True to her word in her Annual Address last week, Commander-In-Chief Ellen Johnson Sirleaf on February 4, 2014, released the names of her two nominees, Colonel Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr. and Colonel Eric Wamu Dennis for the AFL positions of Chief of Staff (COS) and Deputy COS respectively.
The two will take the helm as the first Liberian officers in charge of the post-war AFL, as General Suraj Alao Abdurrahman, the Nigerian Command Officer-In-Charge of the AFL, turns over the position to the Commander-In-Chief on Armed Forces Day, February 11, 2014.
Prior to their nomination by the President to the Liberian Senate, the two officers had met all the requirements necessary, including advanced and strategic training at various military institutions, and their deportment and discipline had been highly commended by the country’s international partners involved in restructuring of the AFL.
The nominations were then made in keeping with Article 54, Section E, of the Liberian Constitution, which authorizes the President to nominate and, with the consent of the Senate, appoint and commission members of the military from the rank of Lieutenant or equivalent and above.
These two Liberians that have been tipped by the Liberian leader to take charge of the new AFL, however, seem to have each stacked up an impressive set of individual qualifications in addition to meeting the required benchmarks for the job.
Col. Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr.
Col. Daniel Dee Ziankahn, Jr., born July 12, 1971, River Cess County, was enlisted into the new AFL on July, 22, 2006, and subsequently commissioned on May 8, 2007.
On December 9, 2006, Ziankahn was promoted to the rank of Sergeant; May 8, 2007, commissioned as 2nd Lieutenant; March 10, 2009, 1st Lieutenant, April 15, 2010, Captain, April 12, 2012, Major, and on October 31, 2013, Lieutenant Colonel.
Civil and Military Qualifications
He holds a Bachelor of Business Arts (BBA) in Business Management from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion University and a Master of Military Art and Science (MMAS), College of U.S. Army Command and General Staff College.
Ziankahn’s initial entry training (IET) began in 2006 followed by his advanced individual training (AIT) and, in 2007, a basic non-commissioned officer training course (BNCOC); March 23, 2007, Officers’ Candidate School (OCS), and in that same year, he attended a Basic Officer Leader Course, II, Fort Benning, GA. This Western training followed the third phase which included the Infantry Basic Officer Course, at the same venue in 2007. He also attended the Basic Airborne Course, Fort Benning, GA-2007; Armor Company Commander Course, Arab Republic of Egypt in 2009; Junior Staff Course, Horton Academy, Sierra Leone-2010; Certificate, Public Sector Management, Institute of Public Administration and Management, University of Sierra Leone, 2010; Senior Staff Course (Intermediate Level Education), Fort Leavenworth, KS-2011, and Advanced Training on Security Sector Reform, Rwanda Peace Academy-2012.
The newly nominated COS previously served as Platoon Leader: Alpha (A) Company, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Brigade; Executive Officer: Alpha Company, 1st Bn, and 23rd Infantry Brigade; Company Commander: Alpha Company, 1st Bn, 23rd Infantry Brigade; Military Assistant to the Minister of National Defense; AFL-Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (ACOS) for Operations, and Executive Officer, 23rd Infantry Brigade.
At present, Col. Ziankahn serves as Acting Commander, 23rd Infantry Brigade.
He has achieved the Leadership Award-Officers Candidate School (OCS); 1st in the Order of Merit-Lieutenant to Captain Exam, and runner-up for the CGSC Birrier-Brookes Award for the best Master’s Thesis (theory, idea).
He is married to beautiful Nathaline Ziankahn, and the union is blessed with two children- Tetee, 16, and Armaya Ziankahn, 6.
Col. Eric Wamu Dennis
Col. Eric Wamu Dennis earlier retired from the AFL, and served as chairman/lecturer, Military Science, Reserve Officer Training Course (ROTC) at the University of Liberia (UL).
A native of Maryland County, Col. Dennis born February 15, 1969, was brought back to active duty in 2006, and subsequently commissioned September 7, 2007.
His military career began in 1986 after completing a Basic Combat Training at the Tubman Military Academy-Todee, Upper Montserrado County. He became training officer (G3), at the headquarters of the then AFL-1987; Method of Instruction Course-ROTC-1987-1988; Military Science/ROTC Instructor-1089-2006.
Civil and Military Qualifications
Col. Dennis holds a Master of Science (MSc.)-Governance and Leadership, Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA)-2012; MSc. Candidate-International Relations-University of Liberia (UL)-1097-2006; Post Graduate Diploma-Defense and Conflict Studies-GIMPA, 2012; Post Graduate Certificate-Public Sector Management, Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM)-Sierra Leone-2010; Bachelor of Business Arts (BBA)-Management-UL-1998 and a diploma, Our Lady of Fatima Catholic High School, Harper, Maryland County-1987.
Col. Dennis completed the Command and Senior Staff Course- Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College-2012; Junior Staff Course-Horton Academy, Sierra Leone-2010; Company Commander Course-Armor Institute, Cairo, Egypt-2009; Platoon Leader Course-Jaji, Nigeria-2008; Officer Candidate School (OCS), Barclay Training Center (BTC), Monrovia-2007; Basic Non Commission Officer, BTC-2007; Advance Individual Training-2006, and the Initial Entry Training-2006.
International Peace Support Operation Course, Ghana-2012; Exclusive Economic Zone Management Course-2012; Defense Management Course-2012; Conflict and Crisis Management Course-2012; Train the Trainers (ICRC)-2007; Civil Military Coordination Course, United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL)-2008, and Advance Negotiation Training Course-Legon Center for International and Academic studies, University of Ghana-2013.
He previously served as deputy Assistant Chief of Staff (DYNCORPS-AFL; 1st Battalion Commander, 23rd Infantry Brigade; Brigade Adjutant (S-1), 23rd Infantry-AFL; Headquarters and Headquarters Company Commander; Public Affairs Officer; Bravo Company Commander, and a Platoon Commander, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Bde.He is currently assigned as Assistant Chief of Staff, HQ, AFL.