The Defense Council of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces has extended the retirement age for its personnel from age 55 to 60. The announcement was made by the Chief of Defense Staff, Lt. General Peter K. Lavahun at the personnel training conference held on January 17, 2023, with the theme, “Positioning the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces with its training and personnel capacities for operational effectiveness”.
Lt. Lavahun said that this development was made in “good faith”, and approved by the President and Commander-in-chief of the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces, His Excellency Julius Maada Bio, with the concurrence of the Defense Force, to have members of the force serve more years if they are still fit.
Speaking on personnel upgrade, Lt. Lavahun said that the leadership of RSLAF is charged with the responsibility of providing training for soldiers in the country to ensure that the standard of individual and collective training is done in a way that fits fulfil the professional role of the soldiers effectively and efficiently, as training is a function of command responsibility.
“It is only through training that soldiers are taught the necessary personal knowledge and skills to enable them to carry out their professional tasks successfully,” said Lt. Lavahun.
Highlighting the factors responsible for the force’s inconsistency in conducting training for soldiers, Lt. Lavahun pointed out the untimeliness in making available budget allocations to support professional and military education, the inadequate maintenance of training institutions, and the unavailability of funds to improve training infrastructure. He said all these put together affect the professionalism and operational effectiveness of the activities of the army.
“Creating a core of personnel that are competent, resilient, skilled, empowered and motivated for operational effectiveness, requires budgeting investments for their personal development”. Lt. Lavahun asserted.
Director of Personnel and Military Secretary at the Ministry of Defense, Col. Baimba Demby, said they were “driven by necessity” to broaden the scope of the conference to include not only officers but soldiers’ career management systems as well. That is because a professionally strong force demands effective leaders supported by officers capacitated with the skills to do so and to excel in any situation when given the right opportunity to do so.
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