JINJA, Uganda - Exercise planners from U.S. Army Africa, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, 1-327 Infantry Battalion and the Uganda Peoples Defence Force met Feb. 13-17 to conduct the initial planning event for Africa Readiness Training 2017 (ART 17), taking place this summer in Uganda.

The ART 17 exercise is designed to increase the readiness, capacity and interoperability of U.S. and Ugandan forces while validating mission command capability over aligned forces in an expeditionary capacity.

"It's nice to see the synergy between the Uganda and U.S. forces," said Maj. Ben Tumlinson, the U.S. Army Africa lead planner for the exercise. "After months of planning, to finally be able to work together for the first time as a team was exciting. You can definitely see the beginnings of a strong team being built."

Training during ART 17 is scheduled to consist of infantry squad, platoon and company situational training exercises and will culminate with an end of exercise live-fire exercise with mortars.

ART 17, scheduled for July 17 to August 4, will mark the third iteration of the exercise. Previous exercises took place in Spain in 2015 and in Senegal in 2016.

ART and the Accord exercise series are part of U.S. Army Africa's "African Horizons" which focuses on a long-term commitment to build strong partnerships on the African continent. Other efforts that build upon this are security cooperation events, such as train and equip missions and military-to-military exchanges, which occur continuously throughout the year between U.S. Army Africa and partner nations.