Roadmap for the Operationalization of the African Standby Force

from African Union
Published on 23 Mar 2005 View Original


1. At its 3rd meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 15-16 May 2003, African Chiefs of Defence Staff (ACDS) agreed on the document titled: "," which provides a framework for the establishment of the ASF. The key conclusions and assumptions that underpin the ASF emanating from this meeting are summarized in Annex A.

2. The relevant recommendations of the 3rd Meeting of the ACDS were submitted to the Third Extraordinary Session of the Executive Council [Decision Ext/EX/CL/Dec.2-3 (III)], which was held in Sun City, South Africa, from 21-24 May 2003. Among others, the Executive Council recommended that "further consultations be undertaken with all relevant stakeholders to consolidate the proposals contained in the Policy Framework adopted by the ACDS. Subsequently, the AU Summit in Maputo, Mozambique (July 2003), adopted Decision Assembly/AU/Dec.16 (II), which, inter alia, took note of the Framework Document for the Establishment of the ASF and the MSC.

3. The Framework Document called for the establishment of the ASF in two phases:

a. Phase One (up to 30 June 2005): The AU's objective would be to establish a strategic level management capacity for the management of Scenarios 1-2 missions, while Regional Economic Communities (RECs)/Regions would complement the African Union (AU) by establishing regional standby forces up to a brigade size to achieve up to Scenario 4.

b. Phase Two (1 July 2005 to 30 June 2010): It is envisaged that, by the year 2010, the AU would have developed the capacity to manage complex peacekeeping operations, while the RECs/ Regions will continue to develop the capacity to deploy a Mission Headquarters (HQs) for Scenario 4, involving AU/Regional peacekeeping forces.

4. The ACDS held its 4th meeting in Addis Ababa from 17-18 January 2004. The meeting was followed by the 1st meeting of African Ministers of Defence (AMOD), on 20 January 2004. The purpose of this meeting was to institutionalize the structures requisite for the African security architecture and, particularly, to involve the Ministers in the process of establishing the ASF.

5. Even though the 4th ACDS meeting and the 1st meeting of the Ministers of Defence took place on schedule, the absence of substantive follow-up consultations and exchange of information between the AU and the RECs/regions as well as the fact that the continental policy framework for the establishment of the ASF was not translated into practical steps on the way forward, delayed the process. In order to move the ASF project forward, the AMOD set a new deadline of October 2004. By that deadline, it was agreed that the AU and RECs/Regions should meet to establish multinational and multidisciplinary work groups to identify standby forces, rapid reaction elements, centres of excellence, regional logistical support requirements, location of early warning centres, etc. Furthermore, it was agreed that the AU and RECs/Regions would conclude work on outstanding issues, including agreements on the establishment of the ASF, the MSC and the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS).

6. Since then, the RECs/Regions have taken steps to establish the structures provided for in the Framework Document. Progress at regional level includes the following:

a. Eastern Africa

i. In eastern Africa, the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) was mandated on interim basis to coordinate the efforts of the region towards the establishment of Eastern African Standby Brigade (EASBRIG).

ii. The Eastern Africa Chiefs of Defense Staff (EACDS) met in Junja, Uganda, from 13 to 14 February 2004, and adopted a Policy Framework and a Legal Framework to operationalize EASBRIG, which was approved by the meeting of Ministers of Defense held on 16 - 17 July 2004, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

iii. Towards funding EASBRIG, the Ministers at their meeting in Kigali, Rwanda, approved a 2,5 million USD budget. The Ministers further approved the location and staffing of the Planning Element (PLANELM) and the Brigade HQs. The EASBRIG now has three components: the brigade HQs to be located in Addis Ababa, the Planning Element to be based in Nairobi and the Logistic base to be co-located with the Brigade HQs in Addis Ababa. The Ministers further adopted nominations of the Brigade Commander and the Chief of Staff of the Planning Element.

iv. Additionally, EASBRIG military experts have made recommendations on the Host Agreement, which is awaiting the approval of the Council.

v. The is scheduled to meet in Addis Ababa on 11 April 2005 to consider the recommendations of the Council of Ministers on the Policy Framework, the Legal Framework, the Budget and the Host Agreement.

vi. The Eastern Africa Community (EAC) has also made progress in the area of peace and security, particularly with the formulation of a draft on Cooperation in Defence and the development of a concept paper towards upgrading the MoU into a Protocol. In view of this progress, the EAC was advised to harmonize its efforts in a collaborative manner with IGAD and COMESA, towards the establishment of EASBRIG.

b. Western Africa:

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has also made considerable progress in the standby force development. These include the approval of the Military Vision and Strategy, Force Structure, the 2-Approach Depot Concept and Concept of Development. Other areas are pledging by Member States of Units and Personnel of a Task Force (TF) and Main Brigade (MB) of 6,500 men and Headquarters Staff Personnel. The Mission Planning and Management Cell (MPMC) has also been established and 10 Military Officers from ECOWAS Member States recruited to work in the MPMC.

c. Southern Africa:

i. In compliance with AU's decision to establish the ASF and

Regional Standby Brigades, the Inter Defence and Security SubCommittee (IDSC) held a meeting in Maseru, Kingdom of Lesotho, to consider base documents for the establishment of SADC Standby Force, i.e. SADC Standby Brigade and SADC Civpol.

ii. Consequently, a Ministerial Defence Sub-Committee was mandated by IDSC to set up a technical team to plan the establishment of the SADC Standby Force. The Sub-Committee recommended that the process of establishing SADC Civpol should move in tandem with SADC Brigade.

iii. The Military Planners have completed the preliminary planning process for the establishment of the Standby Force. Further to that, the Military Planners fielded a Task Team mission to the Secretariat to assess the conditions and requirements for the establishment of SADC Standby PLANELM. The proposals of the Military Planners were submitted to SADC Member States for comments.

iv. Another meeting of the Planners is scheduled for the first week of April 2005, where final decision would be taken on the modalities of establishing the interim PLANELM that will lead to the permanent PLANELM.

v. As part of the establishment of the SADC Standby Force, SADC is expediting action on the resumption of the activities at the Regional Peacekeeping Training Centre (RPTC).

d. Central Africa

Progress has equally been made towards the establishment of Central Africa Regional Standby Brigade. From July 2003 to December 2004, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) held six meetings at the levels of experts, Chiefs of Defence Staff and Ministers of Peace and Security Council of ECCAS (COPAX). During these meetings, the following were adopted:

i. the structure of regional headquarters of ECCAS PLANELM; ii. the structure and TOE for ECCAS Standby Brigade (including strength of the brigade of 2,177); iii. Action Plan for the establishment of the ECCAS PLANELM and

ECCAS Standby Brigade; iv. Exercise paper for multinational training exercise known as "Exercise Bahl El Ghazel 2005".

The next meeting of the Chiefs of Defence Staff will be held in Luanda, on 13 - 14 April 2005.


7. The aim of the Roadmap is to provide clarity on the key steps required for the operationalisation of the ASF in Phase 1 (i.e. up to 30 June 2006).


8. The Roadmap will focus on the following components of the ASF as set out in the ASF Policy Framework:

a. The requirement for a Legitimate Political Capacity to Mandate a Mission, either at the level of the UN, the AU and/or RECs/Regions, in accordance with relevant provisions of the UN Charter.

b. The Multidimensional Strategic Level Management Capability of which the core requirement during Phase 1 is twofold:

i. a PLANELM within the Peace and Security Department of the AU Commission; and

ii. A PLANELM for each of the five brigades at regional level.

c. The Mission HQ Level Multidimensional Management Capability, of which the core requirement during Phase 1 is a brigade HQ for each regional brigade and an expanded PLANELM at AU level capable of planning and supporting AU mandated Peace Support Operations (PSOs).

d. The Mission Components for PSOs, with immediate emphasis on military units on standby that are earmarked, trained and ready for employment as part of the ASF; CivPol and MILOBs on call to the AU.

9. Subsequent sections would deal with:

a. Training and doctrine;

b. Logistic sustainability and logistical infrastructure;

c. Command, Control, Communications and Information Systems (C3IS);

d. Funding;

e. Collaboration and cooperation;

f. Follow-up and harmonization.


10. At the strategic level, and in terms of the provisions of the Protocol establishing the PSC, the AU constitutes a legitimate mandating authority under Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. In this regard, the AU will seek UN Security Council authorisation of its enforcements actions. Similarly, the RECs/Regions will seek AU authorisation of their interventions.


11. To provide for multidimensional strategic level management capability, the ASF Policy Framework requires the establishment of 15-person PLANELMs at the AU HQ and at each of the RECs/Regional HQs.1

12. Against this background, the following has been agreed on the establishment and tasks of the AU HQ PLANELM:

a. The AU Commission would request the secondment of five experienced officers from African Member States for an initial period of one year from 1 July 2005 to 30 June 2006. One officer each should be an expert on: communications and information technology, operations, logistics, standby plans and coordination, and training. These seconded officers would be located at the AU Commission in Addis Ababa and will constitute the AU PLANELM for Phase 1, working under the PLANELM Chief of Staff. In order to achieve set targets for Phase 1 of the ASF, the AU PLANELM is expected to complete the following tasks before 30 June 2006:

i. Convening of Workshops to provide a costed continental logistic system, continental Command, Control, Communication and Information System (C3IS) and continental training concept and the initiation of key recommendations in this regard;

ii. Determine Standard Table of Organization and Equipments (TOEs), in conjunction with RECs/Regions;

iii. Development and implementation of a continental standby system, including linking it to the United Nations Standby Arrangement System (UNSAS);

iv. Initiate and coordinate the drafting of MoUs and Letters of Exchange;

v. Drafting Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for the ASF;

vi. Elaborate/draft doctrine for the ASF2;

vii. Elaborate/develop standardized training modules, including participation in planning of Command Post Exercise (CPX).

b. This will also involve the convening of Workshops covering doctrine development, SOPs, C3IS, logistics system and training and evaluation, in collaboration with the RECs/Regions between July and December 2005. The detail of the Workshops is contained in Annex B.

c. The AU will negotiate with the UN/SHIRBRIG/G8 and other partners, as necessary, to provide expert advice to support the workshops and PLANELMs.

13. As far as the RECs/ Regional PLANELMs are concerned, the following tasks have been agreed upon:

a. That RECs/Regions be guided by the functions and structure of the

PLANELMs as reflected in Annex C. The core function of the PLANELMs is planning, preparation and training, including the verification of Brigade HQs and standby elements. This is considered a full-time requirement.

b. That RECs/Regions PLANELMs collaborate with the AU PLANELM in the tasks listed in paragraph 12, and the execution of the functions as set out in Annex C.

c. Where possible, the RECs/Regional PLANELMs should be co-located with the RECs/Regional Brigade HQ for ease of command, control and communications.

d. AU Partners should be approached to contribute to the building and sharing of expertise with the RECs/Regions PLANELMs in a coordinated manner.

e. PLANELMs would be task and content oriented, and their selection should be based on competence.

f. Identification of shortfalls in the resources contributed by Member States; this could be undertaken by regional brigades HQs and PLANELMs, through verification visits and staff checks.

g. Rectification of short falls in the resources of regional brigades.


14. The ASF concept requires the establishment of a mission HQ level management capability in the form of a brigade HQ within each REC/Region. During Phase 1, it was agreed that the nucleus of three officers augmented by non-permanent brigade HQ staff on standby be formed in the respective Member States. Some regions may decide to combine their PLANELMs with this nucleus, while others may wish to base the standby brigade HQ on an existing Brigade HQ in a Member State. Other regions may decide in favour of a skeleton Brigade HQ based on an existing Brigade HQ in a Member State.

15. Each of the RECs/Regions will communicate to the AU the appellation of its Brigade. However, it should be understood that the mandating authority will provide an appropriate appellation for any Mission it mandates.

16. Against this background the following has been agreed:

a. That each REC/Region confirms the location, concept and staffing of the Brigade HQ and its relation to the RECs/Regional PLANELMs by 1 July 2005, and communicate its decisions in this regard to the AU.

b. That the RECs/Regions constitute a nucleus Brigade HQ capacity under a Chief of Staff of the rank of Brigadier General by 31 December 2005 and provide appropriate office space and associated facilities.

c. That the nucleus of the Brigade HQ verify and report on the operational readiness of the Brigade, in conjunction with the REC/Regional PLANELMs, for Phase 1 requirements, to the AU PLANELM before 30 June 2006.

d. That the AU and Regions/RECs negotiate with donors for support to cover the costs for sub-par b above.


17. In the case of military and police capabilities required for Phase 1, each category of ASF mission component is to consist of observers, individuals and formed units, on standby in their countries of origin ready to be deployed, using a system of On Call Lists. The AU PLANELMs will undertake the development of the ASF standby system (see par 12.a.iii above).

18. Against this background, it was agreed that following tasks would be completed before 31 October 2005:

a. Member States should nominate and name the Standby Brigade

HQ staff and populate the standby database, and forward same to the RECs/Regions;

b. Member States should nominate standby units, including the completion of the standby database, and forward same to the RECs/Regions;

c. Member States should nominate, name and populate CivPol standby database, and forward same to the RECs/Regions;

d. Member States should nominate, name and populate MILOBs standby database, and forward same to the RECs/Regions;

e. The RECs/Regions will forward all databases collected from Member States to the AU.

19. The routine selection system, preparation and training of the ASF components would be a national responsibility.


20. A multinational peace operations capability of the ASF requires standardised doctrine that is consistent with that of the UN (such as the UN Multinational Peacekeeping Handbook), and complemented by African specificity. To achieve effective ASF training:

a. The AU will organize workshops to develop a set of standardized SOPs based on its Draft Generic SOPs, as well as those existing within the regions.

b. The AU will facilitate doctrinal coherence and dissemination of lessons learnt. This could be done through the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA).

c. The AU and RECs/Regional PLANELMs will harmonize ASF training cycles with UN and external initiatives, as well as feed into these initiatives, to enhance and synergize ASF capacities.

d. RECs/Regions will adopt an appropriate training policy providing for cycles of national, regional and AU-wide training; this could be coordinated with major external initiatives. While ASF training is to be consistent with UN doctrine with a view to standardizing doctrine, based on the Standard Generic Training Modules (SGTM), ASF training beyond this level would be regionally coordinated and enhanced through regional peacekeeping centers of excellence.

e. RECs/Regions should streamline the establishment of centers of excellence/use of existing national training institutions within the various regions and regionalize training at these centers to optimize their regional profile and use.

f. While awaiting the publication of the UN SGTMs, efforts of the PLANELMs would be deployed to develop all aspects of the ASF training policy, including the development of ASF SOPs, TOEs and other training manuals, which could then be updated when the SGTMs become available.

g. The AU would seek appropriate advice for the production of doctrine for intervention Missions as envisaged in Senario 6 of Annex A.

h. Where necessary, the UN (DPKO) would be requested to assist with training-the-trainer and pre-deployment training for ASF brigades and units.


21. The ASF Policy Framework provides that missions deployed for Scenarios 1-3 should be self-sustainable for up to 30 days, while Scenarios 4-6 missions and operations should deploy with up to 90 days self-sustainability. After the initial 30 days of self-sustainment, the mandating authority must take responsibility for the sustainment of the missions or, lacking that capacity, the readiness and ability to start reimbursing TCCs in order for the latter to continue to sustain their respective contingents.

22. The Policy Framework also proposed a system of AU Military Logistical Depots (AMLD), consisting of the AU Military Logistical Depot and regional logistical bases, aiming at rapid deployment and mission sustainability.

23. A key task of the AU PLANELM during Phase 1 is to initiate and complete a study to present a costed continental logistic system for the ASF that outlines the appropriate concepts and plans for preparing, deploying and sustaining the ASF.

24. During Phase 1, and until the ASF achieves a viable and sustained logistical capability following the implementation of the ASF logistic concept, the AU system for logistical sustainability should beguided by the following:

a. ASF mission sustainment should be based on UN rates as a guide, while the actual consumption and reimbursement rates are adjusted in accordance with the African reality. The AU PLANELM will take the lead to determine AU reimbursement rates based on UN rates, but informed by relevant experiences. A workshop on logistics system will be convened to elaborate on this issue. The workshop could consider the following:

i. The necessity for Member States contributing resources to the ASF to focus on national (stocks and reserves) readiness during Phase 1, while external logistical facilities are negotiated to support the establishment of the AMLD. These should involve arrangements for the committal of pre-positioned equipment and/or on-call donor equipment, within the framework of appropriate MoU. This will involve RECs/Regions and the AU PLANELMs.

ii. The need for the AU and Regions/RECs to negotiate strategic movements and lifts from external Partners within multilateral regional arrangements.

iii. Based on previous experiences, Member States wishing to contribute resources to ASF deployed missions would be advised to aim at nearly 100 percent wet lease capacity.

iv. AMLD stocks should be used partly to beef up the requirements of ASF brigades and units on deployment, and the rest held centrally in second line mission level bases.

b. While Member States deploy national contingents with the required national operational and logistical capabilities, in accordance with the required deployment and sustainability guidelines, the Mandating Authority would take step to reimburse Troop-Contributing Countries at appropriate rates and in a timely manner.


25. Effective command and control of the ASF will depend upon the installation of an appropriate Africa-wide interoperable C3IS integrated infrastructure, linking deployed units with mission HQs, as well as with the AU, PLANELMs and Regions/RECs. To meet this requirement, a technical workshop on C3IS will be convened to elaborate on ASF strategic and operation requirement in these areas.


26. Funding is important for the success of any mission. In this regard, it is agreed that, before 31 October 2005, the AU/RECs should:

a. assess the detailed cost of the structures of the ASF, including pre-deployment activities, such as training and the activities of the PLANELMs and regional brigade groups;

b. assess the cost of the types of ASF missions, based on the relevant levels of forces, including mandate, with an average mission timeframe of between one and two years, which is long enough a period for the follow-on deployment of a UN mission or operation, and more limited operations in support of peace processes of between six months and one year only;

c. encourage AU Member States to contribute to the endowment of the AU Peace Fund;

d. sustain negotiations with external Partners for assistance.

27. Additionally, external multinational regional arrangements would be used to harness assistance towards the establishment, stocking, maintenance, and strategic airlift of equipment and vehicles for ASF pre-deployment training and missions.


28. The AU's traditional collaboration with its bilateral and multilateral partners, should be maintained and deepened. The collaboration will seek to meet the aspirations and needs of the AU/RECs/Regions and in order to bridge the gap in the capabilities of the AU/RECs/Regions systems. The collaboration with the international community will aim at the following broad priority areas:

a. Establishment of the pre-deployment structures of the ASF, namely

PLANELMs and regional brigade HQs, including the relevant activities and running cost of these structures;

b. Establishment of AMLDs, including the AU and REC/Regional MLDs

(after the workshop) and, in default, mechanisms for the committal of donor-held equipment to ASF missions, including strategic air and sealifts;

c. ASF training of regional brigade groups, including support to regional centers of excellence for training, planning and conduct of CPX as well as allocation of vacancies to ASF staff for external training;

d. Endowment of the Peace Fund/accessible financial support to support short-term ASF deployments and sustainment contingencies, as and when necessary, pending deployment of a UN force.


1 However, in view of obvious constraints, the 1st AMOD Meeting recommended the phased establishment of these PLANELMs, with an initial nucleus of only 5 officers to be responsible for pre-deployment management of the ASF and its regional Standby Brigades during phase 1.

2 This process could be facilitated through the African Peace Support Trainers Association (APSTA), whose membership is currently composed of KAIPTC (Ghana), Kenya Staff College, RPTC (Zimbabwe), Nigerian War college, South African War College and the Peacekeeping School in Koulikouro in Mali.

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