Atlas Accord is an annual-joint-aerial-delivery exercise hosted by US Army Africa (USARAF), beginning in 2012. The exercise brings together US Army personnel with militaries in Africa to enhance air drop capabilities and ensure effective delivery of military resupply materials and humanitarian aid.
US service members joined troops from 6 partner nations with the purpose of sharing their knowledge of aerial resupply and recovery of as part of exercise Atlas Accord 2012 in Mali. The focus of the 2012 exercise, conducted between 7 and 15 February 2012, was to deliver supplies to people who may not have access to normal supply lines due to natural disasters or other difficult circumstances.
For the 2012 exercise, US Army Africa worked with the Mali Defence Force (MDF) and other partner nations to develop theater-specific drop zone expertise, rigging knowledge, improved air crew operations, forward aerial refueling capabilities and staff planning proficiency focused on logistics-themed aerial delivery. Planners developed familiarization events with 294th Quartermaster Company (Airborne) in Texas; C/2-19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) in West Virginia; and with the 21st Theater Sustainment Command in Germany where US Army soldiers and Mali Defence Force soldiers trained together on rigging, low-cost aerial delivery techniques and associated platoon-level infantry techniques in preparation for effective collaboration during Atlas Accord.
In partnership with the Mali Defence Force and the US Army, militaries from Algeria, Burkina Faso, Canada, Niger, Senegal, Tunisia, and Uganda had committed to sending small teams to participate in Atlas Accord 12. Together, the military partners would work to enhance the readiness of logistical and resupply capabilities, while improving the capacity to respond to humanitarian assistance situations. The exercise would consist of classroom instruction and a Field Training Exercise. Atlas Accord 12 would increase the capability of the MDF to resupply forces in remote areas and would strengthen interoperability between the US, MDF, and the other participating militaries.
400 Malian Defense Force members and 125 Americans participated in Atlas Accord 12. During the 2012 exercise, members of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) conducted pathfinder training to locate suitable drop zones, cleared the area to ensure the safety of local residents, marked the drop zones for the aircraft and recovered supplies. The pathfinder training during Atlas Accord 12 was seen as potentially helping future joint operations between partner nations to deliver humanitarian supplies safely to those in need. Also, soldiers of the 807th Medical Command (Deployment Support), based at Fort Douglas, Utah, shared their expertise with their Malian medical defense forces counterparts during Atlas Accord 12. Thirty-seven New York Army National Guard logistics specialists from the 369th Sustainment Brigade were also deployed to support the exercise.
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