Posts Tagged 'Africa Endeavor'

Africa Snapshot: Cameroon

Cameroon lies at the junction of western and central Africa. The nation is currently hosting this year’s Africa Endeavor, an annual 1n-day communications exercise focusing on interoperability and information sharing among African partners.  The goal of Africa Endeavor is to develop command, control, and communication tactics, techniques, and procedures that can be used by the African Union in support of future combined humanitarian, peacekeeping, peace support and anti-terrorism operations.

Population: According to the CIA World Factbook, the population will be around 20 million this summer.

Languages: English and French are the official languages of Cameroon, but there are 24 major African language groups in the country, as well.

Religion: 40% of the population practices indigenous beliefs.  Another 40% of the population is Christian, while the other 20% is Muslim.

History: Malaria kept Europeans out of Cameroon until the 1860s, when they began establishing coastal trade and slave trade. Christian missions put down roots in the late 1800s, and they continue to play a role today.  In 1884, all of present-day Cameroon and parts of its neighboring areas became a colony of Germany called Kamerun.  After World War I, the colony was divided between Britain and France. In 1955, an armed struggle to gain independence in French Cameroon began. Independence was achieved in 1960.  A year later, the largely Muslim, northern two-thirds of British Cameroon voted to join Nigeria, while the largely Christian southern third voted to join the Republic of Cameroon, thus forming the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The federation was replaced with a unitary state in 1972. Paul Biya has been president since 1982. He was re-elected to another seven-year term in October 2011.

Economy: Cameroon faces some of the same challenges as other underdeveloped countries, but it does have oil resources and good conditions for agriculture. Foreign investors have become interested in diamond mining projects in Cameroon. Because Cameroon has one of the worst business environments in the world, many foreign investors do not pursue business ventures with the country. Human trafficking is also a serious issue.

Geography: Although Cameroon may look tiny on the map of Africa, it’s actually larger than California. Periodically, volcanos will release toxic gases. The most active volcano in West Africa is Mount Cameroon.

Relations with the United States: Relations between the two nations are good.  According to the U.S. Department of State Background Note on Cameroon, U.S. assistance to the African nation was over $26 million in 2010.

Sources: CIA Factbook State Department Background Note – Cameroon , Britannica Online, AllAfrica, Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon

10 Things About Africa Endeavor

Here’s a brief intro to the annual exercise Africa Endeavor, going on right now:

1) In cooperation with the Armed Forces of Cameroon and the support of the African Union, U.S. Africa Command is sponsoring Africa Endeavor 2012, the largest military communications interoperability and information sharing exercise in Africa

During Africa Endeavor 2011 last year, Mauritian Lt. Azize Saud Ghingut holds the antenna for a spectrum analyzer, used to show radio frequency emitters in a search for interference sources, during a practical exercise at Africa Endeavor, Falajar Barracks, The Gambia, July 15, 2011. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Daniel T. West, 358th PAD)

2) The exercise will be held June 18 to 27, 2012, in Douala, Cameroon. Look for our regular feature on African nations, “Africa Snapshot”, highlighting Cameroon next week.

3) About 35 African nations and 250 participants, including Africans, Europeans, Canadians and Americans, will be involved in Africa Endeavor 2012.

4) Africa Endeavor 2012 is modeled after Combined Endeavor, the largest command, control, communications and computers interoperability event in the world. Combined Endeavor is sponsored by U.S. European Command and draws 1,400 communications professionals from more than 40 NATO and Partnership for Peace countries each year.

5)  Ensuring African nations can communicate smoothly with each other in times of crisis is critical to peacekeeping and regional stability. Africa Endeavor 2012 focuses on testing command, control, communications and information systems to prepare for future combined humanitarian, peacekeeping, peace support and anti-terrorism operations.

6) One of U.S. Africa Command’s goals is to help its partner African nations improve their military capabilities. The exercise was planned together to identify, test, and document how different communications systems and other systems work together. Read about the initial planning conference, hosted by Lesotho, and the final planning conference, hosted by Ghana.

7) The results from the tests will help improve support of the African Union and its Standby Force by creating a common standard for joint military operations in the future.

8) After the exercise is finished, an updated African Interoperability Guide will be produced.

9) The first Africa Endeavor was held in over five days in 2006 in South Africa. Participants came from 24 African nations. Read about that first Africa Endeavor exercise.

10) Each year, the exercise builds on its learnings from the year before. Watch a video of the opening ceremony of Africa Endeavor last year, in Banjul, The Gambia.

Starting this week, you can find stories, photos, video and more covering Africa Endeavor on our website, Flickr page and YouTube channel. For frequent updates, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

If you are participating in Africa Endeavor, tag your Tweets with #AfricaEndeavor and post your thoughts from the exercise on our Facebook wall.

Africa Endeavor 2010

Lcpl Scott Marchewka, MARFORRES wrote

I am one of 2 radio operators sent from Miramar. Myself and Sergeant Brandon Sanders arrived with a group of data Marines Saturday. I did not know exactly what to expect of Ghana, but was pleased to find the local military so helpful and courteous. Our passage through customs was no effort, and the ride from the airport to our hotel was not very long. After settling in we came on base Sunday and basically just oriented ourselves with our working area and registered.
I was able to meet and start working with some Marines from Marine Forces Europe which has been interesting. Several Marines from Communications Squadron 48 were able to go to the US Embassy and meet a few of the Embassy Marines there, and have dinner and share stories. That was a unique experience, the first time I had been to an Embassy. It felt strange yet comfortable knowing even in the middle of West Africa, in a way, I was still on U.S. territory.

Sergeant Kish has been very helpful and a good teacher, reviewing radio materials I already know and speeding me up on some new gear and programs. There is a very significant difference in funding between reserve units and active duty, this was very apparent when I saw the radio equipment that Sgt Kish brought with him. Field expedient kits and radio sets that still looked brand new and with a full contingent of accessories.

Thus far I have not been working operationally with the Africans, but Im sure that will change as the operation develops. We were able to erect an antenna that the Nigerians brought, creating a field expedient setup called a horizontal di-pole 1/2 wave.

One of the classes that Single Channel Radio will be involved in is going to be Field Expedient Antennae. We plan on setting up a few more antennae to talk with various participating African countries and a shot up to Italy.

I have been trying to be careful about what I eat so as not to fall ill as a few other Marines have since arriving. But I have been looking forward to tasting some of the local cuisine, such as the guinea fowl, at one of the restaurants. I am told we will be taken out into town and see more of Ghana before we leave. I look forward to that. One of the officers from Uganda sat next to me at the orientation dinner and we talked about sports, I tried to explain the rules of baseball to him but he seemed very confused by it. He thought I would enjoy seeing more of the country. Many of the Africans that I have met, that are part of the operation, have seemed rather happy to be here; it seems as if a few never stop smiling.

It is an experience to interact with all the other US service personnel. Many are quite proficient in their fields, especially some Navy petty officers that came over from the U.S. base on the Horn of Africa. There is a lot of the operation left, and I’m sure as a Lance Corporal there will be plenty of work that needs doing. I’m looking forward to home, but am enjoying my time here also.

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Commander’s Intent 2010

A Message from General William E. Ward, Commander of U.S. Africa Command



As we move into the year 2010, I would like us all to take a moment and reflect on our accomplishments thus far and what lies ahead.

Africa Command has already made strides in helping our African partners develop security capacity. Exercises like AFRICA ENDEAVOR and NATURAL FIRE have enhanced interoperability.  Maritime security and domain awareness has been improved through programs like our Africa Partnership Station and the African Maritime Law Enforcement Program (AMLEP). 

Keep in mind, our national interests lie in a stable continent of AfricaThis means that Africans live in the relative peace of a stable environment, are governed effectively, and enjoy a degree of economic and social advancement.  An Africa, whereby African populations are able to provide for themselves, contribute to global economic development and allow access to markets in free, fair, and competitive ways, is good for America and the world.

President Barack Obama stated in Accra, Ghana in July 2009, that “Africa’s future is up to Africans,” and specified five priority areas where the U.S. can contribute to a brighter future for Africa. They are: democracy, opportunity, health, the peaceful resolution of conflict, and addressing transnational challenges. 

US Africa Command supports the defense aspects of the President’s priorities. We will:

Build Partner Security Capacity-in areas such as support and special staff capabilities, the African non-commissioned officer corps, and military/dual-use infrastructures;

Work in Concert with our Partners–continue to work closely with interagency, international and African partners to strive for a stable Africa;

Reinforce Success-build upon those activities that have had positive results to include promoting strategic relationships as outlined by our strategy and national guidance and demonstrating African ownership though activities such as AMLEP.

 Address Transnational Challenges–such as terrorism and drug and arms trafficking, to help prevent the onset or exacerbation of new tensions. 

Respond to Crises-as directed.

We want to help prevent crises rather than only react to them. How we do this is important. The planning required for our activities involves several government entities and our own military, so it is vital that we engage with them and one another continuously.  For example, the insight and opinions of our interagency teammates are valuable and should be sought after during both the planning and execution phases of everything we do. Similarly, we need to be cognizant that our Components, who have already contributed greatly to the command’s efforts, are still growing.

Only through security and development can there be stability, and only through stability can there be HOPE for the future.

Continue to do the good work you have been doing. Thank you for your efforts.

AFRICOM-related news clips for 5 January 2010

Africa Command Revamps Multinational, Interagency Cooperation Strategies

SIGNAL Magazine – By Maryann Lawlor

January 2010

The latest combatant command to join the ranks in the U.S. Defense Department has set out on a different mission than its well-established brethren. From its very conception, the U.S. Africa Command has been designed to help the nations in its area of responsibility to help themselves. Since its inception two years later, it has been fulfilling that vision with assistance from other U.S. government agencies in an area that comprises 53 countries that include more than 800 ethnic groups who speak more than 1,000 languages. In essence, it is not a typical combatant command.

Exercise in Africa Breaks Many Molds

SIGNAL Magazine – By Rita Boland

January 2010

African nations are overcoming the tyranny of distance posed by their massive continent through an exercise designed to increase command, control, communications and computer capacity. Representatives from more than two dozen African countries met in Gabon at the end of last September through the beginning of October to test technology compatibility. The event helps build relationships and enhance interoperability during disaster relief and peacekeeping missions. The most recent effort built off past exercises and included a variety of first-time occurrences. It also identified new areas of need such as the addition of an information assurance technical working group.

U.S. Marine Corps weighs merits of Africa task force

World Sentinel – By non-attributed author

4 January 2010

Talks are underway to add a special-purpose Marine air-ground task force to U.S. Africa Command, a move that would center on expanding efforts to train African militaries, officials say. The plan is "purely in the conceptual phase," said Master Sgt. Grady Fontana, a spokesman for Marine Corps Forces Africa, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. "… It´s just something that people are talking about as a way that can help support Africa Command."

Delta 4 assigned to deliver military satellite into orbit

Spaceflight Now – By Justin Ray

4 January 2010

The U.S. Air Force has tapped the Delta 4 as its rocket of choice to launch the fourth Wideband Global SATCOM spacecraft two years from now, officials announced Monday.

U.S. helping get Nigeria’s C-130s back off the ground

Stars and Stripes – By Jennifer H. Svan

5 January 2010

Mideast edition-As the United States looks to build strategic partnerships with African countries, it’s investing a lot of hope in Nigeria.

Bomb attempt a wake-up call for Nigeria

CNN – By Princeton N. Lyman

4 January 2010

Washington, D.C. (CNN) — Americans were alarmed to learn of the attempt to bring down an American airliner over Detroit, Michigan, on Christmas Day. But Nigerians were especially shocked to learn that one of their own, Umar Farouk AbdulMuttalab, was the perpetrator.

Nigeria Regrets Inclusion on US Screening List

Voice of America – By Gilbert Da Costa

4 January 2010

Nigeria wants the US to reconsider its inclusion on a list of countries whose air travelers will be subjected to enhanced security screening techniques. The new security measures come into effect in response to the Christmas Day bombing attempt on a US airliner.

Kenya Seeks To Deport Muslim Cleric To Jamaica

New York Times – By Alan Cowell

4 January 2010

LONDON — The Kenyan authorities were reported on Monday to be planning to deport a Jamaican-born Muslim cleric, Abdullah el-Faisal, who may have helped inspire the Nigerian man accused of trying to bomb an American airliner headed to Detroit on Christmas Day.

UN News Service Africa Briefs

Full Articles on UN Website

31 December 2009 – 4 January 2010

*Uptick in attacks forces UN food agency to shut down programmes in Somalia

*UN helping to monitor volcanic eruption in eastern DR Congo

*UN envoy urges Sudan to work for stability, security in 2010

*DR Congo: UN rushes food to thousands displaced by ethnic fighting

*UNICEF speaks out against child deaths in northern Nigerian clashes

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