March 01, 2012
Cameroon to Host US-led Military Exercises
Cameroon’s armed forces will host a series of military exercises steered by the US Africa Command from 18-29 June this year. Ahead of the rehearsals that will convene some 200 army officers from 35 African, American and European nations, experts have congregated in the country’s largest city Douala, the event host venue, to fine-tune preparations.
The combined military maneuvers dubbed Africa Endeavor, was conceived by the US Africa Command in 2006. It basically seeks to fortify communications interoperability, or the ability to exchange and use information through pre-established networks among African partner countries.
Experts say the overall goal is to enhance joint and multinational solutions and guidelines to be handy in cases of peacekeeping, security maintenance as well as disaster relief operations. Tactical, technical and procedural communications capacities within and between African armies will hence be boosted via the development of common and standard military communications practices to better support future operations in Africa. US Navy Commander Bryan McRoberts, who is leading the Douala planning session, says the exercises this year will seek to curb human communication blunders in crisis situations.
“Often times, it is the human factors that prove the most critical during a crisis or contingency event, and exercises like this one allow us to establish key relationships between forces before a crisis actually develops. In addition to testing the technical interoperability, this hands-on exercise allows us to establish and build on the human interoperability that must take place between partner nations for an operation to be successful,” he said.
The four-day Douala honing meeting follows an initial planning conference that held in Maseru, Lesotho in November. That session pinpointed and reiterated the need for the optimization of the capacities of collaboration and information exchange, the regular testing and development of the communications aptitudes of African militaries, the need to facilitate the usage of standard military communications practices as well as sustained training of African military staffers.
Africa Endeavor, which has since become an annual event, is supported by the African Union as a booster to its multinational standby force, whose logistics base is being erected in Douala. Meantime, observers say the venture could prove vital in giving pirates infesting the Gulf of Guinea a run for their money.
In recent years, they have raided coastal banks in Cameroon, attacked the presidential palace in Equatorial Guinea and hijacked oil vessels and seized crew members for ransom. Nigeria, Africa's biggest oil producer has known production slumps as a result of the escalating pirate activity. Elsewhere, multiform trafficking has become commonplace in the region.
Article source Cameroon Post Online, posted on The Cameroon News under Cameroon Politics News