SHARED ACCORD is an annually scheduled, combined, bi-lateral US-partner nation event. This year, Mozambique is host for the event, which is designed to build partner nation capacity for conducting peace and stability operations, according to Captain Kate Vanden Bossche, public affairs officer for the exercise. Previously, SHARED ACCORD has taken place in locations such as Benin, Ghana, and Senegal.
The troops will also jointly provide free medical and dental care to three local communities, and rehabilitate two schools during the course of the 15-day exercise, according to Olson.
“This exercise is part of a solid, long-term, multi-faceted partnership between the US and Mozambican militaries,” said Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Olson, defence attached at the US Embassy in Maputo. “Hundreds of members of both our armed forces will participate together in various types of military training, including command post, live-fire training, and peace operations, as well as sharing their experience.”
“We are confident that this exercise will help develop Mozambique’s capabilities to offer additional security for its neighbors, keep Mozambique itself more free from threats to its own security, such as illegal fishing, trafficking in drugs or other illegal activities, or even the threat of piracy, and enhance its ability to effectively fight against poverty here at home,” Olson added.
Members of Mozambique’s Armed Forces for the Defence of Mozambique (FADM) also met with exercise planners to coordinate logistical and security support for SA10, AFRICOM reports.
A joint team of six service members, along with privately contracted dock workers, successfully offloaded and staged 262 pieces of gear from the BELUGA FUSION, a Liberian flag ship, in support of Exercise SHARED ACCORD, July 25, 2010 in Maputo.
The offloaded gear, which includes Humvees, 7-Tons, and bulldozers, will be used to sustain the mission and accomplish humanitarian initiatives established by US Marine Forces Africa, according to US Army Major Gina SanNicolas, commander for the 950th Transportation Company with the Surface Distribution and Deployment Command (SDDC).
“Our mission as pre-enablers was to make sure the ship was offloaded,” said Chief Petty Officer Robert Propp, battalion medical chief and ground safety manager with 4th Landing Support Battalion. “However, our mission has shifted to staging and moving the vehicles.”
Aircraft maintenance issues in the United States meant that the full advance team, replete with heavy equipment operators and engineers, would not arrive in time to conduct the first part of their mission and stage the vehicles, according to Propp. So a skeleton team of three Marines, one sailor and one soldier, was assembled and began functioning to complete the mission.
“What we’re doing out here is called mission success,” Propp said. “We are accomplishing this mission.”
Success with such small numbers is due in part to the makeup of the SDDC and its operators, according to SanNicolas.
“We are very small in size, but we have strategic impact through our agents,” SanNicolas said. “We become the centre of gravity, linking agents for the vessels with port authorities, and to the military sealift command. Also, because we had the 4th LSB on the ground, we were able to utilize that team and come with a plan. We pulled upon our experiences, established a great rapport, and overcame the challenges to react to a fluid timeline.”
The exercise, which is coordinated for US Africa Command by its Marine component, US Marine Forces Africa, is scheduled to conclude mid August. All US service members will return to their home bases in Europe and the United States at the conclusion of the exercise.