US, Burkina Faso wrap-up Western Accord 2016 planning

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U.S. Army Africa and Burkina Faso military planners worked with representatives from 18 different countries to complete the final planning process for Western Accord 2016 in Burkina FAso between 21 and 25 March.

Military members from the Economic Community of West African States, United Nations Department of Peace Keeping Operations, partner nations, Burkina Faso Armed Forces, and USARAF planners spent the last few months working together to ensure a successful execution of WA 2016 in May.

The Western Accord is a series of exercises designed to develop the capacity of the ECOWAS Standby Force’s rapid deployment capability to plan, deploy, employ and sustain forces in support of peacekeeping operations, US Army Africa said.
“Western Accord 2016 will be a noteworthy opportunity to build peacekeeping capability in West Africa and enhance military cooperation between all the partner nations,” said Patrick Hughes, USARAF WA 2016 Planner.

With so many different countries involved in this year’s exercise and a plethora of languages and dialects spoken, it was imperative that French and English interpreters are used. This was particularly handy when annotating the minutes from the event and the signing of the Western Accord 2016 Exercise Support Arrangement between USARAF and the Ministry of Defence of Burkina Faso.

The ESA is a mutually agreed upon arrangement between USARAF and the Ministry of Defence of Burkina Faso in which they recognize the success of WA 2016 is contingent upon shared support and cooperation.

Brig. Gen. Kenneth H. Moore, Jr., USARAF deputy commanding general and Col. Maj. Yaya Sere, chief planning officer and chief of operations for the General Staff of the Burkina Faso Armed Forces sat side-by-side reading over the arrangement before signing both copies and shaking hands.
“It has been a pleasure working with our Burkina Faso partners over the past week and I look forward to a very successful Western Accord exercise here in May,” said Moore.

The final planning event this week was the last opportunity for the BFAF, USARAF, and partner nation’s planners to meet and coordinate the support requirements for the event before the culminating exercise in May.
“Thanks to the hard work, professionalism and hospitality of our strategic partner, the Burkina Faso Armed Forces, we now stand ready to successfully conduct the exercise together,” said Hughes. “This comes during an important transitionary period for Burkina Faso as a nation and at a time when this region faces threats to security from within and outside its borders,” Moore said.