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Members of the U.S. Africa Command are in Gabon for the start of a
military communications exercise involving more than two dozen African
AFRICOM'S Africa Endeavor program seeks to improve
communications between African armies by establishing a network linking
their command and control structures to better prepare for joint
The exercise in Gabon runs through October 8 and
involves nearly 30 African militaries along with delegations from the
African Union and the Economic Community of West African States.
is the third annual training exercise and field test of communications
systems following earlier Africa Endeavor programs in South Africa and
Admiral Herve Namboundouani leads the organizing committee for this year's exercise.
Namboundouani says each nation has different equipment, so it is
important to be able to work together and communicate with other forces
in peacekeeping missions.
The Africa Endeavor program is meant
to act as a catalyst for a coordinated response to African security
challenges as the African Union develops standard practices and
procedures for its Standby Force.
U.S. officials say information
sharing is critical to improving cooperation in joint peacekeeping
interventions and humanitarian assistance missions both inside and
The creation of AFRICOM during the Bush
Administration was viewed with suspicion by some African governments
wary of U.S. military bases in Africa in the thick of the fight against
terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. Africa Command took
charge of an existing base in Djibouti as well as Defense Department
personnel at embassies and diplomatic missions. But it has not opened
any new bases and has kept its headquarters in Germany.
is responsible for U.S. military relations with all African nations
except Egypt. The U.S. Central Command maintains its long-standing
relationship with Egypt, but AFRICOM coordinates with the government in
Cairo on issues of African security.