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Advancing Military Professionalism: A Discussion with Brig. Gen. Saleh Bala

In an interview with the Africa Center, retired Brig. Gen. (ret.) Saleh Bala discusses the role that training, procurement, and international partnerships play in advancing military professionalism.

What progress are African countries making in increasing military professionalism among senior leaders, as well as emerging officers? In an interview with the Africa Center, retired Brigadier General Saleh Bala said, “We do not have a dearth of professional capacity among the officer corps.” The main issue is training for the enlisted. “Only a few countries have focused, local institutions to train their noncommissioned officers to be as good as NCOs from the West.” In addition, African governments tend to want to procure hardware—jets, artillery guns, drones—that they do not need and that are not part of a strategic procurement plan. Forging partnerships with foreign countries and combating corruption are critical to addressing these issues. Saleh Bala is a retired Brigadier General of the Nigerian Armed Forces, who previously served as Chief of Staff for the Nigerian Army Infantry Center and for UN operations in Côte d’Ivoire.