African Lion 2015 will be the biggest military exercise on the African continent. Military contingents from Morocco, the U.S.A, Germany, United Kingdom, Tunisia, Mauritania and Senegal will begin the first phase of Exercise African Lion 2015, in Agadir, today (Feb. 2)
African Lion 15 will begin with an intelligence capacity building workshop during the first week of February. The international coalition will then stand up a Combined Joint Task Force and plan for a simulated international crisis the week after. This will prepare them for the main phase of the exercise scheduled to take place mid-May.
The exercise is conducted in accordance with U.N. mandated peace operation standards. Each event is designed to strengthen cooperation and operational proficiency between the nations for future crisis and contingency response in the region. The training focuses on building combined military capabilities and integrating experiences and lessons learned from the participants.
The second phase of the exercise involves approximately 2,500 personnel from participating countries and will also include contingents from the Netherlands and Belgium. The CJTF will work through a scenario that focuses on humanitarian aid, disaster relief, stability operations, command and control, and maritime prepositioning integration. The 2015 edition also integrates the Moroccan and U.S. Air Force in "Exercise Majestic Eagle", which will occur simultaneously with the second portion of African Lion, and focuses on aerial refuelling and close air support training missions.
“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.”
African Lion is held every year in Morocco and US Marine officials say they are impressed by the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces. Exercise African Lion 14 was held in Tifnit and at the time 1st Lt. Shane G. Livingstone, a military police platoon commander said “The Moroccans simply amazed the Marines. This morning we did a ‘check on learning.’ There’s nothing like being able to watch them pick up and execute everything they learned the day before with speed and accuracy, even after having received a lot of classes the same day,” he explained.
However, this exercise was not only beneficial for Morocco; the US military learned from the Royal Moroccan Force’s experience as well. “This training was good for us, because we’ve learned just as much from the Moroccans,” said Sgt. Keenan M. Kite, with the U.S. Army military police.