The Antigua & Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) hosted soldiers from the Florida National Guard (FLNG) Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB), who were on island to participate in a series of training exercises which began on March 24 and concluded April 5. The exchange provided both the ABDF and FLNG operational training to include small unit tactics, land navigation, combat medical/first responder, and non-commissioned and junior officer development. This is the first time a training event of this kind was held in Antigua, and it will serve as reference for future engagements. The Military Liaison Office at the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados facilitated the training.
ABDF Vice Chief of Defence Staff Lt. Col. Trevor Pennyfeather outlined the importance of the training at the exercise launch. He explained, “This training is setting the foundation leading up to our Strategic Defence Review by restoring key skill sets to the force.” Spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown Larry Socha commented, “This training through the National Guard’s State Partnership Program Exchange is not only an opportunity to enhance the operational skills of our partners, it is also a leadership development opportunity for all involved. The last two weeks have demonstrated the strong bilateral relationship between the United States and Antigua and Barbuda.”
The program concluded against the backdrop of the gathering in Barbados of the Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), in which Antigua and Barbuda participated. CANSEC is an annual U.S. Southern Command-sponsored forum that allows defense and public-security leaders from participating nations to strengthen ties, discuss regional issues, and explore ways to enhance security cooperation and build on prior successes. Through CANSEC and training opportunities like that with the FLNG, the United States looks forward to enhancing its security relationship with Antigua and Barbuda