Cablegate: Strengthening the Au's Communications Architecture

DE RUEHDS #2261/01 2610424
R 180424Z SEP 09




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. Summary: USAU held its second C3IS workshop on September
9-11 to continue the U.S. commitment to the
African Union (AU) to assist in establishing a communications
architecture for the African Standby Force (ASF). The
meeting brought together civilian and military communication
experts from the AU, UN, U.S. and the EU, as
well as members from the AU's Peace and Security Commission
and Management Information Systems (MIS) department.
Participants recommended more relief for the current
communication challenges faced by the AU's mission in
Somalia, creation of an operations center for the AU's Peace
and Security Operations Division and finalization of
a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the US and AU. In
addition a proposal was made for a five-year implementation
plan to develop a network that will provide VSAT-based
communications services to all the regional planning cells,
logistics centers, and brigade HQs. End Summary.


2. As a result of a September 2005 G-8 meeting at the AU, the
USG and the AU entered into an historical agreement to
substantially upgrade the integration and communications
capacity of the AU in executing the AU's "Roadmap for the
Establishment of the African Standby Force." From this, the
U.S. Department of State agreed to support a Command,
Control, and Communication Information System (C3IS) to
provide a High Frequency (HF) radio voice network, with a
follow-on Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) capability, to
facilitate interoperability and information sharing
between the AU, the three Regional Economic Communities
(RECs) and two Regional Mechanisms (RMs), and the ASF
Brigade headquarters. This system would link, via voice,
data, and fax: (i) the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa,
Ethiopia; (ii) the five headquarters of the regional ASF
brigades; (iii) their subordinate units; and (iv) the
proposed depot facility. The backdrop of this program was to
support regional peacekeeping and counter-narcotics
efforts through Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI)
funding. USAU held a workshop in February 2009 and has
since held several meetings that have led to improved
political support for the project and better communications
for the AMISOM forces.

Current Situation and Proposed Look Forward

3. Since the last workshop, the following developments have
taken place:

-- An MOA was revised and agreed upon by the AU and USG
participants in this workshop, and is ready for final
review by AU and State Department lawyers.
-- VSAT connection was established successfully in June 2009
and will be operational again when the AU MIS
reconnects the link at the Network Operation Center in Addis
-- The previously procured equipment that was staged at CECOM
in New Jersey has been transferred to USAFRICOM in Stuttgart.
The ITAR-restricted equipment in this package (Harris 5800
radios) are ready to be shipped to Burundi and Uganda pending
USAFRICOM staffing and approval.
-- The non-restricted equipment that will be utilized to set
up an initial operations center at the AU is also ready to be
shipped, with the goal of delivering and installing it within
the next two months.
-- An AU Ministers of Defense and Chiefs of Defense
(MOD/CHOD) meeting was held on May 15 paving the
way for the AU to accept the C3IS proposal and to move ahead
with the program.
-- The group reviewed a general five-year timeline for
implementation at the various sites. Review of specific
timelines is pending.
-- Satellite phones are now functioning in Mogadishu allowing
the Force Commander to talk to AU leadership.
-- A UN support package arrived in Mogadishu in August and as
of September 14, the AMISOM Headquarters unit in Addis
Ababa is able to dial directly in to the Force Commander's
desk in Mogadishu. It will also be able to provide VTC and
telephone connectivity with encryption via the UN network.
-- A biweekly working group was established by USAU comprised
of local AU and State Department personnel to

ADDIS ABAB 00002261 002 OF 003

ensure efforts continue forward.
-- The working group provided technical requirements for the
future operations room and network center to GTZ (German
Technical Cooperation), who is funding the construction of
the new PSOD building .
-- On August 19, AU Chairperson Jean Ping, Commissioner
Ramtame Lamamra, and General Ward discussed C3IS. Lamamra
emphasized that C3IS is essential to operationalize the ASF
and he reaffirmed the AU's expectation that the US
continues to "concretize" its commitment.

Workshop Outcomes

4. The head of the AU,s Peace Support Operations Division
Mr. Sivuyile Bam expressed pleasure with the current efforts
and opined that the once defunct program is now moving
forward. His primary concerns were:

-- Political and policy issues need to be addressed
immediately by the AU leadership. MIS and PSOD must
collaborate to move this project forward. Politics, rather
than technology, is now impeding progress.
-- While the architecture is being designed and the equipment
procured, the system should be designed to be functional
across all levels, including the ability to communicate with
the UN units and facilities.
-- When the initial field visits are made to the various
regions, the assessment team should take a close look at not
only the capability of communication between the AU and the
regional headquarters, but also how the regional headquarters
communicate with their member states. (Note: we reminded Bam
that the USG had not agreed to provide communications
equipment linking the RECs/RMs with individual member states,
and he agreed.
-- The operations center must be established prior to
Exercise Amani Africa in March 2010 in order to test
communications between the AU and the regions.
-- The AU leadership needs to persuade MIS to provide more
support to this project. Bam recommended using USG and UN
senior leaders to pressure the AU leadership to take more
ownership of the program and to help improve cooperation
within the different departments.

5. The group asked Bam to give workshop participants a list
of other donors who are providing funding for communication
systems so they can coordinate efforts. For instance,
participants learned of an EU fund for handheld radios,
computers and other equipment being procured to support
Exercise Amani Africa. This equipment
which will be left behind after the exercise is over could be
integrated in to the C3IS program.

6. The workshop recommendations were:

-- C3IS should have its own secure network. In crisis
situations, PSOD cannot compete with other entities for
access to scarce network resources. A dedicated network for
operations support is required.
-- HF/VHF radio communications should be improved by
providing the Harris 5800 radios to Burundi and Uganda
bilaterally in support of AMISOM. These should be shipped as
soon as possible from Stuttgart.
-- The Strategic Planning Management Unit (SPMU) should
provide a memo to MIS to request support not only for
future communication linkages but also to help configure
several laptops for AMISOM in order for the Force Commander
and senior leaders to have secure email over the AU domain.
The laptops are available from the previously procured
equipment in Stuttgart.
-- During a field trip to the AU depot, attendees discovered
unused PRC-77 radios, body armor, and night vision goggles
that could support AMISOM forces. The AU leadership was not
aware of this inventory. A team of J6 personnel from
CJTF-HOA should test and inventory the equipment and then
have the AU deploy it to the field as soon as possible. --
Bam should engage senior leadership, including legal counsel,
on the MOA, CONOPS, and implementation of the PSOD
building requirements and the initial stand-up of a temporary
operations center.
-- There should be a defined supporting policy for the
technology and coordination of funding available from all
-- Further coordination is needed with GTZ to harmonize its
proposed master IT plan for the new building and surrounding
-- Before the end of 2009, PSOD should conduct site surveys

ADDIS ABAB 00002261 003 OF 003

of the regions. The technical assessment teams should
include AU and USG personnel, and identify communications
capabilities and gaps.
-- MIS agreed to appoint a key person to address VSAT
services for PSOD.
-- The MOA should be sent to the AU Legal department for
their review and then to Africa Bureau legal in the next 60
-- In the next 30 days, the AU should draft a policy that
outlines with more specificity than the declaration from the
MOD/CHOD meeting what they want the architecture to look
-- USAU should inform U.S. Defense Attaches in the five
regions about the technical site surveys, and solicit their
support for these technical teams to visit their areas in
development of the C3IS program.
-- PSOD should facilitate the establishment of a temporary
PSOD Operations Center with basic initial capability and
enhance it to full capability (i.e. secure voice, internet,
fax) in the next 90 days.
-- The AU should establish a PSOD C3I Network Operations
Center with full capability. The capability of the PSOD C3IS
should be extended to the RECs and the RMs. AFRICOM has
already submitted a related GPOI request for FY10 funding for
this purpose.
-- These recommendations should be presented to the AU
Commissioner for Peace and Security, the Deputy Chairperson,
and the directors of MIS, Human Resources, and the Legal
Counsel for their understanding and agreement in the next 30

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


IPPPR: The Independent Panel Calls For Urgent Reform Of Pandemic Prevention And Response Systems

Expert independent panel calls for urgent reform of pandemic prevention and response systems The Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response is today calling on the global community to end the COVID-19 pandemic and adopt a series of bold and ... More>>

NGO Coalition On Human Rights: Call For A Stop To Police Brutality In Fiji

A viral video has circulated online showing two police officers utilising disproportionate and excessive force in detaining the suspect, an individual half their size. In the video it shows the man’s head being pressed down on the ground, his arms being ... More>>

UN: India’s New COVID-19 Wave Is Spreading Like ‘Wildfire’, Warns UN Children’s Fund

7 May 2021 A new wave of COVID-19 infections is spreading like “wildfire” across India, leaving many youngsters destitute, the UN Children’s Fund UNICEF said on Friday. In the last 24 hours, India registered 3,915 coronavirus deaths and 414,188 ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

UN: Economic Recovery Under Threat Amid Surging COVID Cases And Lagging Vaccination In Poorer Countries

New York, 11 May — While the global growth outlook has improved, led by robust rebound in China and the United States, surging COVID-19 infections and inadequate vaccination progress in many countries threaten a broad-based recovery of the world ... More>>

Study: Cut Methane Emissions To Avert Global Temperature Rise

6 May 2021 Methane emissions caused by human activity can be reduced by up to 45 per cent this decade, thus helping to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a UN-backed ... More>>

UN: Learning From COVID-19, Forum To Highlight Critical Role Of Science, Technology And Innovation In Global Challenges

New York, 4 May —To build on the bold innovations in science, technology and innovations that produced life-saving solutions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN will bring together experts to highlight measures that can broaden the development and deployment ... More>>