Major General Barre R. Seguin, director, Strategy, Engagement and Programmes (J5), United States Africa Command, crafts policy and strategy; develops theater campaign, operational and force posture plans; integrates international and African partner military efforts on the continent. He conducts a wide range of U.S. interagency and international engagements to achieve the commander’s priorities throughout the U.S. Africa Command area of responsibility. Commissioned in 1988 as a distinguished graduate of the Reserve Officer Training Corps, Seguin’s flying assignments include duties as instructor pilot, flight examiner, wing chief of safety, and operations officer, with commands at the squadron, group and wing levels. Major General Seguin served in staff assignments in the Office of the Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force as senior executive officer with the Directorate of Requirements, HQ Air Combat Command, and as the senior USAF Special assistant to the Commander, U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. He was the inspector general at Air Combat Command, ensuring combat readiness and regulatory compliance of more than 130,000 airmen. A veteran of Operations Southern Watch, Deliberate Regard, Deliberate Forge, Joint Guardian and Inherent Resolve, he is also a combat mission commander with over 3,500 flying hours in the F-16, T-38 and T-37. A 1988 Bachelor’s Degree holder in Mathematics and Economics, Summa Cum Laude, State University of N.Y., Potsdam, N.Y. Seguin also bagged Master’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, Management, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, Fla. in 1994; 1997 Distinguished and Top Squadron Graduate, Squadron Officer School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala.; 1999 F-16 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course, Nellis AFB, Nev. and 2001 Distinguished Graduate, Master’s Degree in Military Operational Art and Science, Air Command and Staff College, Maxwell AFB, Ala. among others. Some of his major awards and decorations include Defense Superior Service Medal; Legion of Merit with three oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with two oak leaf clusters; Air Medal; Aerial Achievement Medal. Seguin was one of the panelist who discussed “Migration, Economics and Security” at the Atlantic Dialogues conference in Marrakech, Morocco, organized by the OCP Policy Center, Morocco, from December 13 to 15. Seguin in an exclusive interview with Maureen Chigbo, editor, Realnews, who covered the conference, speaks about United States security concerns about migration, ISIS recruitment of illegal migrants and how Nigerian government can contain the recent upsurge in Boko Haram activities in the country. Excerpts
Realnews: What are the security implications of migration in Africa and Nigeria in particular?
Seguin: We don’t see migration as a security concern in itself. What we probably see though as a security concern is the way migrants are treated. The susceptibility to transnational threats along the migratory route; the money that is paid to human smugglers that goes to benefit the violent extremists organizations in the organized crime, the maltreatment of migrants, the safety of humanitarian workers attempting to assist the migrants themselves; the lack of medical support for migrants and as we saw recently in Libya even the slave trade associated with migrants. From a security perspective in terms of migrants we are also concern about organizations like ISIS that attempt to recruit and or coerce migrants to join and be a part of their organization. We saw some 500 migrants who were co-opted by ISIS when ISIS held sway. So these are very concrete examples of what we see as a nexus between the migrant flow and these activities that I just described.
Realnews: Do you think that there will be a time when the challenge of irregular migration will be curb totally?
Seguin: I totally agree with one of the speakers today that migration is an age human old phenomenon. I don’t think it’s ever going to not be a human phenomenon. What I hope will happen is that through the partnership that we share with African nations we work closely with in term of the security assistance that we are able to provide that migration can become more regular, lawful and politically nations can find ways that are mutually beneficial in terms of the migrations itself.
Realnews: Which African nations do you currently work with?
Seguin: Within our area of responsibility we have 53 partner countries. We tend to work with all of those countries in one shape or form.
Realnews: What are you doing with Nigeria in particular now?
Seguin: We are doing actually a whole lot with Nigeria. We are supporting in terms of the multi-national joint taskforce in the Chad basin region. There Nigeria is partnered with Chad, Cameroon and Niger in an effort to co-operate and coordinate effort against Boko Haram in the North Eastern part of the country. We are working to share intelligence where we can with that organization, and with Nigeria. We are also working with security forces assistance programmes. One of the more publicised ones recently was the sale of A29 aircraft which is the closest support aircraft to Nigeria which is now working its way through our security assistance architecture. So we are cooperating in terms of equipment. We are co-operating in terms of joint exercises, maritime security. It is a very regional robust relationship that we have with Nigeria.
Realnews: Is the Nigerian government going about the fight against Boko Haram the right way?
Seguin: I think probably that’s more of a political question. What I would say is that from our perspective, part of focus within the US Africa Command is to contain Boko Haram and so where we can assist the Nigerian government and the other governments and their militaries as part of our containment effort, that’s where we will really focus with respect to our relationship with those countries.
Realnews: As a security officer, you know that Boko Haram has made another in road in Adamawa States of the North East Nigeria. What do you advise our government to do to contain the upsurge in Boko Haram activities in the country?
Seguin: The government needs to continue to apply military pressure and also work on overall solution. What’s the political, social-economic and environmental issues that are causing Boko Haram to resurrect. How do you address those issues? Military operations are only going to buy you time and space while you are working on a more viable political solution across the issues that I just described. You will never succeed with military solutions. It can’t be a military solutions alone.
– Dec. 18, 2017 @ 18:53 GMT |