NAIROBI, Kenya -- Over 20 countries from all over the world gathered in Kenya to exchange information and focus on peacekeeping operations during Exercise Justified Accord 22 from Feb. 28 - March 18. More than 800 personnel from the U.S. joint force, inter-agencies, African Union and NATO participated in the exercise. Justified Accord 22 is a multi-component and multinational exercise with the goal to increase readiness and support enduring peace among the participants.
“Teams, everything is a team, the ultimate team sport is either responding to a crisis, people in need or going into combat, and it’s the relationships you build here; you’re building teams outside of your Army, your Navy, your Air Force, outside of your countries armed forces,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory K. Anderson, director of operations and cyber of U.S. Africa Command during closing ceremonies March 18. “These relationships will matter because you, my friends, will become teammates again on other fields and on other days here.”
The exercise focused on a multinational field training exercise, a command post exercise, and medical training to enhance peacekeeping operations in the region. Through enduring cooperation and teamwork the participating countries conducted a successful exercise; learning and exchanging information for best practices moving forward. “Exercise Justified Accord is a key piece of the broader U.S. approach to partnering with our African partners and building our collective readiness,” said Brig. Gen. Ronald A. Cupples, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa deputy commanding general. “Conducting this (exercise) with our Allies and partners demonstrates our firm commitment to foster regional security capacity across Africa.”
Justified Accord was hosted for the first time in Kenya at both the International Peace Support Training Center in Nairobi and at the Kenya Defence Forces School of Infantry in Isiolo.
“Our role is to partner, advise and assist the 21 countries participating in Exercise Justified Accord but we are also building relationships,” said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Ron Sturgeon, commander, 5th Battalion, 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade, Fort Bragg, N.C. “We have been working closely with other countries’ chiefs of staff; they are very knowledgeable on operations and the planning process. They have been intricate in the coaching and mentoring process throughout Justified Accord. Using several training evolutions, the goal is to support enduring peace and stability in the region. A few examples of how we do this are through annual events like the African Land Forces Summit and exercises including Justified Accord, theater security cooperation, and direct engagement.”
Cupples' SETAF-AF coordinated the exercise with Kenya Defence Force.
“It's important that the Southern European Task Force, Africa continue training with our partners here in Africa to understand our capabilities, strengths and weaknesses,” said Cupples. "Understanding these things gives us that opportunity to overcome our weaknesses and improve our relationships going forward. Improving our interoperability is essential. When we're faced with a crisis, that's not the time to be doing introductions. We want to have good relationships already built, good partnerships developed, so we can jump right into the fight and assist in the time of crisis.”
SETAF-AF is USAFRICOM's joint task force capable headquarters located in Vicenza, Italy. SETAF-AF coordinates all U.S. Army activities in Africa. The 2nd SFAB is regionally aligned to Africa and works alongside SETAF-AF to conduct security cooperation with African partners.