History made as Africa Endeavor begins
WONDERBOOM, South Africa — With the snap of 125 salutes, military communicators from 24 African nations as well as some European countries and the United States responded to the official start of the Africa Endeavor 2006 workshop July 13 here.
Since the initial planning five months ago in Addis Ababa, Africa Endeavor has transformed from a concept of information sharing to the execution of military communications interoperability testing and documentation. Over the five day workshop, the nations will conduct effective and reliable interoperability testing and document the results of the tests. The outcome will be the proven and tested military communications standards for the African continent. Furthermore, the actual tests will lead to improved support of the African Union and its African Standby Force.
During the past two days, military communicators from 24 African nations have prepared their military communications equipment for testing. Those nations are Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkino Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Losotho, Malawi, Mali, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, The Gambia, Uganda and Zambia. Also participating in the workshop are Austria, Sweden and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS.) The Joint Interoperability Test Command from Fort Huachuca, Ariz., will be overseeing the communicators as they conduct point-to-point tests using high-frequency radios as well as data transmission system testing using routers. The results of the validated interoperability tests will be compiled and disseminated among the nations for future peacekeeping support and regional security cooperation.
"You are here to create a regional command, control, communications and information systems," said Brig. Gen. Mario Brazzoli, acting chief of command and management information systems division, South African National Defence Force. "The results of your military communications testing and documentation will strengthen the African continent in addressing transnational threats and provide regional security cooperation."
Later this summer, several Africa nations will be using the results of their proven communications interoperability testing as they deploy to for peacekeeping operations in Sudan's Darfur region.
"Today our efforts are operationally focused," said Warthon. "Africa Endeavor is becoming a reality for the good of the African continent and a reality for the common good of mankind."
Africa Endeavor 2006 is sponsored by the U.S. European Command. The South Africa National Defence Force is hosting the workshop.
"We're part of the second largest military communications interoperability workshop in the world," Lt. Col. Kevin Warthon, Africa Endeavor workshop director, told the troops assembled on the parade ground. "This is a new beginning for our military communicators as together we develop the means to deliver greater security and peacekeeping support for the African continent and the world at large. And we will do this collectively and corporately."