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Saturday, May 12, 2007

Liaison Officer Builds Cohesive Relationship

Egyptian major smoothes the way for task force in Africa.

By Angela Scherbenske
Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa

CAMP LEMONIER, Djibouti, May 11, 2007 — Working to build a cohesive relationship with the host nation while at Camp Lemonier is the role of Egyptian liaison officer Maj. Osama Selim, a member of the Egyptian military who is temporarily assigned to CJTF-HOA.

Selim said he supports the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa mission by providing the members here information and a professional perspective regarding the different African countries.

“Major Selim’s ability to effectively communicate with the local population and to convey back professional expertise to the members of CJTF-HOA has allowed for a greater mission effect that has brought us into a whole new realm of success and cooperation,” said U.S. Navy Lt. Erich Schneider, of the task force’s strategic communications directorate.

Acting in a variety of capacities, Selim helps teach Americans the Arabic language, communicates with the local population as a translator and liaison and assists in translating articles into Arabic to convey to the people in Djibouti the good work that CJTF-HOA is doing here in Djibouti and the Horn of Africa.

“When you go downtown, having an individual like Major Selim smoothes the way allowing us to build cohesive relationships with the host nation,” said U.S. Army Maj. Randy George, of the task force’s strategic communications directorate.

While doing work throughout the host nation, Selim said he is glad to be a part of the mission that CJTF-HOA is doing here and also to see the happiness in the peoples’ eyes whom the task force assists.

“He communicates with the elders here and best assesses the level of community acceptance for a project CJTF-HOA is doing,” said U.S. Navy Chief Juan Jones, also of the strategic communications directorate. “He is able to offer and communicate to the members of CJTF-HOA positive and negative feedback regarding projects which are being done here.”

Providing a different perspective for these projects for the members of task force and learning new aspects of coordinating projects are some of the gains that Selim said he has received from working at Camp Lemonier.

“Major Selim is helpful with planning and coordinating projects because he understands the cultural norms here and is able to identify the needs here,” said George.

The mission of CJTF-HOA is to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in order to prevail against extremism. The CJTF-HOA organization began operations at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti May 13, 2003. It works with partner nations on humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, consequence management, civic action programs to include medical and veterinary care, school and medical clinic construction and water development projects.

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