On Monday June 21, U.S. Defense Attaché and Senior Defense Official Colonel Michael Lee made his first visit to The Gambia. Accompanied by Commander Jack Conley, Chief of Office of Security Cooperation, Col. Lee met with representatives of the Gambian government and armed forces to discuss areas of cooperation and opportunities for U.S. assistance.
Together with Ambassador Paschall, the delegation met with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mamadou Tangara, leading to a discussion about security challenges facing The Gambia and the region, identifying key areas of cooperation. During a meeting with Defense Minister Sheikh Omar Faye, the group discussed the excellent performance of Gambian Armed Forces members at U.S. military academies, upcoming joint military exercises, and the importance of controlling Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Gambia and the United States share an understanding of the risks of IUU fishing, which poses a grave risk to the continued livelihood of Gambian artisanal fishermen and women. The delegation also met with Commodore Madani Senghore, Commander of The Gambia Navy and Major General Mamat O. Cham, Deputy Chief of Defense Staff of the Gambia Armed Forces as part of their effort to identify areas of cooperation.
At a reception hosted by Ambassador Paschall, the delegation met with Her Excellency Vice President Isatou Touray, who was representing His Excellency President Adama Barrow. The delegation discussed the importance of Gambian-American bilateral relations.
All branches of The Gambian Armed Forces have a strong relationship with the U.S. Department of Defense. Col. Lee’s visit was one of many engagements aimed at enhancing the United States’ support for strengthening and reforming of The Gambia’s security sector.