Members from the Missouri Army National Guard’s 110th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, based in Kansas City, and representatives from seven East African countries have begun the U.S. Army Africa sponsored Eastern Accord 2012 Counter Violent Extremism Exercise.
The 10-day training exercise, which will help build partnerships with USARAF and the East African military forces, is designed to help USARAF and East African participants improve their capability to respond to regional security threats posed by Violent Extremist Groups and to more effectively counter the associated Violent Extremist Ideology.
The objective of the exercise, which began yesterday, is to build partnerships with Tanzania and other East African military forces to increase interoperability within East Africa, increase African partner nations’ ability to counter violent extremism and to increase the readiness of U.S. forces to operate in austere conditions.
The Ministry of Defence and National Service Deputy Permanent Secretary Eng Mussa Ibrahim Iyombe attended the first day of the exercise and stated the importance of the exercise.
“Defeating terrorism and violent extremism require a long term and collective strategic efforts; and a break with the old patterns,” said Iyombe. “It is now high time we fight these old enemies with both a regional and a global reach.”
Brigadier General James Owens, USARAF Deputy Commander, emphasized this point.
“Our focus during this exercise is countering violent extremism,” said Owens. “However, we must ascribe the proper level of importance to the value if working together–together we will focus on the Army’s importance in securing stability and security for our respective nations.”
Participants in Eastern Accord 2012 will conduct an academic program from September 6-9 with speakers that include Brigadier General (R) Meir Elran, Director of Homeland Security Program, Tel Aviv University; Brett Lovegrove, former head of counter-terrorism in the city of London, and many other professional speakers. All speakers involved in this exercise bring years of knowledge and experience that will provide valuable information to all who are participating.
The culminating event is a Table Top Exercise which will take place September 10-13. The TTX will apply all lessons learned during the academic portion of the exercise and apply them to the real world efforts for each country in attendance. The knowledge gained from this exercise will continue to enhance the relationships between the U.S. and African Nations.