Second High-Level Steering Committee Meeting of the White House’s Security Governance Initiative

The Governments of Kenya and the United States of America held the second high-level steering committee meeting of the White House’s Security Governance Initiative (SGI) on November 11 at Harambee House in Nairobi. SGI is an initiative of President Barack Obama to enhance the governance of security and justice institutions, foster interagency collaboration, and strengthen the ability of partners to meet the security needs of their citizens.

Kenya is one of six countries in Africa participating in the SGI partnership and the first to begin implementing a Joint Country Action Plan (JCAP). President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Obama launched the U.S.-Kenyan partnership in 2014 at the U.S.-Africa Leaders’ Summit.

SGI is deepening the cooperation between Kenya and the United States to address common challenges, including countering transnational threats and violent extremism. It also supports universal principles, including promoting justice, as well as contributing to regional, and international security and stability.

At the November 11 meeting, steering committee members from both countries, representing multiple agencies, reviewed strong progress made through SGI over the last three months, assessed next steps for the coming six months, and confirmed a continuing joint partnership through SGI. Mr. Stephen Kirogo, Principal Administrative Secretary in the Executive Office of the President, noted that the rapid implementation reflected the excellent working relations between Kenyan and U.S. counterpart institutions.

The U.S. co-chair for SGI-Kenya, Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater, stressed SGI activities focus on fostering interagency cooperation to address Kenya’s most pressing security and justice needs.

U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec reiterated President Obama’s 26 July statement that SGI and other programs demonstrate that the United States will “stand shoulder to shoulder with you in this fight against terrorism as long as it takes.”

The Kenya SGI co-chair, National Counter Terrorism Centre Director Ambassador Martin Kimani, characterized the extensive cooperation and capacity-building activities on border security, police human resource management, and administration of justice under SGI as an “extremely practical expression” of the U.S.-Kenyan partnership and shared values.

The November 11 meeting follows the signing of the JCAP on the margins of President Obama’s July 24-26 visit to Kenya. The JCAP outlines three focus areas of activities under SGI: police human resource management; integrated border management; and the administration of justice. The U.S.-Kenya SGI team developed these three mutually reinforcing focus areas jointly. They dovetail with a strong strategic push by Kenya to transform the effectiveness and morale within the National Police Service, to mainstream and leverage the interagency approach in border management, and to empower the judicial system to effectively deal with the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism.