African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance
Definition/Scope: (AFRICOM) The Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program, managed and funded by the Department of State (DoS), is an initiative designed to improve African ability to respond quickly to crises by providing selected militaries with the training and equipment required to execute humanitarian or peace support operations. Once trained, forces can be deployed into multinational units to conduct operations under auspices of the Africa Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), or regional security organizations. On-the-ground training is supervised under the Department of State, while AFRICOM provide mentors and advisors as requested. ACOTA is the successor to the Africa Crisis Response Initiative (ACRI) which, in 1997, began the U.S. peacekeeping training program in four countries of Africa. Since then, ACOTA’s membership has grown to include 21 African partners. Though ACOTA’s immediate goal is to support the establishment of the AU’s African Standby Force/Brigades by June 2010, its long-term objective is to assist the AU, the REC brigades and individual Troop Contributing Countries in its peacekeeping operations for as long as it is needed. Training roughly 20 battalions per year, ACOTA tailors its programs to match the individual needs and capabilities of each country. ACOTA supports peacekeeping operations in Africa by: training African soldiers on topics including convoy escort procedures, refugee management, and small-unit command skills; overseeing exercises for battalion, brigade and multinational force headquarters personnel; providing equipment to partner nations, such as mine detectors, field medical equipment, uniforms, and water purification devices; conducting refresher training periodically to ensure that trained units maintain their capabilities; and training African trainers who in turn train their own nations soldiers in peacekeeping skills.
Broader Terms:Department of State
Narrower Terms:peace operation
Related Terms:foreign humanitarian assistance