Natural Fire 2011

Monday September 12, 2011

What is it?

Natural Fire is a command post exercise directed by the U.S. Africa Command and conducted by the U.S. Army Africa. The participants are from the East African Community (EAC) countries and include Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. This exercise encourages countries of the EAC to think regionally. This exercise and academics will assist in developing a better understanding of the partner nations' capabilities and help refine their military disaster and pandemic response planning both nationally and regionally. The exercise will take place on Zanzibar, Tanzania from Sept. 11-21. In addition to the planned exercise event, a Countering Violent Extremism seminar will run in this time period as well. The number of participants will be approximately 300 personnel in total, with approximately 50-60 Americans. The balance will come from the EAC participants.

What has the Army done?

We deeply believe that increased cooperation enhances the ability to respond to complex emergencies. By sharing information on partner nations' capabilities, this will assist the five East African countries in refining their military disaster and pandemic response plans in support of overall national and regional plans. The exercise covers peace support operations, humanitarian assistance, disaster response, counter terrorism and counter piracy narratives. Last year's multilateral exercise was very well received by the participating African forces, and USARAF exercise planners have seen vast improvements in the planning and the responses in an exercise environment.

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

The future will see another iteration of Natural Fire in 2012. It will have a new name Eastern Accord, and will be held in a different country next year.

Why is this important to the Army?

Natural Fire reinforces Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and a United States partnership. It improves military interoperability between the regional armed forces. At this point over half of the humanitarian missions and peacekeeping missions are in Africa. The United States has trained most of these Africans through training and exercises like Natural Fire. Most of the United Nations humanitarian and peacekeeping missions in the world are in Africa, so Natural Fire is an example of how U.S. Army Africa is helping to ensure a more self-sufficient, secure and stable Africa.


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