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Reservist, multinational team prepares African partners for peacekeeping operations
“Central Accord 2016 improved my appreciation for the complexity of the MINUSCA mission and the dynamics of commanding a multinational force.”
Maj. Jeffrey Sills, air medical evacuation pilot, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, gives instruction on a proper four-man litter carry on the Gabon Air Force Base during Central Accord 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. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Spc. L'Erin Wynn/Released)
1 photo: Central Accord 2016 Multinational MEDEVAC training takes place during Central Accord 2016
Photo 1 of 1: Maj. Jeffrey Sills, air medical evacuation pilot, 3rd Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, Massachusetts National Guard, gives instruction on a proper four-man litter carry on the Gabon Air Force Base during Central Accord 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. (U.S. Army Africa photo by Spc. L'Erin Wynn/Released) Download full-resolution version

LIBREVILLE, Gabon - In the multinational Sector West Headquarters, a crowded room buzzes with the sounds of soldiers speaking English, French, Spanish and Portuguese to discuss a recent medical evacuation request. The headquarters element, located at the cooperative security location in Libreville, Gabon, received the request from a subordinate battalion operating at the Ayeme training complex outside Libreville during exercise Central Accord 2016.

The exercise is facilitated by a coalition of observer, coach, trainers (OC/Ts) from the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Belgian Armed Forces and Royal Netherlands Army as part of a strategic effort to build peacekeeping capacity with partner Central African nations.

Sponsored by U.S. Africa Command, the U.S. Army Africa-led CA16 encompasses 11 troop-contributing countries from the central Africa region. Participating troops in the command post exercise operate at the brigade level to sharpen mission command skills.

The exercise brigade observation team is led by personnel from the U.S. Army Reserve’s 75th Training Command. Their mission is to prepare large military units for deployments and other missions by conducting live and virtual scenario-based training, while mentoring senior leaders on effective organizational decision-making.

Observation team objectives for this exercise include improving capacity of African partner militaries to conduct joint, multinational peacekeeping operations and replicating challenges currently facing United Nations and African Union mandated missions.

In the first week of the exercise, the observation team provided instruction and practical exercises to brigade mission command participants on the UN Military Component Planning Process.

At the end of the week, brigade participants successfully completed their operational order, which provided mission-specific guidance to a live training battalion and two notional battalions replicated in the Joint Exercise Control Group (JECG).

Concurrently, members of the JECG developed nearly 100 training injects to replicate the operational environment of a sector headquarters organized under the United Nations Multi-Dimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

When introducing the training injects during the exercise, “specific needs were identified by OC/T personnel working with the training audience and exercise leadership, [and] the JECG made adjustments to injected material,” said Lt. Col. Steve Rose, one of the OC/Ts.

The intensity of the injects challenged various cells of the brigade command and subordinate elements, while observers facilitated and witnessed continuous improvement in the training participants’ ability to conduct mission command and overcome challenges.

“Central Accord 2016 improved my appreciation for the complexity of the MINUSCA mission and the dynamics of commanding a multinational force,” said Republic of Congo Col. Yombo, commander of Sector West Headquarters.The exercise is facilitated by a coalition of observer, coach, trainers (OC/Ts) from the U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Belgian Armed Forces and Royal Netherlands Army as part of a strategic effort to build peacekeeping capacity with partner Central African nations.

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