Chad announced it will host the Flintlock 2015 exercise, U.S. Africa Command’s premier Special Operations Forces exercise, which will kick off Feb. 16, 2015 in the capital N’Djamena with outstations in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tunisia, and will run through March 9, 2015.
The announcement was made Thursday by Brig. Gen. Zakaria Ngobongue, Exercise Director for Chad, who said during a press conference that his country is honored to mark a significant event in its military history. “Chadian forces led the development of the Exercise Flintlock ‘15 training objectives to help build relationships reinforcing the capacity of participating militaries to secure a stable environment for growth and development in the nations of the region. This is an event, which shows the commitment and progress of our country’s military over the years to ensure security and stability for our people.”
Conducted by Special Operations Command Forward – West Africa, Flintlock is a joint, combined multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination. Its focus is military interoperability and capacity-building among African, Western and U.S. counterterrorism forces.
Amb. James A. Knight, the United States ambassador to Chad, who spoke at the press conference, congratulated the Chadians on their initiative to host Flintlock ‘15 adding that this was a perfect example of regional and international cooperation between African, European and North American partners.
Over 1,200 personnel will be involved in Chad-hosted Flintlock ‘15, with outstations in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tunisia. Participants are from Burkina Faso, Denmark, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mauritania, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Norway, Senegal, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mali, Czech Republic, Estonia, Lithuania and the United States.
Flintlock ‘15 builds upon the successes and lessons learned during previous exercises which were conducted annually since 2005 and were designed to foster regional cooperation among North and West Africa militaries, while reducing sanctuary and support for violent extremist organizations.
The exercise strengthens security institutions, promotes multilateral sharing of information, and develops interoperability among the partner nations of the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP). Exercise Flintlock also helps USAFRICOM to achieve objectives for military capacity development training and multinational regional cooperation.