NAIROBI, Kenya – Justified Accord is U.S. Africa Command’s largest exercise in East Africa, bringing together more than 20 countries from four continents. Led by U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), Justified Accord aims to increase partner readiness for peacekeeping missions, crisis response, and humanitarian assistance.
Planning and executing logistics for an exercise this size can be a Herculean effort. This is where the Joint Exercise Support Group comes in. Led by members of the Massachusetts National Guard, the JESG handles all the logistical needs for an exercise like Justified Accord.
Leading this effort is Maj. Adam Hogue, a logistical officer with the 151st Troop Command, Massachusetts National Guard. Hogue is serving as the officer in charge of the Justified Accord Joint Exercise Support Group.
“We ensure Soldiers are fed, have all proper movements, ammunition, anything that basically is real-world. [The] biggest issue is ensuring we have plenty of water on the ground. So I’m in charge of ensuring all the Soldiers under me are doing their jobs and taking care of the Soldiers here for the exercise.”
Traveling, helping Soldiers, and conducting real-world operations like the JESG inspires Hogue to support these missions.
“It’s what I love to do. It’s a passion of mine. When they say, ‘Hey, you have experience here. We’d love you to share that experience.’ I jumped right on board,” said Houge.
Spc. Ismaela Rodriguez, a logistics management specialist with the 164th Transportation Battalion, Massachusetts National Guard, works with Houge and helps plan logistical movements to the many training areas during Justified Accord.
Rodriguez came on this mission to gain experience and work with partner nations.
“I wanted to see what it was like working with different countries and what the training looks like and how we can improve,” she said. “Everybody here is willing to teach whatever you ask.”
Houge, Rodriguez, and more than 30 Soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard are supporting Justified Accord as part of the Massachusetts National Guard’s State Partnership Program with the Republic of Kenya.
The Guard’s partnership with the Republic of Kenya goes back almost a decade and serves to build a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship with the country and its military.
During training exercises like Justified Accord, partner nations share military skills, experiences and defense knowledge and work to enhance partnership capacity and mutual security cooperation.
“Learning and going back and forth of how they do operations, how we do operations, have just been invaluable to me and everyone I’ve worked with here,” said Hogue.
Through state partnerships and training exercises like Justified Accord, the U.S. Military aims to build on the history of defense relationships and strengthen partnerships in Africa.
“I think this partnership is phenomenal for not just us but the Kenya Defense Forces, and I hope that we get to keep continuing to do it because I see the real value and benefit for us and our partner nations to do these missions,” said Hogue. “These partnership programs and us working with our partner nations, building up capacity is making the world safer.”
U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF) is responsible for achieving U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Army Campaign Plan objectives while conducting all U.S. Army operations, exercises and security cooperation on the African continent.