Eastern African forces practice emergency response during field training exercise
December 13, 2009
DJIBOUTI, Djibouti - During the third day of the Eastern Africa Standby Brigade Field Training Exercise, approximately 1,500 participants from 10 countries of East Africa worked together on various fictional scenarios, Dec. 2, 2009, in Djibouti.
"This exercise is like any other exercise conducted within regions and is important because it is bringing together forces that have never worked together," said Lt. Col. P. K. Njema, Kenya Battalion commanding officer. "It is important for the region because its success will indicate that we are able to react to any situation that happens within the member states. So it is very important and its success can not be overemphasized."
Each military force is evaluated in response to scenarios written by Systems Consultants Services, an independent U.K. based consultancy firm.
The exercise area has been divided into five sectors, or provinces, and a different military force is responsible for each sector. From these sectors, each military force is given a fictional scenario and they must respond accordingly to resolve the situation, according to Frank Freeman, a retired British Army lieutenant colonel with SCS and the project manager for the exercise.
Scenarios scheduled for the day included an ambush, vehicles disabled blocking roadways, and a helicopter crash.
Along with the scenarios, a convoy of internally displaced people traveled throughout all sectors and required each force to assume control of the convoy until the border of the next sector.
"EASBRIG is a standby brigade that is to react to any situation that happens within the Eastern African Region," said Njema.
The goal of the exercise is to develop the EASF's multinational and multidimensional command, control and staff duties and their initial operation capabilities.
Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA), a component of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), has provided Djibouti with bilateral support as Djiboutians prepared for the field training exercise.
"[The U.S. service members'] visit and professional advice and their interaction with us has been very helpful," said Peter Marwa, the EASBRICOM director. "Also the command of CJTF-HOA here, has been very useful."