Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance Program

Wednesday August 31, 2011

What is it?

Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA), a State Department program, is an initiative designed to improve African ability to respond quickly to crises by providing selected militaries with the training required to execute humanitarian or peace support operations.

First and foremost, ACOTA is a train-the-trainer program. Mentors monitor classes given by African cadre, and then provide feedback to them on ways to enhance their classes, teaching techniques, and practical application. During practical exercises, U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) mentors attach or embed themselves with the platoon commander and platoon warrant officer and advise them on problem solving techniques and tactics.

What has the Army done?

By introducing the host military to a range of Peace Support Operation tasks, such as small unit leadership, convoy escort, checkpoint operations, disarmament operations, safe weapons handling, management of refugees and internally displaced persons, negotiations, rules of engagement and command and control enhances the capacities and capabilities of our African Partner Countries, regional institutions, and the continent's peacekeeping resources as a whole so they can plan for, train, deploy, and sustain sufficient quantities of professionally competent peacekeepers to meet conflict transformation requirements with minimal non-African assistance. For example, one ACOTA training tool is computer-assisted simulation, which tests command staff and peacekeepers elements on main principles. The system has been very well received by African forces, and USARAF mentors have seen vast improvements in the classes taught, the tactics being used, and the use of Troop Leading Procedures.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

A keystone of the ACOTA program is that all training is tailored to match an individual partner's needs and capabilities. USARAF-mentored training includes activities to establish an enduring PSO training capacity in each partner nation. Overseeing the maintenance of trainer skills and refresher training as required are part of the long-term ACOTA program.

Why is this important to the Army?

At this point over half of the peacekeepers in Africa are Africans and the United States has trained most of those Africans to be peacekeepers via programs like ACOTA. Most of the United Nations peacekeeping missions in the world are in Africa, so ACOTA is an example of how U.S. Army Africa is helping to train peacekeepers to ensure a more self-sufficient, secure and stable Africa.

Resources:

U.S. Army Africa

Africa Contingency Operations Training & Assistance (ACOTA)

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