The Ghana Armed Forces, along with U.S. Army Africa, concluded week one of exercise Western Accord 13 and began a command post exercise at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Center in Accra, Ghana.
Western Accord 13 is a two-part exercise that includes academics and a command post exercise. In part one, participants received classes focused on collective tasks, functional, and staff procedures in support of command and control of a peacekeeping operation based on real world events. In part two, which started on June 24, a brigade headquarters staff began to prepare and then execute its plan to move forces into a contested area, defeat terrorists, and restore basic services and the rule of law while setting the stage for national reconciliation.
Classes included civil military operations, stability operations, and operational planning. The classes were taught by personnel from the Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute, 2nd Civil Affairs Group, 2nd Brigade 1st Infantry Division Armed Brigade Combat Team and USARAF.
“These classes was a time for us to share information and experiences,” said Col. Robert Balacavage, PKSOI instructor. “We learn a tremendous amount from the ECOWAS community while sharing our years of combat experience.”
The command post exercise is the scenario-based portion of the exercise designed for the Economic Community of West African States to conduct peacekeeping and stability operations. Each staff section is led by a member of the ECOWAS to facilitate and demonstrate the unity between nations, Africom said.
In the scenario, the Armed Forces in Support of Mali Task Force has received an operations order to assume responsibility for the eastern sector of an unstable area in order to conduct security and stability operations. The exercise will have scenarios interjected to force the staff sections to communicate to solve problems.
Day one began with each staff directorate tasked with planning assistance to complete the mission. The first day concluded with a staff briefing to Nigerian Brig. Gen. Koko, task force commander.
“As a staff, we will do the three ‘P’s’ – protect, prevent and prevail,” Koko said. “We will protect the local populace, prevent major disasters and prevail at our mission.”
Approximately 13 countries and more than 200 personnel from ECOWAS and the United States, and observers from several neighboring countries, are participating in this exercise. ECOWAS, with headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria, is a regional group of 15 countries, founded in 1975. Its mission is to promote cooperation and integration, with a view to establishing an economic and monetary union as a means of stimulating economic growth and development in West Africa.
Western Accord 13 will help build the capacity of the ECOWAS and U.S. Forces to provide mission command capability to support regional peace keeping operations.