In view of the alarming rate of terrorist attacks and other security threats across the globe, Exercise Epic Guardian, a joint readiness exercise organized under the auspices of the Ghana and US Governments, was held in Ghana from 26 April to 4 May 2016. The objective was to test the preparedness of the various security services and agencies to effectively respond to possible security threats.

The Exercise which was hosted by the Headquarters Southern Command had participants drawn from the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana Police Service, BNI, National Security, Ghana National Fire Service, Ghana Immigration Service, NADMO, National Ambulance Service; making up the Ghana Team, and the US Africa Command (USAFRICOM) and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA); also making up the US team.

Speaking to participants during the opening ceremony, the Chief of Army Staff, Maj Gen Richard Opoku-Adusei urged all to take the training seriously. He stressed that the threat of terrorism in the country was real and should not be under estimated.  He also entreated participants to pass on the knowledge acquired to personnel of their various Units.

As part of the exercise, participants were made to react to simulated threats in terms of strategic planning and execution, intermediate support, logistics, intelligence and strategic communication, among others.

The exercise areas included the Headquarters Southern Command where the Joint Emergency Control Centre was located and Asutsuare Training Camp which was the Forward Operating Base.

During the After Action review led by Col Stone, leader of the US team, it was observed that the issue of communication stood out more. There were suggestions from both Ghanaian and US teams on the need to make provisions for secured communications and alternative communication systems and devices at all times. Participants further expressed the need for all teams to make available the meanings of code words, terminologies and abbreviations used in their various institutions to ensure effective and efficient communication.

In his Address, the US Ambassador to Ghana, HE Robert Jackson, who was the special guest at the closing ceremony, expressed delight at the efforts and coordination brought to bear by both teams with regards to the exercise. He stated that the mission of the US government in this exercise was to ascertain the readiness of both Ghanaian and US agencies in such situations. He said the performance exhibited by all indicates the preparedness of participating agencies in the wake of eventualities.

Mr Yaw Donkor, the Ghana National Security Coordinator, appreciated the support offered by the US in the exercise. He said the successful conduct of the exercise was an indication of both countries’ preparedness and commitment to fighting the menace. He admonished the Ghanaian agencies to localize all they had learnt to aid fit into the Ghanaian system for an effective and efficient result. He further promised to make logistics available to all agencies for the fight against terrorism and trafficking.

Also present at the closing ceremony were Brig Gen Musah Whajah, the Acting Director General Joint Operations of the Ghana Armed Forces, Colonel NK Kporku and top officials from the US Embassy.