A team from the 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade deployed to Kenya with their Djibouti Armed Forces partners as part of the U.S. Africa Command exercise Justified Accord, Feb. 13-23.
The largest ground forces exercise in Eastern Africa, led by the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), Justified Accord represents a milestone for the U.S./Djibouti military partnership with 2nd SFAB soldiers loading a U.S. Air Force C130 aircraft with their Djiboutian counterparts headed to Kenya.
Five months prior to the exercise, the SFAB team embedded with the Battalion Intervention Rapide (BIR), a special forces unit of the Djibouti Armed Forces, and began working with them as part of a regular six-month rotation of SFAB advisors. Justified Accord represents a culmination of that SFAB team’s work.
“We’ve developed a real comradeship with our friends here in Djibouti – they are absolute professionals,” said Master Sgt. Curtis Pitman, an SFAB assistant team leader. “After five months of learning from each other and training together, everyone was excited to go to this huge exercise and work as one combined team.”
The 2nd SFAB team facilitated a staff officer’s course based in the military decision making process for senior military leaders from 20 countries and four continents. The SFAB advisors also served as exercise trainers by providing a variety of hands-on tactical-level classes including Urban Operations, Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Civil-Military Cooperation.
SFAB teams and their soldier-advisors are designed to be multifunctional – they advise and train in a variety of skills, tasks and warfighting functions. From basic rifle marksmanship and squad tactics to the military decision making and operational planning, the small 12-20 soldier teams bring a large set of capabilities to their foreign partners.
“The SFAB teams eat, train, and live with our African partners on a persistent basis, and the value here for everyone involved just cannot be overstated,” said Lt. Col. Jason Porter, the SETAF-AF deputy chief of exercises. “They provide us with a real-time, on-the-ground, understanding of how we can better work with our African friends.”
Justified Accord is U.S. Africa Command’s largest exercise in East Africa. Led by SETAF-AF, 1,000 participants will take part in various events, based in Nairobi and Isiolo, Kenya. JA23 features a staff officer course, a multinational live-fire field training exercise, humanitarian assistance projects, as well as defensive cyber exercises. This is the first year cyber has been incorporated into Justified Accord.
2nd SFAB, based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is one of six security force assistance brigades. The SFABs advise, support, liase, and assist foreign military partners in peace and in conflict. The 2nd SFAB has a persistent mission supporting SETAF-AF on the African continent and has been present, simultaneously, in up to 15 African nations.