Commander's Action Line


  Exercise Lion Focus Prepares U.S. Army Africa, Reserve Partners for Crisis Intervention

British troops from 102 Logistic Brigade brief their counterparts in the 79th Sustainment Command (Support), 143rd Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), along with members of the Italian army, the U.S. Air Force, and the U.S. Navy during Exercise Lion Focus '16 Sept. 19, 2016, in Vicenza, Italy. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Alexandra Hays, 79th Sustainment Command (Support)

Exercise Lion Focus Prepares U.S. Army Africa, Reserve Partners for Crisis Intervention

Story by Sgt. 1st Class Alexandra Hays, 79th Sustainment Command (Support)

VICENZA, Italy – In August 2014 senior planners in the Department of Defense met in Washington D.C., for Intergovernmental Tabletop Exercise '14—an exercise aimed at preventing mass atrocities—when the Ebola crisis broke out.

In the midst of that exercise and just before Lion Focus '14, rehearsal became reality: U.S. Army Africa was put on alert to assist in Operation United Assistance in Liberia.

The real-world implications of conducting multicomponent, Joint, multinational and inter-agency rehearsals for crises are evident; the time to start learning about other agencies' capabilities is not when a crisis is already underway. Exercise Lion Focus, a multicomponent, Joint exercise run by U.S. Army Africa, does just that—it provides a chance for organizations to come together and plan responses to plausible crises' on the African continent.

"The goal of this exercise is to create an environment based on real-world operations on the African continent that U.S. Army Africa will likely encounter in the future," said Navy Capt. Gregory L. Anderson, a Joint Staff training officer, based in Suffolk, Virginia.

This year's Lion Focus scenario—which was only the second iteration of the exercise in its current state—was based on crisis response to an African nation, and eventual turnover to another Department of Defense agency.

Military and inter-agency partners attended about a week of academic instruction on the problem set and capabilities available, then analyzed, planned, and responded to the scenario, all in a realistic way. Lion Focus '16 involved participants from all components—Active duty, Reserve, and National Guard—and all services, as well as international partners from Italy and British soldiers from the 102 Logistic Brigade out of Grantham, England.

"We try to keep the exercise as realistic as possible," said Dave Crotchett, lead exercise planner for U.S. Army Africa, based in Vicenza, Italy.

Crotchett explained that Lion Focus prepares U.S. Army Africa for the follow-on exercise, Judicious Response, which is United States Africa Command's (U.S. Army Africa's higher headquarters) validating exercise.





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