British Forces are currently deployed as part of Op TANGHAM, with RLC officers and soldiers contributing to over 20% of the deployed force.
There are five distinct contributions that The RLC is making across Somalia, which include allowing the Somali National Army (SNA) to be accountable and professional and developing the capability of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) in assisting the SNA to defeat Al-Shabaab.
Additionally, they are providing targeted CSS to multi-national organisations such as the European Union Training Mission, UN Political Mission and UN Field Mission.
Working in Somalia is not without its challenges; recent flooding has been the worst in fifty years, Al-Shabaab still controls much of the country and progress is measured in years rather than months. It is nonetheless an extremely rewarding tour, where The RLC is making a real difference.
The UK’s main effort in Somalia is focused on directly training the SNA. This is routinely enforced by Specialised Infantry Training Teams but also involves logistic, ES and medical mentoring.
Capt Rob Cooke is employed as the SO3 J4, mentoring the officers and soldiers of the SNA 60 Division Headquarters in Baidoa.
Maj Austin Prendiville is the 2IC of the Mission Support Team delivering mentoring assistance to AMISOM.
Embedded within the UN Field Mission, RLC soldiers are deployed as part of the largest British Army contribution to Somalia, within the UN Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS). This includes RLC Drivers RLC Suppliers.
Two RLC Officers are currently embedded within the UN Political Mission. Lt Col Gary Pugh is Military Advisor at the UN Office in Somaliland and RLC Reservist Maj David Millen, covers Jubaland from a UN base in Kismaayo.
British Officers are embedded in the EU Training Mission with The RLC providing the Chief Support Advisor. Lt Col Steve Fisher leads a multi-national team of SMEs in finance, logistics, and medical, and advises the General Staff of the Somali National Army.
The relationships they all build are vital in helping reduce tension and conflict between parties, clans and neighboring states.
Violent eruptions are common, therefore diplomacy is a vital skill and combined with professional knowledge, local tensions can be reduced allowing the region to focus on the creation of stability and peace.