US Army Africa in partnership with Uganda’s People Defence Forces (UPDF), 4th Brigade 1st Armoured Division, Fort Bliss, Texas, and African partner nations, took part in an Eastern Accord (EA) 15 main planning event recently.
The combined-joint planning event hosted by UPDF included delegates from US Africa Command, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and the Peace Keeping and Stability Operations Institute. Partner nations included the Netherlands, Burundi, Djibouti, Rwanda, and Tanzania.
“It was beneficial to have so much experience and knowledge in one place. Having so much diversity and culture assisted in the planning process.” said Brig. Gen. Kenneth Moore Jr., deputy commanding general of USARAF.
EA 15 MPE brings together key leaders involved in the main exercise under one roof to review, refine and approve exercise concepts and to ensure mission success of the exercise scheduled for March 2015. Attendees accomplished the majority of objectives to include event scenarios, security plan, logistics and communication. All this was done hand-in-hand with African partners and partner nations in a week. Through classroom instruction and a command post exercise Eastern Accord 15 participants can improve capability to plan and employ their forces to effectively counter violent extremist organisations as well as enhance co-operation and co-ordination among participating partners.
“Coming here and understanding what our African partners were looking for and need is important. Although it was not easy, at the end of the day, we made progress.” said Warrant Officer Tony Hoffman, intelligence fusion chief, 4th Brigade, 1st Armoured Division.
Participants in EA 15 will hone their skills and experiences to conduct future peacekeeping operations in support of United Nations and African Union mandated operations in Eastern Africa.
Delegates confirmed EA 15 focuses on UN and AU peace support operations and strengthens military-to-military relationships and co-operation amongst all participants.
The 4th Brigade, 1st Armoured Division is scheduled to assume responsibility as USARAF’s regionally aligned force, known as RAF, in early 2015. With its mission set, the unit will plan and execute exercises on the African continent.
“Spending time away from family is always challenging, especially with the pace and operational tempo the Army has kept over the past decade plus of war. However, I think it is worth it and in the long run, the benefits far outweigh the cost,” Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Anderson, deputy commander for the 4th Brigade, 1st Armour Division, said.