Last month, US Army Africa (USARAF) led the annual Western Accord Exercise in Dakar, Senegal. Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marine Regiment also joined Army soldiers for the event. Western Accord 14 centered around developing partner abilities to plan, deploy, employ, sustain, and redeploy a rapid deployment force in response to a regional crisis.
Western Accord is designed to enhance American military partnerships with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). There are currently fifteen ECOWAS members: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Gambia and Guinea Bissau did not participate in Western Accord 14. Forces from France and the Netherlands.
Representatives of the United Nations were also present at the exercise. Western Accord 14 was the first iteration of the exercise to incorporate UN personnel and non-governmental organizations to better simulate complex peacekeeping operations in the region. ECOWAS members such as Nigeria are regular contributors to UN and African Union peacekeeping efforts across the continent and around the world.
In addition, this particular training event is part of a series of exercises run every year by USARAF. The other exercises in the series include Northern Accord, Southern Accord, and Eastern Accord. Also, a regular exercise in central Africa, focusing on airdrop capabilities, was renamed Central Accord this year, bringing it in line with the rest of the Accord Series exercises.