Joint Forces Command Exercise Trains Next Horn of Africa Task Force Leaders
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 14, 2008 Leaders preparing to deploy to Djibouti as the next headquarters staff at Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa are wrapping up a week-long exercise to prepare them for the challenges they’ll face.
The mission rehearsal exercise is under way at U.S. Joint Forces Command’s Joint Warfighting Center in Suffolk, Va. Navy Rear Adm. Philip H. Green Jr., slated to take command of CJTF-HOA next month, called the exercise a welcome opportunity for him and his staff to work together as a team confronting realistic scenarios.
The task force’s mission is to prevent conflict, promote regional stability and protect coalition interests in East Africa and Yemen. Green pointed to “three pillars” of the operational environment in Africa – defense, diplomacy and development – and said they work hand in hand in furthering the task force’s efforts.
“The three pillars are all served through military-to-military training engagements, cooperation efforts, (and) civil affairs programs there that add to our ability to build trust and confidence, develop capacity and capability and help forge … relationships and partnerships with our African friends,” he said.
“In the end, our efforts … increase their security, improve stability and enable sovereignty for our African partners,” he explained. “By doing that, we will make them contributors to the security environment, and we will also hopefully assist and facilitate their own economic and social development that helps to improve the lives of the people that are there.”
Green called the training Joint Forces Command provides, particularly its use of best practices and lessons learned in training scenarios, as key to the task force’s success.
Subject-matter experts from U.S. Central Command and several other government organizations, including the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development, are participating in the mission rehearsal exercise.
Army Maj. Gen. Jason K. Kamiya, commander of the Joint Warfighting Center and JFCOM’s joint training director, called the exercise another milestone in a training continuum that began in October with briefings about the Horn of Africa, its culture, ethnic makeup and embassy operations in the region, he explained.
In December, the JFCOM staff began focusing the new headquarters staff on staff functional training, from how the operations directorate would work, to how civil-military operations coordinate with other efforts, to the combined joint task force’s working relationship with embassy staffs.
Much of the emphasis has been on the interagency nature of the mission in Africa, and the importance of drawing on more than just military capabilities to carry it out, Kamiya said.
More than 250 people, including representatives from Djibouti, Republic of Mauritius, United Kingdom and France, are participating in the mission rehearsal exercise that continues through Jan. 17. The training will continue after the task force deploys, with JFCOM trainers working with the new headquarters staff in the theater to improve their effectiveness and garner lessons for future task force headquarters to build on, Kamiya explained.
Green said he’s excited by the challenges the upcoming mission presents.
“For my staff and me, the focus is developing friendships and forging partnerships with our African friends,” he said. “We are there because they want us there, and we are in the business of helping them solve African challenges.
“In the end,” he continued, “it’s about solving African problems, and how we contribute to their efforts and their capacity and capability to do that is a very important role we play.”