United States
Army Africa
USARAF builds, strengthens partnerships through accord exercises
The accord series is a U.S. Africa Command program composed of four annual, combined and joint military exercises that take place in African countries and encourage partnerships between participants from United States, African Union, European and other coalition partner forces and agencies.
U.S. Army Soldiers and members from the Zambian Defense Force work together during a daytime tactical movement at exercise Southern Accord 15 in Lusaka, Zambia, Aug. 5, 2015. The exercise provided U.S. military, United Nation allies and the Zambian Defense Force an opportunity to work and train together as a combined joint peacekeeping allied force. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball)
4 photos: USARAF builds, strengthens partnerships through accord exercises
Photo 1 of 4: U.S. Army Soldiers and members from the Zambian Defense Force work together during a daytime tactical movement at exercise Southern Accord 15 in Lusaka, Zambia, Aug. 5, 2015. The exercise provided U.S. military, United Nation allies and the Zambian Defense Force an opportunity to work and train together as a combined joint peacekeeping allied force. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis B. Unger, assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Hinesville, Ga., plots points on a map with a Gabonese service member during exercise Central Accord 16 in Gabon, June 17, 2016.  U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Yvette Zabala-Garriga)
4 photos: USARAF builds, strengthens partnerships through accord exercises
Photo 2 of 4: U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis B. Unger, assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Hinesville, Ga., plots points on a map with a Gabonese service member during exercise Central Accord 16 in Gabon, June 17, 2016. U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Yvette Zabala-Garriga) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, move gear across a wire during the team obstacle course at the French Jungle Warfare School in Gabon, June 10, 2016.  Soldiers attended the French Jungle Warfare School as part of U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord 2016, an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operation.  (U.S. Army photo by Yvette Zabala-Garriga)
4 photos: USARAF builds, strengthens partnerships through accord exercises
Photo 3 of 4: U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, move gear across a wire during the team obstacle course at the French Jungle Warfare School in Gabon, June 10, 2016. Soldiers attended the French Jungle Warfare School as part of U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord 2016, an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operation. (U.S. Army photo by Yvette Zabala-Garriga) Download full-resolution version
An U.S. Army Soldier and a Cameroonian Armed Forces soldier work together to secure a checkpoint during a simulated tactical movement at this year’s Central Accord exercise in Libreville, Gabon, on June 21, 2016. U.S. Army Africa’s exercise Central Accord 2016 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (Defense Department photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball)
4 photos: USARAF builds, strengthens partnerships through accord exercises
Photo 4 of 4: An U.S. Army Soldier and a Cameroonian Armed Forces soldier work together to secure a checkpoint during a simulated tactical movement at this year’s Central Accord exercise in Libreville, Gabon, on June 21, 2016. U.S. Army Africa’s exercise Central Accord 2016 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (Defense Department photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball) Download full-resolution version
U.S. Army Soldiers and members from the Zambian Defense Force work together during a daytime tactical movement at exercise Southern Accord 15 in Lusaka, Zambia, Aug. 5, 2015. The exercise provided U.S. military, United Nation allies and the Zambian Defense Force an opportunity to work and train together as a combined joint peacekeeping allied force. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Staff Sgt. Brian Kimball)
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Dennis B. Unger, assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, from Hinesville, Ga., plots points on a map with a Gabonese service member during exercise Central Accord 16 in Gabon, June 17, 2016.  U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Yvette Zabala-Garriga)
U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Bravo Co. 3rd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, move gear across a wire during the team obstacle course at the French Jungle Warfare School in Gabon, June 10, 2016.  Soldiers attended the French Jungle Warfare School as part of U.S. Army Africa's exercise Central Accord 2016, an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operation.  (U.S. Army photo by Yvette Zabala-Garriga)
An U.S. Army Soldier and a Cameroonian Armed Forces soldier work together to secure a checkpoint during a simulated tactical movement at this year’s Central Accord exercise in Libreville, Gabon, on June 21, 2016. U.S. Army Africa’s exercise Central Accord 2016 is an annual, combined, joint military exercise that brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping operations. (Defense Department photo by Tech. Sgt. Brian Kimball)

VICENZA, Italy – Soldiers representing U.S. Army Africa are currently in Cameroon for exercise Unified Focus 17, the second accord event of the year. The accord series is composed of four major events scheduled to take place intermittently on the African continent through the beginning of August. Exercise Justified Accord 17 was held in Ethiopia last month, and the following exercises, United Accord 17 and Shared Accord 17, will take place in Ghana and South Africa, respectively.

The accord series is a U.S. Africa Command program composed of four annual, combined and joint military exercises that take place in African countries and encourage partnerships between participants from United States, African Union, European and other coalition partner forces and agencies.

Although each event addresses a specific peacekeeping or security issue, they all share common objectives: communication and interaction between partners, and mutual readiness training, said Col. Anthony J. Healey, the U.S. Army Africa training, readiness and exercises director.

“The exercises facilitate enhancing information sharing and cooperation on regional security issues, strengthening regional access and freedom of movement, and increasing the participating forces’ abilities to collaborate on common missions and increase their readiness for real-world scenarios,” he said.

Until recently, each exercise was named for its targeted region. The current iterations, however, reflect the specific focus of the event instead, according to Healey.

“The exercises were regionally aligned: Southern Accord, Eastern Accord, Central Accord … but when AFRICOM changed (from region-based operations) to lines of effort-based operations, they changed the names to match,” he said.

The accord exercises generally can fall into one of three categories: tabletop, command post and field training.

Tabletop exercises often include senior personnel working through the decision-making process they would use in a crisis scenario. These exercises can take place in a classroom environment and include instruction from subject matter experts, Healey said.

Command post exercise are expanded tabletop exercises for commanders and staff. They require increased tactical operations and communications and may be simulation driven. These exercises can be conducted on a garrison or in the field.  

Field training exercises simulate realistic combat conditions and integrate the total force, involving combat units, drills and situational training exercises, as well as the personnel required for tabletop and command post exercises.

A year or more of planning and smaller events with other U.S., partner and host nation organizations go into each exercise, Healey said, which helps coordinators overcome some of the challenges that arise when multiple agencies and cultures work toward one vision and grapple with logistics.

“You’re bringing multiple agencies together and trying to come up with a singular plan to execute,” he said. “Does everyone agree with it? Can you support this? Where is the money coming from? You have to plan transportation well in advance, contracts have to be letted out … those are some of the challenges we have to work through to get from initiation to execution.”

Despite any difficulties that might accompany USARAF’s participation, there is inherent value in building and strengthening partnerships through the accord exercises, Healey said.

“Whenever we go anywhere on the globe these days, it’s going to be with another partner. (Through these exercises), we get that cultural understanding from working with partners, not just American forces. … Ensuring that everyone has a shared understanding of how to solve the issue in the scenario builds confidence between the partner nations and interagencies.”