ACCRA, Ghana -- Fourteen African partner countries, three western allies and United States Army representatives met at the Kofi Annan International Peace Keeping Training Center to round out the 2018 United Accord exercise plan April 30 -- May 4.
The combined planning team reviewed every sustainment and mission requirement necessary for U.S. Army Africa's largest combined, joint exercise of the year. Co-hosted by the Ghana Armed Forces, United Accord will include four major components: a computer-programmed exercise, field training exercise, jungle warfare school and medical readiness training exercise.
"What are we missing?" asked Lt. Col. Justin Sisak, a U.S. Army Africa exercise planner, during his in-brief to the combined planning team. "We need to ask ourselves if we are doing things right, if we are designing the right exercise, and, most importantly, what are we not doing that we should be?"
The 60-person combined planning team broke into two sections. The CPX section walked through the 16-day scenario, ensuring maximum training value for each participant flying in this summer. The FTX, MEDRETE and JWS team focused on food, water, fuel, ammunition and placing every one of the over 600 participants on flights coming in from across the globe.
"This is no small mission," said Scott McWhorter, United Accord's lead sustainment planner, about the sustainment challenges introduced by the international exercise. "Shipping in almost 600 personnel and tons of equipment takes careful planning, long in advance. However, it's a great opportunity to rehearse our efforts in case we ever needed to respond to a contingency or crisis here on the continent."
Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Canada, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Germany, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Togo and the U.S. all sent at least one representative to the final planning event.
United Accord will conclude with a regional leaders seminar. The RLS provides an opportunity for land force chiefs from West Africa to sit in a closed-door, off-the-record environment and candidly discuss challenges and threats facing their countries. The chiefs also discuss lessons learned, ultimately agreeing on solutions and tangible ways forward to accomplish mutual goals.
"Anyone who's worked in an international environment knows it's easier to move the ball forward if (distinguished visitors) have made some personal ties," said Gary Myers, U.S. Army Africa's regional leader seminar planner for United Accord, in reference to the importance of social events and dinners during the exercise.
On the last day of the weeklong planning event, participants traveled back to their home duty stations to relay pertinent information to their respective units.