The annual African Lion exercise between the United States and Morocco is currently underway, with 350 US service members and 150 soldiers of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces being joined by military contingents from Germany, England, Tunisia, Mauritania, and Senegal.
The first phase of the exercise kicked off earlier this month in Agadir and is focusing on intelligence capacity building, to be followed by the standing up of a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) and plan for a simulated international crisis toward the overall goal of building combined military capabilities to strengthen cooperation and operational proficiency. Scenarios that focus on humanitarian aid, disaster relief, command and control etc. will be enacted, the US Marine Corps said.
The main phase of the exercise is scheduled to take place in mid-May, and will involve around 2 500 personnel and contingents from the Netherlands and Belgium, as well as a simultaneous exercise with the US-Moroccan Air Force Joint Exercise “Majestic Eagle,” which will focus on aerial refuelling and close air support training missions.
African Lion is an annually scheduled, bilateral U.S. and Moroccan sponsored exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures. It is the largest annual US military exercise on the continent.
“The foundation of how our international community responds to a crisis in any region will be established during theatre security cooperation exercises such as African Lion,” said Maj. Gen. Richard L. Simcock, commander of the CJTF. “This exercise allows the U.S., allies and partner nations to strengthen our relationships with our Moroccan hosts and improve how we will work together in the future.”