The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) has appointed Gerald Lefler, a former U.S. naval officer, as its Regional Operation Manager for West and Central Africa. Lefler is based in Dakar, Senegal.
“Gerald Brings vision, strategic leadership and a good track record of managing complex situations and issues around the world,” said Brad Minnick, ACSS communications director. “ I am thrilled that he is joining our team and will contribute to strengthening our regional office in Dakar”
Before joining the Africa Center, Lefler worked at Northrop Grumman where he was a program manager in the United Kingdom from 2008 to 2012 supporting U.S. Africa Command. He previously served in the same company as an international training and plans specialist for two years (2005-2007).
Lefler retired from the U.S. Navy in 2005 after 20 years of service in various positions and around the world. Ship and shore tours included Division Officer, Department Head (Operations), Executive Officer, College Professor-French Naval Academy, and NATO Staff Officer in the United States, the United Kingdom,. and France.
Lefler said he was “immediately interested” when he saw the position advertized. “This was a great opportunity for me to leverage my previous work in Africa.” His experience includes working as an instructor with the U.S. Department of State-funded African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) peacekeeper training, as well as a program manager supporting U.S. AFRICOM capacity building programs. Lefler said being an Africa Center regional director will help him in “expanding my professional experience from the operational to the strategic level.”
Lefler joined the Africa Center in mid-June and said he had favorable first impressions of the Center’s organization.
“It is truly staffed with professionals who are engaged, believe in [the Center’s] mission, and take pride in their work,” he pointed out. “I feel honored to be working with such a fine team and look forward to contributing to the success of the Center.”
Lefler is familiar with some of the security sector leaders of the region. He has worked with them when he served in the U.S. Navy, and said he is exited to embrace the Africa Center’s mission and vision of strengthening partnership with African armies.
“I believe that my contributions will center on my ability to effectively network in the West and Central Africa regions in order to advance ACSS initiatives and partnerships,” said the new regional manager. “Additionally, my leadership and management background lend themselves well to maintaining the extremely high standards of the various ACSS events.”
Lefler earned an MS in Management from Salve Regina University, Newport, R.I., and a BS in Applied Mathematics/Computer Science from the University of Idaho. His military education includes degrees from the Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces Staff College and the Defense Language Institute, where he honed his skills in French.
ACSS is the pre-eminent institution for strategic security studies, research, and outreach in Africa. The Africa Center engages African partner states and institutions through rigorous academic and outreach programs that build strategic capacity and foster long-term, collaborative relationships. Since its inception in 1999, more than 5,500 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.