Overview/Operations of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) LTC Leda Rozier
U.S. Army Africa: A Team Like No Other MG William B. Garrett III
Exercise in Africa Breaks Many Molds Rita Boland
Overview/Operations of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM)
LTC Leda Rozier
On 6 February 2007, President Bush and Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the creation of USAFRICOM. The decision was the culmination of a 10-year thought process within the Department of Defense (DOD) acknowledging the emerging strategic importance of Africa, and recognizing that peace and stability on the continent impacts not only Africans, but the interests of the U.S. and international community as well. Yet, the department's regional command structure did not account for Africa in a comprehensive way, with three different U.S. military headquarters maintaining relationships with African countries. The creation of USAFRICOM enabled DOD to better focus its resources to support and enhance U.S. initiatives that help African nations, the African Union, and the regional economic communities succeed. It also provides African nations and regional organizations an integrated DOD coordination point to help address security and related needs.
The designers of USAFRICOM clearly understood the relationships between security, development, diplomacy, and prosperity in Africa. As a result, USAFRICOM reflects an integrated staff structure that includes significant management and staff representation by the Department of State (DoS), U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and other U.S. government agencies involved in Africa. The command also incorporates partner nations and humanitarian organizations, from Africa and elsewhere, to work alongside the U.S. staff on common approaches to shared interests.
USAFRICOM, in concert with other U.S. Government agencies and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.
Organization: An organizational chart of USAFRICOM is located on the following page.
Headquarters, USAFRICOM is located at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. The command has a significant U.S. military presence in numerous African nations, to include Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, as well as DOD personnel assigned to U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions to coordinate defense programs supporting U.S. diplomacy.
In early December 2008, the U.S. ambassador to Italy and the Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs announced in Rome that the South Eastern Task Force (SETAF) officially assumed duties as the Army component headquarters for AFRICOM. As the Army Component Command, they, in concert with national and international partners, conduct sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote peace, stability, and security in Africa. As directed, SETAF deploys as a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response.
Figure 5-1. USAFRICOM organizational chart
U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) established the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) on 19 October 2002. Since then, CFTF-HOA personnel have used military-to-military mentorship as the cornerstone to building partner country security capacity.
Seventeenth Air Force (17 AF) was activated on 25 April 1953 at Rabat, Morocco. 17 AF supported a geographic area of North Africa, Portugal, Austria, the Middle East, Pakistan, India, Ceylon, and the Mediterranean Islands. The command's units and resources steadily expanded through the mid-1950s. In August 1956, HQ USAFE relocated 17 AF headquarters to a more central location at Wheelus Air Base, Libya, as the command expanded into Italy, Greece, and Turkey. The command exchanged its support mission for the defensive and offensive air missions in Central Europe in 1959. The headquarters was then relocated in November 1959 to Ramstein AB, Germany. The command's inventory included more than 500 tactical and 150 support aircraft operating from bases in Germany, France, the Netherlands, and Italy. After the 1961 Berlin Crisis and a U.S. Air Force Europe (USAFE) headquarters reorganization, 17 AF assumed responsibility for five bases in Great Britain from Third Air Force.
In December 2007, the U.S. Air Force began organizing its air component of USAFRICOM, later to stand up as the 17 AF.17 AF, also known as Air Forces Africa, supports USAFRICOM via command and control of air forces to conduct sustained security engagement and operations as directed to promote air safety, security and development. For the foreseeable future, the 17 AF will operate as a functional staff, without assigned weapon systems, and be headquartered at Ramstein AB, Germany.
U.S. Naval Europe-U.S. Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of responsibility (AOR) covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean, from the North Pole to Antarctica; as well as the Adriatic, Baltic, Barents, Black, Caspian, Mediterranean, and North Seas. NAVEUR-NAVAF also covers all of Europe and nearly the entire continent of Africa. It encompasses 105 countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and includes a landmass extending more than 14 million square miles. The AOR covers more than 20 million square nautical miles of ocean, touches three continents, and encompasses more than 67 percent of the Earth's coastline, 30 percent of its landmass, and nearly 40 percent of the world's population.
On 14 November 2008, Marine Forces Africa (MARFORAF) officially began operations in Africa. MARFORAF's strategic and tactical roles will include civil affairs and supporting humanitarian missions when necessary. Additionally, MARFORAF will support improving peacekeeping operations, supporting counterterrorism, and reducing threats from groups that are committed to violent extremism. MARFORAF is responsible for the entire African continent with the exception of Egypt. Specific Marine commands have supported the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership over the last few years and have been stationed on the African Partnership Station.
Africa Command has administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to U.S. government policy in Africa, to include military-to-military relationships with 53 African nations. Through the African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) program, USAFRICOM provides mentors for a number of command post exercises. Once trained, these ACOTA forces can be deployed under the auspices of the Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), or regional security organizations. USAFRICOM and its components will continue to support ACOTA by providing mentors/advisors to participate in missions, coordinate ACOTA missions into AFRICOM's overall engagement efforts and continue to collaborate with European nations interested in partnering with peacekeeping training, and as part of the ongoing military-to-military relationships.
USAFRICOM Operation Enduring Freedom Trans-Sahara (OEF-TS) provides military support to the Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism (TSCP) program. OEF-TS engagements in the TSCT program focus on overall security and cooperation rather than solely on counter terrorism. The OEF-TS partnership comprises the United States and 10 African countries.
Through OEF-TS, U.S. AFRICOM trains, equips, assists, and advises partner nations through activities including, but not limited to the following:
USAFRICOM engages OEF-TS nations and supports the TSCT program through a variety of activities, such as:
The Africa Deployment Assistance Partnership Team (ADAPT) facilitates sustained security engagements and supports existing theater security cooperation programs such as ACOTA and Africa Partnership Station (APS). ADAPT bridges the gap between limited capacity and a nation's will to participate in peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance/DR activities. To accomplish its mission, USAFRICOM components provide instruction via traveling contact teams (TCTs) of three to six personnel, focusing on military logistics and transportation.
The APS is a U.S. Navy-led program aimed at strengthening emerging partnerships in West and Central Africa to increase regional and maritime safety and security. The APS is a series of activities which build maritime safety and security in Africa in a comprehensive and collaborative manner. The APS is typically aboard a ship; as such, it functions as a mobile university, moving from port to port fostering long-term relationships between the United States and international partners. Training events focus on broad ranges of areas including maritime domain awareness, leadership, navigation, maritime law enforcement, search and rescue, civil engineering, and logistics. Crew members also participate in humanitarian assistance efforts led by interagency and non-governmental organizations in support of the U.S. embassy and country plans.
The International Military Education and Training (IMET) program provides funds for international personnel to attend U.S. military professional training programs. The overall objectives of the IMET program are to further the goal of regional stability through effective, mutually beneficial military-to-military relations, provide training that augments the capabilities of participant nations' military forces, and increase the ability of foreign military and civilian personnel to instill and maintain democratic values.
The Partnership for Integrated Logistics Operations and Tactics (PILOT) is a joint Canadian government/USAFRICOM initiative aimed at building long-term operational logistics planning capacity within the African Union Standby Force (ASF) while simultaneously promoting interoperability between the U.S. military and the ASF. PILOT familiarizes mid-level ASF officers with the knowledge and techniques necessary to be successful in both complex and traditional peacekeeping missions. The PILOT programs are assigned to provide participants with the skills they need to be more effective logisticians for roles in UN or African Union peacekeeping missions and improve deployment and sustainment capabilities of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force (ESF) through multinational collaboration.
U.S. forces serve as examples of military professionalism while supporting DoS and USAID programs and activities. Projects include schools and clinics, health programs, well-digging, clothing, and food donations. The PILOT program also promotes stability and improves disaster response. As well, as in counties with high HIV/AID rates, the United States works at the military-to-military level to fund and coordinate awareness, treatment programs, and clinics, enabling African troops to participate in UN and African Union missions.
The following are samples of engagements USAFRICOM has supported either directly or indirectly on the continent.
Sample of Countries Supported
The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) supports the International Support Training Center (IPSTC) by providing mentors to the African Contingency Operations Training Assistance (ACOTA) program. Former military contract instructors put a "military face" on the training.
The International Peace Support Training Center (IPSTC) is a Kenyan Ministry of Defense organization which trains military, police, and civilian personnel in all aspects of peace support operations.
U. S. Army Medical Research Unit - Kenya (USAMRU-K) is one of five U.S. military research overseas labs. USAMRU-K was first established in 1969 at Kenya's invitation to study trypanosomiasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by the tsetse fly. In 1973, the unit was permanently set up in Nairobi, working through an agreement with the Kenya Medical Research Institute. USAMRU-K has 10 U.S. Army Soldiers, two Army civilians, and more than 400 Kenyan contractors -- a mix of doctors, nurses, scientists, and laboratory technicians who work together to research, test, and prevent disease.
U.S. AFRICOM facilitated Exercise Africa Endeavor in 2009, allowing 25 African nations to test their abilities to communicate with each other for two weeks. The exercise tested the nations' information technology equipment to determine if they could communicate with each other via e-mail, Internet, and radio. Furthermore, the exercise teaches the countries how to communicate with each other during operations outside their country of origin (e.g., during peacekeeping operations where they have forces from 10 or more countries in the area). The goal, as a learning point during the exercise, is to be able to talk via radio or send data and have that information be successfully received by another country, regardless of the kind of equipment used.
Air Forces Africa senior leaders met recently in Mali and Senegal to discuss improving air domain capacity and building airman skill sets for African air forces. Forces in both of these West African nations perform a variety of military operations, ranging from support, to peacekeeping operations, to internal border defense, to humanitarian assistance.
Topping the list of theater security cooperation objectives between Mali and U.S. forces are enhanced aircraft maintenance and logistics systems, increased interoperability with U.S. and other regional partners, and further professionalizing of Mali's defense forces.
In addition to meeting with the Air Force chief of staff and touring operations and maintenance facilities, U.S. senior leaders served as guest speakers at the graduation ceremony of the first class of instructors for the Senegalese NCO Academy. Since its inception in 1971, the Senegalese NCO academy has trained more than 2,100 noncommissioned officers (NCOs), and now has produced the first 12 instructors trained in-house. Currently, many officers and NCOs attend training courses--ranging from pilot training, to core skill training, to professional military education--in other African and European nations as well as the United States.
Members of the U.S. Office of Security Cooperation (OSC) arranged site visits and interviews with senior members of the Botswana Defense Force (BDF), and local non-governmental organizations (NGO) where discussions focused on the State Partnership Program relationship between the BDF and the North Carolina National Guard. Discussions also covered training and how the BDF benefits from training opportunities for its soldiers under the International Military Education and Training program. USAFRICOM provides training and curriculum assistance to the BDF Defense Command and Staff College (DCSC) in suburban Gaborone.
Through USAFRICOM's Humanitarian Assistance Program, a Botswana-based non-governmental organization (NGO), named Tebelope (Setswana for "going forward") provides voluntary counseling and testing.
Operation Survive and Thrive, now in its fourth year, is held annually to encourage BDF soldiers to learn their HIV status through voluntary counseling and testing. This year's campaign slogan, "Sekwata," is a Setswana language term associated with the military in Botswana that essentially translates as "squad mate" or "battle buddy," aimed to encourage soldiers and their peers to get tested and to promote responsible behavior.
Sekwata and Operation Survive and Thrive are part of a cooperative effort between the U.S. Department of Defense and the BDF to reduce HIV infections among soldiers, family members, and local civilians as well as improve force readiness within the BDF. These campaigns are funded through a $2 million program under the president's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, managed by the USAFRICOM's Office of Security Cooperation at the U.S. Embassy in Gaborone.
Representatives from the U.S. Embassy in Mauritius and the Government of Seychelles hosted an event to address questions related to the presence of the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in the island nation. The MQ-9 Reaper is the first hunter-vehicle designed for long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance used by the U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy.
The media and other guests received a brief overview of the MQ-9's capabilities as well as information on how the war on piracy needs to be fought on many fronts, nationally and internationally. With 1.3 million square kilometers of ocean in the Seychelles exclusive economic zone, combatting piracy is a complex problem that requires a wide range of resources.
The temporary stationing of MQ-9s in the Seychelles falls under the operational authority of USAFRICOM. This effect is part of a collaboration between the U.S. and Seychelles governments to determine the feasibility of using UAVs in support of maritime and border-related security initiatives in and around the Indian Ocean.
The Liberian harbor of Greenville recently reopened for use after Dutch and U.S. naval survey teams completed joint hydrographic surveys of its waterways, clearing the way fot commercial traffic to begin using the harbor again.
The week-long, joint surveys in Liberia focused on the harbors of Buchanan, Greenville, and Monrovia. Motion reference, multi-beam echo sounding, and precise global positioning system (GPS) technologies were used to paint a complete picture of each harbor's sea floor. The naval survey teams also installed tide gauges to document the ever-changing levels of tides in each harbor. The surveys generated data necessary to produce up-to-date navigational charts, making each harbor more accessible to commercial maritime traffic, in turn contributing to each harbor's economic development and maritime safety. Although the Greenville harbor is reopened for use, the port must await commercial industry verification prior to allowing commercial traffic.
Additionally, APS brings an international team of maritime experts, including elements from Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, and the United States to offer assistance in addressing maritime safety and security challenges (e.g., unlawful, unregulated, and illegal fishing, piracy, and illicit trafficking). APS began as a U.S. initiative under U.S. Naval Forces Africa, the Navy component of USAFRICOM.
During a recent visit to Mali, where the official language is French, members of U.S. Air Forces Africa toured the Malian Air Force English Language Lab in Bamako. The lab in Bamako is one of three such labs spread across the country to prepare officers for training in the United States and other nations, as well as participation in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
The Bamako lab currently conducts two six-month programs and produces about 40 graduates a year, with materials provided through the U.S. Embassy and U.S. DOD. Two classes are taught each day in morning and afternoon sessions.
Instructors for the labs are resourced from the Malian defense forces. Instructor candidates are given a test; those with top scores attend an immersion course at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, provided through funding from the U.S. DoS's International Military Education and Training Program. In 2009, program funding totaled more than $18 million, with participants from 49 African nations.
As stated previously, Air Forces Africa senior leaders met recently in Mali and Senegal to discuss improving air domain capacity and building airman skill sets for African air forces. Forces in Mali and Senegal perform a variety of military operations, ranging from support to peacekeeping operations to internal border defense to humanitarian assistance. Air mobility is a necessary component if they are to execute these missions successfully.
Topping the list of theater security cooperation objectives between Mali and U.S. forces are enhanced aircraft maintenance and logistics systems, increased interoperability with the U.S. and other regional partners, and further professional development of Mali's defense forces.
Malian defense leaders noted that a long-term strategy that improves their capability will benefit other nations in the region and around the world.
"Our common framework is combating terrorism," said General Poudiougou, General Chief of Staff of the Mali Air Force. "More engagement and discussion will allow us to build a better common operating picture in combating terrorism at a worldwide level."
USAFRICOM's support of long-term missions with it's partner nations has increased their capacity to provide their own security through sustained engagements. Enabling these partner nations to provide their own security in the region increases their capacities to control borders and increases the effectiveness of their military forces.
U.S. Army Africa: A Team Like No Other
MG William B. Garrett III
From ARMY Magazine, September 2009. Copyright 2009 by the Association of the U.S. Army. Limited reprint permission granted by AUSA.
When a U.S. Air Force C-17 landed at Kigali International Airport, Rwanda, in early January to airlift vital equipment to peacekeepers in Sudan, it marked a change in U.S. policy toward assisting in the Darfur peacekeeping mission. It also marked a change for the U.S. Army in Africa. Just a few weeks before, in early December 2008, Southern European Task Force (SETAF) began its transformation to become U.S. Army Africa, the Army component to U.S. Africa Command.
CPT Charlie Jones and SSG Brian Ruse, two U.S. Army Africa soldiers, were on the tarmac that day, assisting Rwanda Defense Force (RDF) soldiers with uploading the U.S. cargo plane. The team was sent to mentor RDF logisticians on how U.S. soldiers load aircraft and support logistical missions; they were at the right place at the right time. In early January, then-President George W. Bush authorized the airlift mission. On January 14, U.S. cargo planes landed at Kigali, where the RDF soldiers loaded their equipment using lessons learned from their U.S. Army Africa mentors. In turn, the partnership effort offered immediate support to multinational peacekeepers serving in Sudan's war-torn region.
This type of engagement is indicative of U.S. Army Africa's new role. Small groups of soldiers with unique skill sets partner with African militaries to share knowledge and information, allowing Africans to choose which ideas apply to their situations and empowering them to resolve problems their own way.
U.S. Army Africa spent the first weeks of 2009 gearing up for missions in Africa during Lion Focus, a two-week exercise conducted concurrently with a mission readiness exercise at the Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va., that prepared troops heading to Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa. The goal was to improve the way our headquarters staff plans and conducts operations, with an Africa focus. It also gave U.S. Army Africa staff its first look at the road ahead, a major change from past operations. Based in Vicenza, Italy, SETAF supported NATO missions for more than 50 years, focusing primarily in Europe. Five times within the last 15 years, however, SETAF deployed assets to Africa in support of crisis-response operations.
U.S. Army Africa's new mission is twofold: conducting sustained security engagements with African land forces to promote security, stability and peace; and providing a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response. U.S. Army Africa staff have tackled their new mission, planning and participating in ongoing U.S. Africa Command missions and taking on new initiatives.
In February, a U.S. Army Africa officer went under way with the USS Nashville as part of the U.S. Navy's Africa Partnership Station, a training, goodwill and outreach mission to the five West African nations of Senegal, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon and Gabon.
In March, CSM Earl Rice and SSG Christopher Upp represented U.S. Army Africa during a visit to South Africa's Special Forces (SASF), a mission conducted jointly with the U.S. Army Ranger Training Brigade. SASF leaders had previously attended a U.S. Army Ranger School graduation, and after seeing how Ranger professionalism is combined with technical and tactical proficiency, they invited the U.S. soldiers to South Africa to discuss the development of a course for junior leaders. While plans are to have SASF troops interact with U.S. Army Africa noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and U.S. Army Rangers to build South African military capacity, it was U.S. soldiers who had a taste of hardcore SASF training. A few weeks after the initial visit, three Army NCOs underwent a grueling three-week survival course in the South African bush, learning valuable lessons on adapting to the environment, maintaining endurance and overcoming nearly insurmountable challenges-a "tool kit" they carried back to their units.
Later in March, a U.S. Army Africa team headed to Gaborone, Botswana, to share their logistics knowledge with a group of officers from the Botswana Defense Force. Once again, a small team that included a senior NCO and a warrant officer was effective, offering Army ideas on movement control while opening a two-way dialogue on the challenges of carrying out operations in Africa. Building rapport with soldiers in partner nations is an added benefit from such engagements, which can lead to future opportunities to share information on critical Army skills with soldiers in Botswana and elsewhere.
Throughout the year, U.S. Army soldiers serving under Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa have partnered with several African militaries. Soldiers from the 218th Field Artillery Regiment based at Fort Still, Okla., recently wrapped up a 15-month tour conducting military-to-military mentorship programs in Uganda, Ethiopia and other East African countries. Soldiers also lent their military expertise to several missions under the U.S. State Department's Africa contingency operations training and assistance program.
Meanwhile, in the United States, Kenyan military officers visited the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Senior NCOs from Kenya visited U.S. Army NCO training at Fort Benning, Ga., and toured the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas.
In April, U.S. Army Africa staff attended the Land Forces Symposium in Nairobi, Kenya. During discussions with senior African military leaders, the primary topic was not simply how the U.S. Army can help now, but rather a dialogue on achieving long-term goals through planning and partnership.
Our bottom line is that U.S. Army Africa efforts must support the policies and plans established by the U.S. embassy in each nation, many of which have U.S. Army officers serving as defense attachés. There are no plans for a large U.S. Army footprint in Africa; the deployment of a battalion or a brigade would happen only in the case of a crisis. Instead, the command deploys small teams of mentors. These teams work traditional "train-the-trainer" missions, building the capacity of partner nations' instructors and enabling them to turn around and teach their own people.
A great example of this took place recently in Rwanda. Two senior U.S. Army Africa NCOs joined a British-led mentorship mission held in Gabiro. The task was the classic infantry "four stack" for clearing buildings. One afternoon, Rwanda Defense Force instructors gathered in the shade of a tree, taking in each step. Then they walked through the tactic. By the next morning, the RDF instructors were teaching their own troops.
As we move forward, mentorship is also happening at senior levels. In Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, four U.S. Army lieutenant colonels are at the core of teaching and leadership within the Ethiopian army war college. African officers and NCOs also attend stateside U.S. Army schools, such as the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
Success in Africa can only be achieved through partnership with other services within the U.S. military, other governmental agencies and civilian organizations. With no assigned forces, U.S. Army Africa relies on support from commands within the active component, the National Guard and the Army Reserve. In some cases, citizen-soldiers have unique skills and niche capabilities that active component soldiers do not.
This spring, LTG Clyde A. Vaughn, then-director of the Army National Guard, and LTG Jack C. Stultz Jr., chief of the U.S. Army Reserve and commanding general of the U.S. Army Reserve Command, met with key U.S. Army Africa leaders to discuss how citizen-soldiers' important capabilities- from those of civil affairs personnel and engineers to medics and military police-can be put to good use in Africa.
U.S. Army Africa also uses established efforts, Such as the National Guard's state partnership program (SPP), to further U.S. Army interaction with African nations. For more than 15 years, U.S. soldiers have worked with foreign militaries during SPP events. In all, there are seven state partnerships with African nations: California with Nigeria, New York with South Africa, North Carolina with Botswana, Utah with Morocco, Vermont with Senegal, Wyoming with Tunisia and North Dakota with Ghana. Often, U.S. National Guard units fulfill similar roles to the militaries of partner countries in Africa, training to both deploy in support of national missions and respond to local emergencies.
In October, U.S. Army Africa will lead an exercise in Uganda based on a disaster scenario that warrants immediate crisis response. It will validate what It will validate what we've learned, test our abilities to operate safely and successfully on the continent, and mark places for improvement. Most of all, it will bring together U.S. soldiers with African troops from five partner nations, an interoperability challenge that will allow U.S. Army Africa to deepen our understanding of their abilities and map future mentoring missions to build African military capacity.
Army Africa is America's premier Army team, dedicated to achieving positive change in Africa. Our missions in Africa will continue to be both complex and novel as situations change. The rewards will be high, as we have a chance to forestall crises rather than merely respond. Together, we will make a positive difference-for our nation and for the people of Africa.
Exercise in Africa Breaks Many Molds
Reprinted with permission from the January 2010 issue of SIGNAL Magazine.
A new host, new participants, and requests for industry involvement are a few changes for annual event. African nations are overcoming the tyranny of distance posed by their massive continent through an exercise designed to increase command, control, communications and computer capacity. Representatives from more than two dozen African countries met in Gabon at the end of last September through the beginning of October to test technology compatibility. The event helps build relationships and enhance interoperability during disaster relief and peacekeeping missions. The most recent effort built off past exercises and included a variety of first-time occurrences. It also identified new areas of need such as the addition of an information assurance technical working group.
The annual Africa Endeavor communications exercise not only includes individual African nations but also involves the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU). Two European countries-Sweden and Switzerland-participate in technical advisory roles. The U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) served as the facilitator in 2009 for the first time. Previously, U.S. European Command (EUCOM) filled that role.
Africa Endeavor is an offshoot of Combined Endeavor, a EUCOM area-of-responsibility exercise. Countries participating in Combined Endeavor have more robust technologies and working groups. When AFRICOM came into existence, it logically inherited Africa Endeavor. "So we facilitate it and enable all these countries to come together," Cmdr. Britton Talbert, USN, exercise director of Africa Endeavor, AFRICOM, says. Some participants need help traveling to the exercise, so the command contributes what it can to help them make the trip. Other responsibilities include setting up logistics and working with the host nation. Cmdr. Talbert explains that his command's goal is to have the host nation do the work and present the exercise, while AFRICOM helps in any way it can, including answering questions and providing requested assistance. The command's goal down the road is for the AU to run the exercise completely.
Also new in 2009, the Economic Community of Central African States observed the exercise for the first time and will participate in 2010. "That was a big deal," Cmdr. Talbert says. He adds that African nations put heavy emphasis on regional organizations, which have a strong influence over countries. Participation by such organizations helps the event succeed. The exercise has been planned for the last four years, but 2009 marked only the third execution because of a last-minute cancellation the previous year. The event would have been held in South Africa in 2008 and was held in Nigeria the two previous years. The 2009 Africa Endeavor took place in Libreville, Gabon.
An overarching goal of Africa Endeavor is to support the AU and the standby brigade in the command, control, communications and computers (C4) realm so forces can communicate during relief efforts. Another major goal for the event is for African nations to enhance their C4 capacity. "That's an underlying theme for the whole exercise," the commander states. During the exercise, countries test their equipment to ensure it is compatible with that used by neighboring countries. "The bottom line is that if there's a natural disaster or peacekeeping operation and several countries contribute forces, the goal is that they'll already know which communications equipment is compatible with each other," Cmdr. Talbert explains.
Placing a heightened effort on increasing the capacity of the countries enables the nations to handle peacekeeping and disaster response operations more quickly on a continent that includes many developing nations. Cmdr. Talbert says AFRICOM is there to help those countries increase their C4 capacity and to assist them in any way the command can when the countries ask for help.
A significant discovery during this year's exercise uncovered difficulties with information assurance (IA). One issue was contamination of portable drives. Technicians bring computers to all the planning conferences. "As part of the processes and procedures we're trying to implement, we scan all the thumb drives," Cmdr. Talbert says. "At the planning conference, every single thumb drive that was scanned had a virus on it."
To help mitigate the effect from contaminated drives, the event introduced policies and procedures to help ensure that they were virus-free. Personnel set up scanning stations and held classes and distributed material on topics such as malicious software and how to protect computers with antivirus software. The problems were so widespread that, this year, an IA technical working group will be added to the two previously established technical working groups: single channel radio (voice) and data networks. IA formerly was part of the data networks working group. As more specific questions about IA started coming in from the participants, the African delegation chief said the nations would like to introduce a technical group to deal with the area. "It's what they wanted, so we're all for it," Cmdr. Talbert says. Each nation contributes at least one technician to each of the technical working groups.
The IA technical working group was not the only change African nations requested for the future. The countries also would like to see an operational side of Africa Endeavor. Unlike many military exercises, Africa Endeavor has not involved fictional scenarios; participants simply tested their technologies with others. For 2010, Cmdr. Talbert says, exercise planners will introduce a scenario that requires C4 models. Various delegation chiefs will compose a working subgroup to create the scenario for which technicians from the various countries will create and test a communications architecture. The change enables participants to take their testing and apply it to operational situations so they can practice for events such as disasters or peacekeeping missions.
The Joint Interoperability Testing Command administers and runs the testing during Africa Endeavor. At the end of the event, a book is released that shows the result of every test so that countries have a reference. For example, a country such as Cameroon can use this book to determine which of its equipment works best with Kenya's equipment in the event the two nations conduct an operation together, Cmdr. Talbert explains. "It shows status of compatibility," he says.
The commander emphasizes that a failed test during the exercise is not necessarily a bad result. Failures identify problems that two countries can explore and resolve technically, whether the issue is on voice or data equipment. Cmdr. Talbert says Africa Endeavor offers the venue to work out just such problems. "If all the tests ... worked, we wouldn't have any problems to identify," he shares.
Another important part of the exercise has nothing to do with technology. Cmdr. Talbert calls the human interoperability portion of Africa Endeavor a "huge deal." The event creates a platform for more than two dozen nations to meet at the annual exercise as well as the planning conferences, enhancing relationships and bonds between the countries. "That carries forward once they get home and start interacting with their neighbors and other countries in their region," Cmdr. Talbert says.
All the meetings strengthen bonds and relationships from the delegation chief level through the technician level. "It's an exercise for the Africans, run by the Africans, enhancing African C4 capabilities," Cmdr. Talbert says. The commander also explains that increasing the C4 capabilities of the African nations and forwarding the human relationships are what make Africa Endeavor important. The exercise generally includes three planning conferences held once a quarter beginning in December. The planning conferences have less attendance than the actual exercise, but they still bring together representatives of various countries. Generally, the Africa Endeavor event itself takes place in July, but in 2009 it was postponed because of elections in Gabon.
One of the biggest challenges of Africa Endeavor also is on the human side. The commander shares that having representatives from so many countries on the continent gather in one place and talk to each other-in this case to discuss C4 issues-helps solve many problems. He continues that face-to-face interactions with other technicians sitting together and discussing why technologies fail to work takes problem solving to a new level above calling a help desk.s
Though some countries have equipment that is more advanced than that of other countries, the commander says technology sophistication has little impact on how nations interoperate. The difference in equipment rarely is great enough to prevent them from communicating with one another. Countries that own the most advanced equipment pass down their knowledge to those with less effective tools. In some cases, countries without certain equipment ask to observe one year and then participate the next year. Cmdr. Talbert says such growth is a goal of Africa Endeavor.
The work of AFRICOM and Africa Endeavor is similar to work in U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and AFRICOM staff has had talks with counterparts at their cross-ocean ally. Cmdr. Talbert shares that the commands have had several discussions about how SOUTHCOM handled many of the situations AFRICOM now faces, particularly how SOUTHCOM helps countries help themselves. Both commands cooperate with developing countries, and this collaboration includes a large amount of interagency involvement. No agencies have yet participated in Africa Endeavor, but the AFRICOM personnel are exploring that as a future option.
Another group that has played almost no role in Africa Endeavor is industry. Except for the use of its equipment, the private sector has no involvement in the exercise. However, representatives of African nations have suggested bringing vendors into the event. Such a move has not yet been approved, but Cmdr. Talbert says AFRICOM is examining the possibility of having an afternoon when vendors can display their equipment and services. He explains that such a move requires background research to ensure the best procedures, but he feels confident planners and organizers will find a way to make the idea a reality.
Because industry has the latest and greatest technologies, exposure to their expertise would enhance Africa Endeavor, adding another aspect to the event. Industry could bring in technologies the military cannot for various reasons.
The sheer size of the African continent both poses a challenge for Africa Endeavor and makes the event more important. Cmdr. Talbert says the continent is so huge that it takes a long time to travel to other places on the land mass. The exercise offers a venue for nations that might never otherwise communicate or collaborate to share ideas and potential solutions, or even simply exchange information. Through the exercise, nations can create and continue relationships. The commander relates that at the closing ceremony, everyone was encouraged to look at it not as a closing but as a continuation of relationships enhanced through Africa Endeavor. When the representatives return home, they can build on the bonds forged during the technical testing to enhance their communication.
The Battlefield Surveillance Brigade as a Joint and Multinational Task Force Headquarters: 560th BFSB lessons from Exercise Natural Fire 10 in Uganda
COL Peter C. VanAmburgh
The battlefield surveillance brigade (BFSB) is a modular brigade designed to accept augmentation and incorporate non-organic units or capabilities to accomplish its purpose of conducting intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). The BSFB is also built to act as a force provider with or without an assigned area of operation (AO). In October 2009, the 560th BFSB was assigned the role of task force (TF) headquarters for a joint and multinational force supporting Exercise Natural Fire 10 (NF10) in Uganda. The exercise provided an excellent forum to test the concept of using a BFSB as a TF headquarters augmented by a wide variety of joint and multinational assets with an assigned AO. This article focuses on the employment of a BFSB as a joint and multinational TF headquarters and the lessons for integrating capabilities and units to accomplish missions not doctrinally envisioned for a BFSB.
Exercise Natural Fire 10, Entebbe, Kampala, and Kitgum, Uganda
NF10 was a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) exercise from 16-25 Oct 2009 in the Republic of Uganda intended to enhance interoperability and the capability to respond to complex humanitarian emergencies. The exercise had three major components: a tabletop exercise (TTX) among East African countries (EACs) and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Kampala; employment of a coalition joint task force (CJTF) headquarters in Entebbe; and a tactical element (TF Kitgum) to conduct medical, dental, and engineer activities and train partner nation (PN) personnel in critical activities necessary to function collectively in disaster environments. NF10 was the largest US/PN operation in Africa and a test of U.S. Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM), U.S. Army Africa (USARAF), and a BFSB's ability to command and control (C2) a large and diverse grouping of activities simultaneously in East Africa.
The 560th BFSB served as the command headquarters of TF Kitgum, directing 1,009 personnel from the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines; and soldiers from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The mission of the 560th BFSB was to provide C2 for all joint and multinational forces in Kitgum, Uganda 9-26 Oct 09. The 560th BFSB conducted field training exercises (FTX), humanitarian civic assistance (HCA) operations, and joint logistics support to synchronize operations and enhance the interoperability among participating forces. The NF10 mission supports the premise that a BFSB can be an enabler to stability operations and further reinforces the operational theme of employing a BFSB for peacetime military engagement, although not simply for intelligence collection support.
BFSB Core Mission Essential Task List
Providing the command element of TF Kitgum during NF10 supported the Core Mission Essential Task List (CMETL) for the 560th BFSB. The unit exercised its brigade staff in pre-deployment tasks including Soldier readiness processing, mobilization planning, tactical operations center (TOC) battle drills, force protection, and cultural training. The mission required the synchronization of HCA, FTX and joint logistics adding to the unit's ability to conduct C2, protect the force, provide sustainment, and conduct civil support operations.
Figure 8-1. 560th BFSB Core Mission Essential Task List (CMETL)
560th BFSB C2 Organization for the NF10
In July 2009, the 560th BFSB accepted the requirement to provide C2 for the tactical element of NF10. The short span of time between mission acceptance and mission execution (70 days) set in motion an urgent chain of activities to prepare and deploy to Uganda. The first involved determining the weaknesses among the staff elements required to direct the diverse operations and joint/multinational capabilities contained in the TF Kitgum arrangement. The HCA missions necessitated the addition of engineer and medical planners not normally associated with the BFSB headquarters. Counterintelligence (CI) personnel were levied into the S-2 section due to partner nation personnel working in the TF headquarters. The S-3, S-4, and S-6 sections prepared to incorporate liaison personnel from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. Additionally, the 560th BFSB were supported by CH-47 aircraft providing movement of personnel and cargo, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), and air assault training requiring the brigade aviation element (BAE) to deploy as part of the headquarters arrangement. The mission did not have a significant future planning requirement; instead the focus was on synchronization of assets, resources, and operations pre-identified for the mission.
Figure 8-2. TF KITGUM Command Organization
The 560th BFSB employed an integrated TF command structure to provide unity of command for the disparate operations and requirements of the TF. The deputy commander was a lieutenant colonel from Uganda and the staff was composed of representatives from each of the five EACs involved. Standing operating procedures (SOPs) and battle drills such as MEDEVAC procedures were developed and rehearsed in detail for the contingencies TF Kitgum would potentially execute during the conduct of NF10. All TF headquarters members had a working knowledge of English which was used throughout the mission.
Figure 8-3. TF KITGUM Task Organization
TF Kitgum was organized into three elements for process ownership of functions and to best utilize existing chain of command protocols. The FTX element was led by a U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) major who coordinated and directed training events including live fire ranges for five multinational companies from the participating nations and USMC personnel. The HCA element was led by an Army major and consisted of U.S. Navy (USN) Seabees conducting engineer civic action programs (ENCAPs), U.S. Air Force (USAF) and U.S. Army (USA) medical elements executing medical civic action programs (MEDCAPs), and USMC dentists performing dental civic action programs (DENCAPs). Imbedded in the HCA element were a joint civil affairs (CA) team and a psychological operations (PSYOP) team. The final element of the TF was a U.S. Army element from the 21st Theater Support Command providing the mayoral and logistics support to the TF.
TF Kitgum also had direct support aviation (CH-47) and a forward area refueling point (FARP) established to conduct MEDEVAC. The 560th BFSB and aviation unit liaison controlled and directed all flight missions while the logistics TF provided support for the FARP.
In addition to the functions described above, TF Kitgum was assigned an AO that encompassed the six locations in the region where HCA, training, and logistics support were conducted. As an AO owner, the 560th BFSB had responsibility and authority to conduct military operations in partnership with Ugandan People's Defense Force (UPDF). The AO and area of interest (AI) for NF10 in Uganda was somewhat permissive but still an imminent danger pay (IDP) zone. As the TF Kitgum headquarters, the 560th BFSB performed traditional AO governance activities such as intelligence collection, force protection and security, air/land movement control, CA, and PSYOP.
There has been significant discourse as to the employment of a BFSB headquarters as an AO owner and whether the structure can accommodate assimilation of the joint or service-specific assets necessary to conduct AO governance. Exercise NF10 provided an outstanding venue to test the ability of a BFSB to be assigned an AO, incorporate a wide variety of assets, and serve as a multinational TF command element. Although clearly designed for multidiscipline ISR employment, the BFSB headquarters is organized around the six warfighting functions of movement and maneuver, intelligence, fires, sustainment, C2, and protection. The warfighting functions enable the BFSB to be used as a platform for operations beyond intelligence collection.
The TF command role the 560th BFSB played in NF10, an exercise supporting peacetime military engagement and controlling joint and multinational forces, demonstrates the flexibility of the headquarters to adjust to changing operational requirements. The weaknesses in staffing for this operation, namely for engineer, medical planning and military police, were easily solved by incorporating those capabilities into the TF headquarters. For the 560th BFSB and other Army National Guard (ARNG) organizations, it is fairly cosmmon to have those skills resident among assigned members who often possess multiple specialties. During NF10, the 560th BFSB found sufficient expertise internally for the safe and successful conduct of the ENCAPs, MEDCAPs, and DENCAP missions, as well as force protection support from the military police.
Incorporating and employing CA and PSYOP was a routine task for an organization that synchronizes intelligence collection among small teams with a significant human intelligence (HUMINT) capability. The relevance for combining CA/PSYOPS with HUMINT collection is well documented and provides for a symbiotic relationship among the functions. Subsequently, the personnel and command element of a BFSB are well versed in having small teams operating semi-autonomously and apart from their headquarters. NF10 was no exception to that operating model. NF10 reinforced to all participants the positive results of arranging CA/PSYOP under a headquarters comfortable with decentralized operations.
The BFSB's ability to synchronize its diverse grouping of ISR assets also prepared the 560th BFSB for pooling of multinational and joint resources to support the various operations conducted by TF Kitgum. With each element, joint force, or partner nation force came an array of capabilities and resources. As with ISR planning and synchronization, HCA, FTX, and support activities had to be synchronized to support the exercise objectives. Cuing, redundancy, and mix are techniques for ISR management that served the staff well in programming joint and multi-national resources to successfully conduct the decentralized execution of TF Kitgum's MEDCAP, DENCAP, ENCAP, and FTX operations.
The final results produced by TF Kitgum during NF10 included 11,698 persons treated through the MEDCAP and DENCAP activities, three facilities (two schools and one health center) renovated, 636 soldiers from five countries trained in a variety of disaster response measures, seven radio broadcasts conducted, and the establishment of a successful logistics and FARP operation. This all was done with an integrated, multinational tactical operations center synchronizing, resourcing, and battle tracking the 1,009 joint and East African personnel who accomplished the mission.
The BFSB is a multi-disciplined intelligence organization with obvious potential for employment beyond intelligence collection. NF10 appeared to demonstrate the flexibility of a BFSB headquarters to both govern an AO and incorporate joint and multinational assets for mission accomplishment. The modular aspect of the BFSB and the varied elements that make up its charter lend itself to integrating diverse assets. Expertise gaps in the staff were easily resolved with internal personnel from the headquarters. Decentralized execution of projects for NF10 was an effortless transition for a headquarters comfortable with semi-autonomous ISR collection. Area of operation assignment and governance in a permissive environment (albeit an IDP zone) were well within the scope of BFSB capability. Ultimately, the 560th BFSB, as TF Kitgum, organized and integrated the expertise to enable CA; PSYOP; medical; dental; engineer; military police; additional logistics; aviation; and soldiers from Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to collectively complete all missions in the largest U.S.-sponsored exercise in Africa to date.
Last Reviewed: May 18, 2012