Justified Accord Prepares a Region for a Variety of Risks
Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Lt. Col. Peter Mwangi smiled broadly when asked about the effect of Exercise Justified Accord on his participating Soldiers.
“This multinational exercise is the best form of morale for our troops,” he told ADF.
The commanding officer of the KDF’s 27th Mechanized Infantry Battalion, Mwangi listed several goals of the exercise, singling out one that he felt was most important — promoting cooperation to neutralize terrorism in the East Africa region.
“We want to make sure our troops are ready,” he said.
Many of the exercise’s highlights went a long way toward accomplishing those goals.
Justified Accord is the largest military exercise in East Africa sponsored annually by United States Africa Command and led by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF).
From February 13 to 23, more than 1,000 participants from more than 20 nations took part in the exercise, which was based primarily in Nairobi and Isiolo, Kenya.
JA23 featured a live-fire field training exercise, an African Union staff officers course and humanitarian assistance projects.
Field exercises focused on deployment scenarios with multinational forces building capacity for tactical counterterrorism maneuvers and communications as well as medical and crisis responses.
Members of the Djiboutian and Rwandan militaries joined the KDF and the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF). Observers from Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Madagascar, the Netherlands and Tanzania were on site for the entire 10-day exercise.
Lt. Col. Paul Mukasa and the UPDF contingent participated in training to identify, neutralize and dispose of improvised explosive devices, which continue to pose a threat to the region since they are used by the Somalia-based terror group al-Shabaab.
“We have concurrent challenges in the Horn of Africa, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in Somalia,” he said in an interview with France 24 television. “All of these require cooperation.”
Mukasa said Justified Accord came at the right time for the UPDF, which is participating in peacekeeping missions under mandates of the African Union and the United Nations.
The AU staff officers course in Nairobi focused on building officers’ knowledge, skills, readiness and interoperability to best carry out tasks within U.N. and AU missions.
“Our peacekeeping missions will benefit from exchanging ideas with those training here in Kenya,” Mukasa said in a UPDF statement.
“It will enhance our understanding and build more capacity in handling peace support operations, build more combat readiness in our continuous fight against terrorism.”
In a first for Justified Accord, participants were trained in defensive cyber exercises at the International Peace Support Training Centre’s Humanitarian Peace Support School in the Nairobi suburb of Karen.
The training focused on incident identification and threat intelligence along with artifact collection, containment and eradication.
Mukasa said he appreciated how the training enhanced Uganda’s capability with emerging technologies and capacity for multinational interoperability.
“Cyber threats are real,” he said. “This makes defensive cyber operations good for us in this modern era. Technology continues to change and there is a need to step up in our day-to-day operations.”
On February 18, the KDF and U.S. Army partnered with Samburu County’s Department of Health for a free medical clinic for residents at a hospital in the village of Archer’s Post.
Ultimately, the exercise achieved all of its goals, said SETAF-AF deputy commanding general U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Thibodeau.
“It’s exciting to witness the military readiness and capabilities of a truly multinational force,” he said.
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