UGANDA, US AND ALLIED PARTNER NATIONS FORCES END LARGEST MILITARY EXERCISE IN KENYA
By Our Reporter
NAIROBI: Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF), United States Forces and other partner nations have concluded a major military exercise in Kenya.
In the just concluded joint military training exercise, code-named ‘Justified Accord’ (JA 23) in Isiolo, Kenya, UPDF was praised for exhibiting the highest level of professionalism.
“The professionalism and constant enthusiasm was worth it and made the exercise a success,” said the commanding General SETAF – AF Maj Gen Todd R Wasmund, during the closure of the 10-day exercise.
The US – Africa Command’s largest Joint Military exercise Cord-named ‘Justified Accord 23’ (JA 23) was led by the US Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF).
It commenced in mid-February and closed on Thursday 23rd February 2023.
JA 23 attracted over 1000 participants involving multiple U.S. military components, allied partner nations and international organizations.
It aimed at promoting interoperability between participants for the success of operations in the East African Region.
JA 23 featured an African Union Staff Officer Course multinational live-fire field training exercise, humanitarian projects, Medical Evacuation as well as defensive cyber exercises.
This was the first-year cyber knowledge that was incorporated into the exercise series.
In his speech during the closure, the General Officer Commanding (GOC) East Command Maj Gen Juma Mwinyikai, who represented the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Chief of Defence Forces stressed that training is key in enhancing the cooperation between the partner states and the Kenya Defence Forces.
“We appreciate the aims of this exercise, it will shape the arrow-head for mission readiness and interoperability between the USA and the African Nations in the Peace Support Operations set-up, we know the commitments of the Republic of Djibouti, Rwanda, and Uganda who brought in their troops to take part in this exercise,” Maj Gen Mwinyikai noted.
He also remarked that JA 23 demonstrates the commitment of East African regional forces towards integration to enhance better interoperability.
Maj. Gen. Mwinyikai further appreciated other participants from Burundi, Botswana, Comoros, Madagascar, Mozambique, Somalia and Zambia who conducted the African Union Staff Officer’s Course at the Humanitarian Peace Support Training School in Embakasi.
The Deputy to the Commander of Civil-Military Engagement for US – Africa Command, Ambassador Andrew Young, was thankful to all participants for their professionalism during JA 23 exercise.
He thanked Kenya for being a great host and appealed to all partners to share their experiences and knowledge back home.
He called for the maintenance of momentum by all Partner States as earlier noted at Isiolo.
At the same function, the commanding General SETAF-AF, Maj Gen Todd R. Wasmund, thanked the Ministry of National Defence – Kenya, KDF and Kenya Army School of Infantry for making the JA 23 a success. “On behalf of US-AFRICOM and SETAF-AF, we are grateful for your support and commitment throughout the entire event despite your busy extraordinary real-life operations in the region,” Gen Wasmund observed.
He noted that all participants made a great job during the demonstration exercise.
He explained that addressing security challenges in Africa and around the world requires an inter-agency approach.
While handing over certificates to the participants, the 1st Battalion (BN) commander 101 Field Artillery and the US Isiolo Base Camp Commander Exercise Justified Accord 23 (JA 23) Massachusetts National Guard, Lt Col Eladio Medrano, lauded UPDF for being an active participant throughout the multinational military exercise.
“I want to thank the UPDF for their diligence and hard work during this exercise, it was a success, I want to thank Lt Col Mukasa and his staff for the Job well done,” Col Eladio said.
This was the second time Kenya is hosting the Justified Accord exercise. The next exercise will be conducted in West Africa early next year.