South Sudanese President Salva Kiir has restructured the army and changed its name – Sudan People Liberation Army (SPLA) – to South Sudan Defense Forces (SSDF).
In a presidential decree read out on state television, President Kiir also restructured the army into 3 services headed by their respective commanders, Ground force, Air force and Air defense and Riverine units.
President Kiir has created a hierarchy in the ranks of the army led by the Commander in Chief of the Army (himself); the Minister of Defense and Veteran Affairs; the Chief of Defense force; the Deputy Chief of Defense force – Inspector General; the Assistant Chief of Defense force for administration, personnel and finance; the Assistant Chief of Defense force for Operations, Training and Intelligence; the Assistant chief of Defense for Logistics and Procurements; the Commander of Ground force; the Commander of Air force and Air Defense and the commander of Riverine units.
He said the order is in line with the resolutions of the fifth SPLA Command Council Conference in June 2016 that resulted in the establishment of the Defense Structural Review Committee.
The committee was tasked with the review of the structures of the Ministry of Defense and Veteran Affairs to be in line with the SPLA white paper of 2008.
The president’s latest reshuffle was done to fit the structure of the army following the recent appointment of the army chief, the order explained.
The new army chief is tasked with professionalizing the army.
President Kiir has also reinstated Major General Dau Aturjong Nyuol into active service in the army.
Aturjong switched allegiance from the army in 2014 after the eruption of conflict, but later returned to Juba where he defected from the armed opposition forces (SPLM-IO) in July last year.