Morocco, US Launch African Lion Annual Military Drills

Morocco and the US inaugurated Monday the 2018 edition of their annual military games, African Lion, which will take place in the regions of Agadir, Tifnit, Tan-Tan, Tiznit, Ben Guérir and Kenitra.

The military drills bring together military units and observers from 16 countries, namely Germany, Canada, Spain, France, Great Britain, Greece, Italy, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal, Tunisia, in addition to the United States and the kingdom of Morocco, said a statement by FAR General Staff.

The joint and combined exercise involves various types of training, including a Combined Joint Task Force Command Post Exercise linked with Intelligence Capacity Building Workshop and Basic Intelligence Course, Aviation Training Exercises, Field Training Exercises, Humanitarian Civic Assistance and Senior Leader Dialogue focused on counter-violent extremist organizations (VEOs), maritime/land/air border security challenges, transnational threats and regional cooperation, and cyber security and defense, a US military website said.

Approximately 900 US military personnel arrived in Morocco to take part in the exercise, which is annually scheduled to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nations’ tactics, techniques and procedures, the same source added.

“African Lion is a clear demonstration of the strong bond between our militaries,” said Lt. Col. Winston Tierney, who served as the lead planner for the exercise and is now serving as the acting task force commander. “This robust, reliable relationship is the cornerstone to shaping the security environment in the region.”

Exercise African Lion 18 is led by US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa and sponsored by US Africa Command. The exercise includes military training in command-post activities, academics, and field training all focused on countering violent extremist organizations, as well as aviation training, a humanitarian civic assistance mission, and a senior leader dialogue (SLD).

In addition to the activities taking place in Morocco, Tunisia will host a field training exercise as well as a SLD, which will address the lessons learned from the exercise. The exercise is scheduled to end on or about April 27, 2018, with all US forces returning to their home bases at the conclusion of the exercise, the website said.

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