Military planners from the U.S., Europe and Africa concluded their final planning event in Morocco between 13 and 18 January for African Lion 20, a large-scale exercise scheduled for March.
“This annually scheduled, multi-national exercise is meant to enhance interoperability with U.S. and multinational partners in the spirit of the combined strategic military cooperation,” said Col. Nabil Taoussi, operations officer, Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.
African Lion 20, set for 23 March to 3 April, will be conducted in the Kingdom of Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Spain. During the event both land and maritime training will be conducted by more than 5,000 service members from the U.S., Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, Tunisian Armed Forces, Senegalese Armed Forces, Spanish Armed Forces, alongside participants from the armed forces of Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands and military observers from more than a dozen nations.
“African Lion will include the set-up of a combined joint task force, command post exercise, academics and workshops, a field training exercise, air training exercise, maritime, CBRN [chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosives] activities, civil humanitarian exercise and medical-related exercises,” Taoussi said.
The activities are designed to enhance interoperability among partner nations against adversarial networks intent on destabilizing the region.
“African Lion is focused on getting after our joint task force capabilities,” said Col. John T. Harris, director of exercises and training for U.S. Army Africa. “The ability of AFRICOM and U.S. Army Africa to stand up a joint task force, address all the domains of combat, and be able to exercise air forces, naval forces, special forces and ground forces … make this a unique opportunity for us to get out and practice fighting as a joint force and command and control all of those domains.”
More than 30 U.S. and partner units will participate, including U.S. Africa Command, its service components, U.S. European Command, U.S. Strategic Command’s Global Strike Command, 101st Airborne Division, 10th Mountain Division, 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade, 173rd Airborne Brigade, 31st Fighter Wing, 100th Air Refueling Wing, Utah National Guard, Michigan National Guard, Washington DC National Guard, USAID, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the 79th Theater Sustainment Command, among others.