The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) has today joined its Partner States in the opening of the joint military training exercise cord-named, “Justified Accord 23”, (JA 23) in Kenya.
The 10-day joint military exercise officially started at the School of Infantry Isiolo in Kenya.
Contingents at Isiolo include US Army, Djibouti, Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda. The observers foreseeing the whole exercise were drawn from Belgium, Botswana, Brazil, Madagascar, Netherlands, and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Justified Accord is the US – Africa Command’s largest exercise in East Africa and is led by US Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, (SETAF – AF).
This multinational exercise brings together more than 20 countries from four continents to increase partner readiness for peacekeeping missions, crisis response, and humanitarian assistance.
Speaking at the event, The Deputy Director of Exercise Justified Accord 23, (JA 23), Lt Col Jason M Porter said: “This exercise is a tactical training and field operation exercise focusing on deployment scenario with multinational forces working together to exercise capacity building and tactical maneuver communications, medical, counter improvised Explosive Devices, (IED) and counter-terrorism, civil-military areas, and crisis response.”
He thanked the Kenya Defence Forces fraternity for hosting the event.
In his welcome remarks, The Kenyan Contingent Commander of JA 23, Lt Col Peter Irungu Mwangi, appreciated the US army for sponsoring the exercise and thanked other Partner States for committing troops for the exercise, “You are all most welcome in Kenya for the exercise, you are going to have a nice stay here and we are eager to learn from one another for the continued stability of our region,” Lt Col Mwangi remarked.
He also mentioned that the exercise will promote cooperation to neutralize terrorism, among Partner States in the East African region.
At the same event, the UPDF JA 23 Contingent Commander Lt Col Paul Kyolaba Mukasa, noted that the exercise has come at the right time when UPDF is conducting peacekeeping missions under the mandate of the African Union (AU) and United Nations, (UN). “The timing of the exercise is good and I have hope that it will enhance our understanding and build more capacity in handling peace support operations, build more combat readiness in our continuous fight against terrorism, ” he noted.
The UPDF Contingent Commander further explained that the training aims at enhancing Uganda’s capacity for multinational interoperability and integrating emerging technologies into the exercise. “Cyber threats are real. Therefore, defensive cyber operations are good for us in this modern era. Technology continues to change every day and there is a need to step up with the emerging situations in our day-to-day operations,” he explained.
About 1,000 participants will take part in various events, primarily based in Nairobi and Isiolo Kenya, with other locations in Uganda, Djibouti, and Somalia,
JA 23 features an African Union Staff Officer Course, a multinational live-fire field training exercise, humanitarian projects, as well as defensive cyber exercises.
This is the first-year cyber knowledge that has been incorporated into the exercise series.
The opening ceremony was also attended by US army representatives, JA 23 contingent commanders, and troops from Partner States.