Joint African exercise at the SA National War College

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That those in command of the SA National War College (SANWC) in Centurion’s Irene keep a weather eye on the wider Southern African situation can be seen in the subject chosen for a just-ended combined joint African exercise.

The exercise theme of “National security: Energy exploration for the provision of electricity in South Africa” was explored, analysed and presented by officers on the current Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme (JSCSP) from Botswana, Malawi, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Observers from Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Tanzania kept a watchful eye on deliberations.

When kicking off the 4 to 8 September theory exercise, SANWC Commandant Brigadier General Nelson Dlamini said it was not about competitiveness but “combined strength for the path to true African brotherhood and unity”. He told those participating as well as others currently studying at the college its aim was to advance the objective of peace support operations on the continent, adding the exercise was “an important element” of the JSCSP’s peace support module.

The exercise, reports Ad Astra intern Boitumelo Bapela, was “a significant one” in its preparation for a common understanding among staff officers from the Southern African region of planning at operational and military/strategic levels as preparation for inter-agency, multinational operations. These are primary inter-operability requirements for both the regional Southern African Development Community (SADC) and continental African Union (AU) “cadre and standby force”.

Those taking part were encouraged to have “a common understanding of current realities in the country and on the continent at large” to be able to “develop common doctrines in terms of dealing with hostiles insistent on destroying peace on the continent”.

Programme attendees gained knowledge for operational planning in the joint, integrated, inter-agency and multi-national peace support operations environment. They also, according to Bapela, were able to assimilate complexities and link to operational level planning using an intergrated planning process (IPP) “countersigned” by the United Nations (UN), AU and SADC.

The exercise, she reported, enabled members to think outside normal current PSO (either peace support operations or peace and stability operations) doctrine and develop a better comprehension of complex situations in an ever-changing global space.