Information and communication barriers break down during Africa Endeavor 2010


Ghana hosted communication and information specialists from 32 African nations and US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) during the Africa Endeavor (AE) 2010 Mid-Planning Conference early April.

This conference was a follow-up to the Initial Planning Conference held in Kampala, Uganda in January 2010.

Africa Endeavor is US Africa Command’s annual communications exercise that focuses on interoperability and information sharing among our African partners. The goal is to develop command, control and communication tactics, techniques and procedures that can be used by the African Union (AU) in support of humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peacekeeping missions.
“This exercise [Africa Endeavor] has confirmed that sharing relevant, timely information and communicating effectively across barriers – both language and cultural – is essential to good relations with other nations,” said Army Brigadier General Robert Ferrell, director of Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4 Systems), US Africa Command,. “A country’s security is reinforced by open communications with its neighbors, partners and even opponents. Africa Endeavor aims to strengthen that open dialogue and to reinforce relationships among countries within the region and across the continent in order to improve everyone’s security.”
“It [Africa Endeavor] has required us to find ways to cooperate and share information even when equipment standards vary among participants,” Ferrell added. “Successful communication will not always occur, however, the effort towards that goal often means the difference between a situation being settled peacefully and a misunderstanding spiraling out of control.”

Africa Endeavor 2009 included participants from 25 African nations, three international organizations (African Union, Economic Community of West African States and Economic Community of Central African States), two European partners (Switzerland and Sweden) and the United States. More than 30 African nations are scheduled to participate in Africa Endeavor 2010. Navy Commander Britt Talbert, the Africa Endeavor lead planner for US Africa Command, said that favourable testimonies from various countries had resulted in this increase in participation.

Africa Endeavor has trained more than 1000 communication specialists from more than 30 countries to more effectively participate in African Union and regional security and peacekeeping missions in Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic and elsewhere and is vital to the effectiveness of African Standby Forces.
“Information is the oxygen of the modern world and transcends the boundaries of every aspect of today’s global society,” stated Ghanaian Brigadier General Joseph Searyoh, Defence Communications Information Systems director general. “Our collective actions in improving the way we create, share, gain access to and use information are tearing down walls and building bridges in fostering a greater understanding and furthering the goals we share in common.”

The first Africa Endeavor was held in South Africa in 2006. Subsequent exercises took place in Nigeria in 2008 and in Gabon in 2009. Africa Endeavor 2010 is currently scheduled from August 9-19, 2010, in Ghana.

Pic: Troops participate in a data and radio testing exercise at a Gabon Army Camp during Exercise Endeavor 2009.