By Spc. Jess Raasch, North Dakota Army National GuardAugust 28, 2010
ACCRA, Ghana- Africa Endeavor 2010 came to a close Aug. 20 with a ceremony held at the Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College parade grounds.
AE 2010 is a U.S. Africa Command-sponsored initiative intended to enhance interoperability and information exchange among African nations via communication networks and subsequent collaborative links with the United States, African Union and other African partners that share common goals of stability, security and sustainment.
"Future operations in Africa depend on the combined multinational militaries of the nations represented here today in order to effectively communicate amongst themselves," said Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, U.S. Army Africa commanding general.
During the annual two-week communications exercise, participants from 36 African nations, the AU, the Economic Community of Western African States, the Economic Community of Central African States, the United States and several European partners worked together to develop standard tactics, techniques and procedures to be used in future humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace support missions.
New areas of expertise addressed in Africa Endeavor 2010 included the first radio call to a vessel at sea from an AE event site. The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Mohawk sailing off the coast of Africa ran the test, allowing AE participants to challenge themselves in establishing land-to-sea communications. After a couple attempts, the land-to-sea radio call was a success, proving that African nations could maintain communication between inland locations and their maritime forces.
"We are fighting for unity and interoperability with our partners to establish high levels of efficiency," said Lt. Gen. Peter Blay, Chief, Defense Staff of the Ghana Armed Forces. "The outcome of AE 2010 has given assurance that we are on track to achieve the ultimate goal of interoperability between our forces."
Another incorporated training event was a satellite call conducted from the AE site in Accra to the AU Peace Support Operations Center in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The demonstration showed AE participants how useful reliable communication between the nations and the AU is during times of disaster relief.
"The newly incorporated signal techniques will be planned for and incorporated in future exercises," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Britt Talbert, AE 2010 exercise director.
Through newly incorporated training and careful planning, AE 2010 proved to achieve its goal of taking a step forward in improving interoperability and creating new ties between African nations.
"By taking part in this event we have demonstrated a commitment to harness the power of communication technology for ensuring the long-term peace, stability, and prosperity of the African continent," said Hogg.
"Africa Endeavor is a great opportunity to meet people and it gives us an opportunity to check interoperability communications for all military personnel," said Maj. Bachirou Farta of Burkina-Faso.
"Here we have the opportunity to know another country, and this is very important because of the many different cultures in Africa. When I go back to my country, I will teach my people many things from my good experiences here for the military," he said.
African nations participating in AE 2010 included Algeria, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Seychelles, Southern Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
The first AE was held in Pretoria, South Africa, in 2006. Subsequent exercises took place in Abuja, Nigeria, in 2008 and in Libreville, Gabon, in 2009.