Michigan Army National Guard training officer, Maj. Andrew Morton, has been selected as the next Bilateral Affairs Officer for the embassy of the United States in Liberia. Morton is currently supporting Operation Onward Liberty 2016 (OOL 16), with fellow Michigan Guard Soldiers in Monrovia, Liberia, but will return to Michigan for BAO training and to pack additional equipment needed for the three-year assignment. Morton’s OOL 16 position will be back-filled by an alternate Michigan Guard Soldier. The OOL 16 team is scheduled to remain in Liberia through August 2016.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity,” Morton said. “The many facets of the Michigan – Liberia partnership fascinates me, I look forward to my role in strengthening the bond between our countries. The Soldiers of the AFL [Armed Forces of Liberia] are receptive learners, hard workers and are a capable force for good among the Liberian people. The leadership teams are relatively new but fully dedicated to the preservation of national stability. My fellow Michigan OOL 16 advisors are developing skills of the AFL Joint Staff through enhancing established practices, sharing strategic planning methods, modeling professionalism and most importantly preparing the AFL for the United Nation’s 2016 troop drawdown which will place the AFL as the primary lead for defense of their country. I am honored and blessed to be the BAO in Liberia, developing our partnership and building friendships during this transitional period for the AFL and really all of Liberia.”
In his role as BAO, Morton will primarily be responsible for facilitating security and training operations between Michigan National Guard, State Partnership Program teams and AFL groups. The position is considered a diplomatic level assignment and Morton will maintain an office in the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia. He is scheduled to assume the position in April 2016.
During the next few years that include Morton’s assignment as BAO, Liberia will experience significant leadership changes that include introducing a new Liberian Ambassador in 2016 and the election of a new Liberian President in 2017. Both events, and many others, will require AFL participation in one form or another, thus the arrival of Morton as BAO is coming at an important time to help ensure safety and independence in the post-war nation.