Flintlock is a Special Operations Command Africa led all-domain exercise focused on the G5 Sahel Force and their interoperability with U.S. and NATO special operations forces to counter malign influence, aggression, and activity.

Approximately 1,600 service members from more than 30 African and partner nations participated in Flintlock 2020 at multiple locations in Mauritania and Senegal from Feb. 17-28, 2020. Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual Special Operations Forces exercise.  

The 2020 iteration of Flintlock was hosted by Mauritania with one outstation in Senegal, reflecting a positive and broader commitment by African partners to help solve African problems. The exercise was designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders, and provide security for their people.

Exercise participants conducted small-unit tactics exercises to include live-fire ranges, mounted and dismounted movements, reconnaissance, close-quarters battle drills, border patrol operations, post-blast investigations, community key leader engagement, investigative interviews, intelligence sharing, and hostage rescue.

At the operational level, a multinational staff headquartered in Atar, Mauritania, tested and strengthened their ability to collectively address regional security challenges through a comprehensive scenario involving command and control of exercise participants working at the various outstations.

Exercises like Flintlock help strengthen the defense capabilities of African governments and regional organizations to address security threats more effectively – ultimately opening economic investment and trade opportunities and reducing threats to citizens and interests of allies and the United States abroad and at home.

Participating African nations included Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. International partners include Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

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