AGADIR, Morocco – Military planners from the U.S., Europe and Africa made final coordinations here Jan. 13-17 for a major exercise scheduled for March.
The African Lion 20 military exercise, set for March 23-April 3, spans six countries and three continents, said Col. Nabil Taoussi, J3 operations officer, Royal Moroccan Armed Forces.
“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,” Taoussi said.
African Lion 20 is a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff-sponsored, U.S. Africa Command-scheduled, and U.S. Army Africa-led multinational exercise conducted in Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal, Spain, Italy and the United States.
About 3,000 U.S. service members will join nearly 5,000 members of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, Tunisian Armed Forces, Senegalese Armed Forces, Spanish Armed Forces, and militaries from Italy, United Kingdom, Netherlands and elsewhere.
“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 activities, civil humanitarian exercise, and medical related exercises,” Taoussi said.
All the activities will test the U.S. military’s ability to project combat power across an ocean to conduct operations as a joint and multinational team.
“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 JTF, address all the domains of combat, and be able to exercise Air Forces, naval forces, special forces and ground forces, our joint manning document and all the systems that come with that 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, 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, and many more.
The purpose of the exercise is to set the theater for the access and interoperability among partner nations against adversarial networks intent on destabilizing the region and threatening freedom of movement.