The U.S. military, in partnership with the Malawi Defense Force and partner nations, will conduct Southern Accord 2016, a command post exercise in Salima, Malawi August 1-12 and a disaster relief table top exercise in Lilongwe, Malawi, August 8-10. Southern Accord is an annual joint military exercise that brings together Southern African Development Community partner nations and U.S. Army Africa to conduct operational planning for the United Nations/African Union mandated operation in The Democratic Republic of the Congo. Nearly 250 military personnel from ten nations are expected to participate in this year's exercise. Southern Accord brings together partner nations to practice and demonstrate proficiency in conducting peacekeeping and disaster relief operations. The exercise will include headquarters staff training and peace keeping and disaster operations scenarios. This exercise will consist of one week of classroom-based academics, one week of a command post training exercise, and a table top exercise simultaneously.
The goal of Southern Accord 2016 is to increase interoperability and build capacity between U.S and African militaries, while cementing partnerships built from previous Southern Accord exercises. Once the exercise is complete, all exercise participants will return to their home countries and stations. The Southern Accord exercise is a very important capacity building exercise for the SADC states because it articulates the objectives of leadership, strategic goals, enhances physical security and promotes common values, said Col. C.W. Kachala, the deputy chief of training of the Malawi Defense Force, or MDF. Southern Accord 2016 is another chapter in the course of continued security cooperation between U.S. Army Africa and the MDF. Malawi hosted Southern Accord 2014. U.S. Army Africa also collaborated with the Malawi Defense Force to establish the first senior noncommissioned officers' course at the Malawi Armed Forces College. In February, Malawi and the United States signed a military cooperation agreement setting the framework for continued military cooperation, assistance and training collaboration. This planning event is an example of how military ties between the U.S. and Malawi continue to gain momentum. As U.S. Ambassador to Malawi, Virginia Palmer noted: “Malawi has a strong record of military discipline, peaceful coexistence, defense of the constitution, and leadership in supporting regional peace and stability.”