After a week of discussions and practical exercises, communications officers from more than 35 nations and multinational organizations marked the end of Africa Endeavor 2015 with a closing ceremony in Gaborone, Botswana, Aug. 28.
Africa Endeavor is an annual communications event sponsored by U.S. Africa Command. Since 2006, Africa Endeavor has evolved from a multinational military exercise focused on unit-level communications to a senior leader seminar. The Botswana Defence Force hosted the weeklong event.
“By talking together, face to face, about current systems and capabilities, we also can develop shared architecture and infrastructure that will allow better integration of our systems when it’s time for mission execution,” said U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ferrell, the U.S. Army chief information officer.
The seminar culminated with a table top exercise. Officers worked in multinational groups to develop a communications plan in support of a notional African Union mission to counter violent extremists.
The officers left the conference with more than ideas, they also took a common communications handbook. The handbook details standard procedures to apply to the many different systems used to communicate across Africa during multinational humanitarian assistance, disaster response and peacekeeping operations.
“It is critically important that individual militaries, regionally based organizations and the African Union adopt the handbook and use it on a daily basis,” Ferrell said.
During her closing remarks, Segakweng Tsiane, the permanent secretary at the Botswana Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security, urged that the participants share what they learned with their home militaries.
“It is one thing coming here to talk and agree, but it is always another in ensuring that we deliver on the commitments you’ve made,” Tsiane said. “One assumes you are leaving this place having achieved multilateral cooperation and alignment of thought and ideas, as well as real time knowledge which is vital in tackling many security challenges.”
She noted that Africa Endeavor 2015 centered on real world peacekeeping operations in Somalia and Mali, multinational military exercises, and civil-military issues like counter poaching and humanitarian assistance missions.
“Africa Endeavor 2015, in my mind, is a hallmark in the sphere of the modern military landscape,” she said.
This year’s event was the seventh Africa Endeavor since the series began in 2006. More than 1,800 communications specialists from 40 countries, six African regional organizations and six international partner nations have participated in past Africa Endeavor events.