NAIROBI, Kenya – Representatives from U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) and several partners nations met with exercise planners from the Kenyan Defence Forces to conduct the mid planning event for exercise Justified Accord 2024 (JA24) Sept. 11 - 15, 2023.
JA24 brings together service members from the U.S., Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Somalia, Djibouti and the U.K. Key highlights include a multinational live-fire field training exercise, counter-improvised explosive device awareness and combined company-level assault activities.
One of the driving factors for a successful exercise is trust among partner forces. The mid planning event allows multinational planners to sit down with each other and develop that necessary trust by working through all the details together.
The training portfolio has expanded significantly from a tabletop exercise with limited participants just a few years ago to over a thousand service members from approximately 20 nations converging in Kenya for JA24.
The exercise is scheduled for late February to early March, 2024.
Each iteration, planners continue to include progressive and innovative elements into the exercise scenario, reflecting the most pertinent issues impacting East Africa.
"It's exciting that this year's exercise will include a course discussing partner nation gender focal points through the Women, Peace and Security (WPS) initiative," said U.S. Army Maj. Teisha Barnes, a civil military operations officer with SETAF-AF. "In meeting with my KDF counterpart, Kenya has a significant interest in promoting the role of women in military service."
Along with the WPS exchange, an AU staff officer course, a command post exercise and defensive cyber course will heavily engage participants in crisis response operations. The classroom-based portion takes place simultaneously with maneuver elements out in the field.
A key objective during JA24 for the KDF is to enhance their ability to conduct training in an austere environment, while integrating their joint and interagency forces. To that end, this year's exercise will be hosted at a new Kenyan venue designed at doing just that.
Working together with the Kenya U.S. Liaison Office (KUSLO), KDF planners recommended the brand new, U.S.-built Counter Insurgency, Terrorism and Stability Operations Center (CITSO) as the primary location for field training exercises at JA24.
"CITSO allows the KDF and partner forces to meet several training objectives, realizing the potential for this new institution to support peacekeeping operations in the region," said U.S. Air Force Maj. Scott Gregory, U.S. Embassy Nairobi KUSLO officer. "The location is remote and has enough training area to support simultaneous maneuvers from multiple units."
JA24 will also feature a multinational air advisory exchange where partner nations will share best practices related to crisis response. The goal is to build, sustain and expand relationships and the capabilities of partner nation air forces.
Together with U.S. Navy-led activities in Mombasa, this year’s Justified Accord has expanded into a joint multinational, combined event. The exercise is poised to increase joint readiness in preparation for an actual disaster or crisis response.