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Africa Endeavor 2009: Planning Begins for 25-Nation Communications Exercise
Delegates from 25 nations gathered January 13, 2009, to begin initial planning of Exercise Africa Endeavor 2009, the largest multinational communication exercise on the continent. <br /> <br />Africa Endeavor is an African Union (AU) and U.S.
DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major General Paul Capasso (left), U.S. Africa Command's director of Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems, gives remarks at the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 1 of 4: DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major General Paul Capasso (left), U.S. Africa Command's director of Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems, gives remarks at the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg) Download full-resolution version
DAKAR, Senegal - Participants of the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference await the official start of the Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 2 of 4: DAKAR, Senegal - Participants of the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference await the official start of the Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg) Download full-resolution version
DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Watson, U.S. Africa Command's Africa Endeavor Exercise Director, welcomes participants to the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 3 of 4: DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Watson, U.S. Africa Command's Africa Endeavor Exercise Director, welcomes participants to the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg) Download full-resolution version
DAKAR, Senegal - Representatives from Senegal participate in the three-day Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference, January 13, 2009 in Dakar, Senegal. Africa Endeavor, the largest multinational communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information-sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
4 photos: U.S. AFRICOM Photo
Photo 4 of 4: DAKAR, Senegal - Representatives from Senegal participate in the three-day Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference, January 13, 2009 in Dakar, Senegal. Africa Endeavor, the largest multinational communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information-sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg) Download full-resolution version
DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Air Force Major General Paul Capasso (left), U.S. Africa Command's director of Command, Control, Communications, and Computer Systems, gives remarks at the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace support missions. (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
DAKAR, Senegal - Participants of the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference await the official start of the Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
DAKAR, Senegal - U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel Robert Watson, U.S. Africa Command's Africa Endeavor Exercise Director, welcomes participants to the Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference in Dakar, Senegal, January 13, 2009. Africa Endeavor, the largest multi-national communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
DAKAR, Senegal - Representatives from Senegal participate in the three-day Africa Endeavor 2009 Initial Planning Conference, January 13, 2009 in Dakar, Senegal. Africa Endeavor, the largest multinational communication interoperability exercise on the African continent, will be hosted in Gabon in July, 2009. The exercise is designed to encourage information-sharing among African nations that will support the development of overall African Union humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and peace-support missions.  (U.S. Africa Command Photo by Justin G. Wagg)
Delegates from 25 nations gathered January 13, 2009, to begin initial planning of Exercise Africa Endeavor 2009, the largest multinational communication exercise on the continent.

Africa Endeavor is an African Union (AU) and U.S. European Command initiative that is now led by U.S. Africa Command. Its intent is to encourage interoperability and information sharing among African nations via communication networks and collaborative communications links with the United States, NATO and other nations with common stability, security and sustainment goals/objectives for the African continent.

With more than 25 nations participating in the exercise, it is the second largest communications exercise in the world. The nations and international organizations invited to attend the initial planning conference include: the AU, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Djibouti, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Gambia, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, SaoTome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Most of the countries were in attendance during the opening ceremony in Dakar, Senegal.

The opening ceremony kicked off with a video that captured the essence of last year's exercise that took place in Nigeria. The video served two purposes: first, to show the delegates a recap of where they left off last year and secondly, to prepare them for challenges that will come with the 2009 iteration of the exercise scheduled to take place in July 2009 in Gabon.

Following the video, remarks were made by the host country representative Captain Ousmane Sall, Senegal Ministry of Defense Deputy Chief of Defense, as well as U.S. Africa Command's representative to the conference, Major general Paul Capasso, director of Command, Control, Communications and Computer systems.

Both men discussed the importance of the exercise, describing how it seeks to build upon the successes of last year's exercise, and they stressed fact that effective communications is the key to multinational interoperability.

Sall was first to speak and thanked the delegations for attending the conference. In his remarks, he spoke of how the exercise will keep with overall prospective to provide the African Stand-by Force with an efficient information and communication system.

"The final objective remains to first put in place an ability of information and communications systems capable of supporting peacekeeping operations, humanitarian assistance programs and providing the capability to intervene during natural disasters throughout the African continent," said Sall

Capasso also thanked the delegation and emphasized the role information sharing and communication play in bridging together societies. "Information is the oxygen of the modern world and transcends the boundaries of every aspect of today's global society," he said.

"Our collective actions in improving the way we create, share, gain access to and use information are tearing down walls and building bridges in fostering a greater understanding and furthering the goals we share in common," said Capasso.

Capasso concluded, "It is our privilege to work with all of you to achieve communication interoperability, especially in an age when communications skills and information sharing are so vital to peacekeeping missions, humanitarian response, crisis prevention and disaster relief operations."

Following comments from the Lieutenant Colonel Robert Watson, exercise director of Africa Endeavor 09, the group took a break, posed for a group photo and then began the week-long journey to plan the initial phases of the exercise.

Two more planning conferences are scheduled before the exercise kicks off in July. The next conference is scheduled for March, and the final planning conference is scheduled in May to ensure all systems are in place for a successful multinational information sharing event.
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