Zambian and U.S. soldiers stood together in a battalion formation as both nations’ national anthems were played to signal the beginning of Southern Accord 2015 in Lusaka, Zambia, August 3.
Southern Accord 2015 brings together the U.S. Army, Zambian Defense Force, Southern African Development Community and other partner nation participants for two weeks of command post and field training exercises.
U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Peter Corey, deputy commanding general U.S. Army Africa, Zambian Army Commander Lt. Gen. Paul Mihova, and Zambian Deputy Minister of Defense Christopher Mulenga welcomed more than 850 service members from several countries including Angola, Botswana, Germany, Malawi, Namibia, the Netherlands, Tanzania and the United Kingdom.
Southern Accord 2015 builds stronger partnerships between participating nations leading to an increased ability to work together while increasing their capacity to support peacekeeping operations, said Corey.
“The ultimate goal is increased cooperation between countries in the region and of course, across Africa,” said Mulenga.
Training focuses on scenarios based on the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) where U.S.-trained Zambian Defense Force personnel are currently supporting peacekeeping operations.
Corey reminded all participants to work together and learn from each other during the exercise.
“Many of our African partners have a lot of experience with UN operations,” said Corey. “This is about partnering.”
Exercise participants will use United Nations Security Resolution 2149 that initiated the MINUSCA to coordinate efforts during the exercise, said U.S. Army Capt. Scott Saunders, U.S. Army Africa exercises deputy.
Each country’s military has its own doctrine that presents a challenge when trying to work together as a single military staff.
“We all have our own methods for problem solving,” said Saunders. “We need to speak a common language and that’s where the UN doctrine comes in.”