By Capt. Jason WelchFebruary 2, 2018
Sitting on the coast of Lake Victoria, Jinja is home to the source of the River Nile, the longest river in the world. It's also home to the planning and preparation for a multinational peacekeeping exercise.
Military planners from the United States, Uganda, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom converged here Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 to continue the planning and preparation for the second annual U.S. Army Africa-led exercise Justified Accord 2018, scheduled to take place in June.
JA18 is a command post exercise that brings the military partners of East Africa, along with participants from the United States, United Kingdom, and the Netherlands, together to exercise peacekeeping operations that would be accomplished by a headquarters staff.
This is the second Justified Accord exercise and will be hosted by the Uganda Peoples' Defence Force (UPDF). The scenario planned for the command post exercise reflects ongoing peacekeeping operations being conducted in Africa.
Uganda has been a troop contributing country to multiple operations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations.
"The UPDF is a very reliable partner in the fight against terrorism," said Brig. Gen. J.A. Bakasumba, commandant of the Peacekeeping Support Operations Singo.
"We have the political will and there is the capability and experience of our forces," said Bakasumba.
Exercise participants will use AMISOM and East Africa Standby Force doctrine and procedures to execute their staff tasks, further enhancing their ability to work together during joint and combined operations.
There are both governmental institutions and non-governmental organizations that are participating in and contributing to the exercise including the International Committee of the Red Cross, Center of Excellence for Stability Police Operations and the United Nations Mine Action Service.
"There is a challenge in bringing all these organizations together, but there's also a benefit. Working with them helps us to ensure we are in compliance with the different authorities and mandates of these organizations," said Capt. Dimitri Facaros, U.S. Army Africa legal officer.
Planners worked together to develop the scenario that would challenge participants to tackle real world problem sets and consider how AMISOM military forces would work together to provide security and stability to the region.
"The UPDF are very willing and capable partners in exercise planning. They have set the bar fairly high for the Accord Series exercises," said Lt. Col. Casey Moes, U.S. Army Africa Justified Accord officer in charge.
Participants at the main planning event included officers from the militaries of Uganda, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and the United States. The planning team also reflected the multinational and multi-organizational nature of the current peacekeeping operations with representatives from the International Committee of the Red Cross and United Nations Mine Action Service.
Justified Accord planning efforts are led by USARAF and the UPDF, but the team also included both civilian and military personnel from the U.S. Air Force and Navy.
There is one more major planning event prior to the execution of the command post exercise where planners will complete the final preparations and establish the last details to shape the exercise in June.
"Throughout the week we've really come together as a team with our partners and UPDF hosts," said Moes.
"I'm confident that together we'll complete all our preparations in time for the exercise and I look forward to working alongside the UPDF in the future."