U.S. Special Operations Command Africa will conduct Flintlock 2023 in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire from March 1-15, 2023, with approximately 1,300 service members from 30 participating nations.
Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual special operations exercise combining military and law enforcement to strengthen African and international special operations forces capabilities. The exercise, which first premiered in 2005, operates on the basis of mutual respect and collaboration to advance the shared interests of regional stability.
“Flintlock will represent the talent of all these countries collectively working to solve the security challenges that pose threats across the region,” stated SOCAF Deputy Commander, Col. Robert Zyla, during a January 13 combined press conference in Accra. “Violent extremism threatens the stability of not only Africa, but our partners around the globe. A safer and more secure Africa will result in a more prosperous global society and security environment.”
Flintlock intends to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, collaborate across borders, and provide security for their people, while respecting human rights and building trust with civilian populations. The robust participation of African and international partners reflects a mutual commitment to countering malign activity and violent extremism throughout the Sahel and West Africa region. While regional security is the focus of the exercise, lessons learned at Flintlock will create lasting effects beyond North and West Africa.
U.S. forces have historically partnered with Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire through multiple military and civil affairs exchanges. Last year, Côte d’Ivoire hosted Flintlock 2022, with more than 400 participants from ten nations. This year’s iteration aims to continue reinforcing the collective ability of allied and partner nations to address key security challenges.