Combined Joint African Exercise (CJAX) 2012

Article by Cpl Ally Rakoma
Photos by Sgt Elias Mahuma
Posted 14 September 2012

From 03 to 07 September 2012, the SA National War College (SANWC) in Pretoria conducted the Combined Joint African Exercise (CJAX) 2012, Exercise UHURU. The exercise formed part of the important Military Operations Other Than War module.

The aim of the exercise was to develop a greater understanding of the joint, multinational and interagency environment amongst SADC countries with a view to promoting a better understanding of the challenges involved in planning and co-ordinating complex multinational peace support operations (PSO).

The exercise also served to exchange ideas and concepts between SADC future Operational Commanders and Operational Staff Officers and attending role-players from the SA Police Service (SAPS), the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO).

The 2012 group consisted of approximately 80 participants in the rank groups Maj to Lt Col, it included the SA National War College: Joint Senior Command and Staff Programme (JSCSP 11/2012) and learners from friendly military forces, viz Botswana and Zambia, with Malawi and Zimbabwe as observers.

The primary role of peacekeeping is to provide a secure environment. The current conflict requires a broader holistic strategy to bridge efforts to build sustainable peace in complex and fragile situations and to tackle the interlinked issues of security and development.

The CJAX 2012 focused on a fictitious peace support mission. The expanding nature of peacekeeping has evolved from purely military operations to more robust and multidimensional operations and focuses on more complex scenarios where wider responses are required.

The transformation from military-to-civilian-focused peace missions has come about as mandates have shifted from monitoring ceasefires to supporting the implementation of comprehensive peace agreements.

As missions become more orientated towards peace-building, the role of civilian components becomes more important and their role shifts from peripheral support to the core of contemporary peacekeeping and peace-building missions.

This also ensures that the rule of law, civil affairs, gender issues, human rights violations, supporting national authorities to provide basic security, conflict management within society, reintegration and crisis planning in humanitarian disasters are addressed.

R Adm (JG) Patrick Duze, the Commandant of the SA National War College, said that within the context of exercise CJAX a plethora of issues came that involved the core of the military as far as lines of command and operations are concerned. “I think that you have to pause for a while to understand why it can not be done militarily”, he said.

He urged participants to see the exercise as a learning curve for those who were to continue with Peace Support Operations (PSO). He mentioned that the humanitarian elements they dealt with were not only meant for the exercise, but for their day- to-day engagements with other sectors of society.

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