustain, and institutionalize UPDF rapid crisis response capabilities for UN and regional peace operations on the African continent. This partnership enables Uganda to contribute to regional stability, which in turn fosters burden sharing and self-reliance.
Peacekeeping capacity building advances U.S. national security interests by helping to build modern professional militaries that can respond to regional instability. A strong U.S. role in peacekeeping capacity building not only develops stronger relations with partner countries, but also enhances compatibility with U.S. forces. As the UN marks 70 years of peacekeeping (#PK70), the U.S. and Uganda are working together to continue to support efforts that help countries torn by conflict transition to lasting peace.
About the Author: Gabriela Sagun serves in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs at the U.S. Department of State.
Editor's Note: This entry also appears in the U.S. Department of State's publication on Medium.