First arrivals for Exercise Shared Accord reported


Movement of US military equipment into South Africa ahead of the bilateral Exercise Shared Accord started this week with reliable sources reporting the arrival of two US Air Force C-17 Globemaster III transports at Upington Airport.

The exercise will take place at the SA Army Combat Training Centre (CTC), Lohathla, in the Northern Cape from 17 July to 4 August and will this year be in the form of a peacekeeping support operation.

The US military is also using Shared Accord 2017 to test and measure its logistic capabilities, both in terms of air- and sealift. Sealift will see a vessel docking in Cape Town with its cargo moving by road convoy to Lohathla ahead of the exercise proper. The convoy will be escorted by elements designated by the Western Cape joint tactical headquarters.

Once on the ground at CTC the American contingent – a company from the US Army’s 101st Airborne Division – will along with a 2 SA Infantry Battalion company join up to prepare for the exercise. It will see the sharing of tactics, techniques and procedures for use in dealing with potential threat as regards future UN and possibly AU peacekeeping deployments and missions. defenceWeb has been led to understand one of the drills to be exercised with see soldiers encountering and defusing IEDs (improvised explosive devices).

In addition to 2 South African Infantry (SAI) battalion, a company from 21 SA Infantry Battalion will be the opposing force (Opfor) for Shared Accord 2017.

Lieutenant Colonel Piet Paxton Staff Officer, Operational Communication, at the Joint Operations Division of the SA National Defence Force (SANDF) said both forces would station vehicles at CTC and set aside these for use by the ACIRC (African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises). This decision is based on economic considerations.

This year’s Shared Accord differs from previous ones where the humanitarian aspect of peace support missions took priority. This saw a number of Eastern Cape villages unexpectedly “treated” to dental, medical and even veterinarian visits.

A brief mission statement by US Africa Command said: “Shared Accord is a joint exercise intended to enhance US and African forces’ capabilities to perform peacekeeping operations in support of UN and AU mandates. Shared Accord 2017, sponsored by US Africa command and executed by US Army Africa, seeks to enhance US and other participating nations and organisations’ capabilities as well as bilateral and regional relationships”.

A team from the specialist air assault component of the 101st Airborne Division visited CTC earlier this year in preparation for the exercise.