KIGALI, Rwanda -- Military planners from 19 nations gathered here Feb. 9 through Feb. 11 to begin the planning and preparation for the U.S. Army-led exercise, Shared Accord 2019, scheduled to take place in August.

SA19 consists of a command post exercise, field training exercise and medical readiness exercise that brings together military partners from African nations, along with participants from the United States, the Netherlands, Canada, and Italy to exercise peacekeeping operations.

"Last year was a very positive experience for all countries involved, and that is evident this year as we have people clambering for positions and trying to get more troops involved," said U.S. Army Africa Col. Brian Elliott, senior U.S. representative. "Success will continue to build on success moving forward, and we will continue to improve these exercises by using lessons learned."

This is the second Shared Accord exercise held in Rwanda and hosted by the Rwanda Defence Force. The scenario planned for the exercise reflects the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic.

"Last year's success at Shared Accord is clear to see by the diversity of the countries here that Shared Accord promotes partnership," said Zambia Defence Force Lt. Col. Audrey Mwila, staff officer grade one, training. "The more you interact with the other partner nations you bring something to the table you also take away a lot."

Planners will continue to work together to finalize planning of the exercise during the main planning event and the final planning event.

Mwila said "In the Army, we say 'the best way to prepare for war is to train,' so training for operations such as MINUSCA, you have troops who hit the ground running because they have better insight into what to expect. It helps develop lessons learned through the exercises opposed to the field."