Liberia’s First Female MINDEF – ISG Alum

Jenny Leggett

April 17, 2024

Brigadier General Geraldine Janet George – the current Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) – is a female career soldier with extensive military leadership skills. To further hone those skills, she recently completed two Resident Courses at ISG headquarters in Monterey, CA: Executive Program in Defense Decision-making (January 2022) and Women In Strategic Defense & Security Decision-Making  (February 2022). The overarching goal of both courses was to empower leaders with key knowledge and skills to be effective decision-makers, become agents of change, and to transform their institutions to address ever-evolving national security challenges. The latter course placed a special emphasis on women’s representation in decision-making positions in security and defense institutions in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 objectives and Women, Peace, and Security principles. However, these two highly relevant courses were not BG George’s first introduction to ISG.   

In 2018 in Monrovia, Liberia, BG George participated in an ISG-led Mobile Education Team (MET) course focused on “Building Linkages between the Armed Forces and the Legislature.” This Partner-tailored seminar provided a unique opportunity for senior officers from the AFL and senior Ministry of Defense civilian officials to discuss opportunities to better collaborate with the Liberian Legislature. According to BG (Ret.) Russell Howard, a Subject Matter Expert and Instructor who led the 2018 in-country MET: “Based on our course, the Liberian military and legislature formalized a meeting structure loosely based on the U.S. Office of Legislative Affairs.” Having since reconnected with BG George during the recent Executive Program in Defense Decision-making course, Mr. Howard added, “In talking with General George, she’s indicated that a whole host of coordination problems were solved by implementing our suggested options. It is encouraging to learn about the long-term effectiveness of the ISG MET event. Working with leaders like BG George and seeing the results of a cooperative and very functional working environment is incredibly positive.” 

BG George has plans to bring insights from her current courses to Liberia as well. With regard to her experience with the Women in Strategic Defense & Security Decision-Making course, BG George explained that through the recently established liaison office, there is now a system that enables her to apply what she brings back from courses. “For example, we have less than 5% of women in the military. With what I am learning in this course, it will lead to a discussion on how to increase the strength of women in the AFL. Out of that discussion, we will produce our recommendations and brief the legislature, obtain funding, and produce the training and implementation from the bottom to the top.”  

The opportunity to reconnect with former course participants, like BG George, and to continue to support their professional development as leaders demonstrates how ISG’s multi-pronged approach to Institutional Capacity Building effectively contributes to Security Cooperation with Partners and Allies.

Brigadier General Geraldine Janet George