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Kansas Soldiers Train for Mission in Africa

This Christmas, soldiers are packing up and deploying to Africa. It's part of a new defense strategy the army is using called Regionally Aligned Forces.
(RILEY COUNTY, Ks.) This Christmas, soldiers are packing up and deploying to Africa.

It's part of a new defense strategy the army is using called Regionally Aligned Forces.

"Getting the understanding, the cultural awareness, is something that we really thought this is an area that we really, really need to focus on," said col. Jeff Broadwater, Dagger Brigade commander.

Troops at Fort Riley are the first brigade to partner with another nation as part of a new strategy to increase worldwide security and they're getting help from a university.

The Second Armored Brigade Combat Team, First Infantry Division is tasked with assisting more than 50 countries in Africa with training and security operations.

"This training that the U.S. Army is providing our country is very beneficial given the security in the region and also the lack of training and professionalism of our army, which jeopardize their missions," said Moustapha Soumaila Issa, Kansas State University graduate student.

To help transition from the mindset of the Iraq/Afghanistan war, soldiers are going back to school. It's called Dagger University.

Kansas State University students like Issa are helping soldiers prepare for their missions by teaching them about the culture and ethnic groups in Africa. The 3,500 members of the Dagger Brigade go through five-day training with African natives.

"They help us build those partnerships. They help us bring expertise that you don't get from a PowerPoint slide or a briefing or sitting in the classroom. They've been in the country. They've lived in the country. They've experience life and life experiences is really where it's at," said Chief Warrant Officer Aaron Sargent, Dagger Brigade.

Fort Riley started its regional alignment with Africa in March and will conduct more than 100 missions in one year.
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