The Department of State is participating in Flintlock, U.S. Africa Command’s (AFRICOM) annual and largest Special Operations Forces exercise. Flintlock exercises have taken place regularly since 2005 with partner nations from the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and are planned by African partner nation special operations forces; Special Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA); and the U.S. Department of State. Approximately 1,900 service members from 20 African and Western partner nations will participate in Flintlock at multiple locations in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Senegal from April 9-20.
The largest civilian component to Flintlock 2018 is the law enforcement training and equipment provided under the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. Through a partnership with the ATA program, this year’s exercise marks the most thorough integration of civilian equities into Flintlock yet. The law enforcement component will build upon the cross-border counterterrorism communication, coordination, and response at the strategic, operational, and tactical levels between military and civilian law enforcement to counter terrorist threats and attacks. In general, the law enforcement integration into Flintlock provides a series of training sessions focusing on tactical rural patrol and crisis response capabilities, counterterrorism investigations, command and communication management, post blast and crime scene investigations, community engagement, and human rights. The State Department will also integrate rule of law engagement and humanitarian border management training into components of the exercise.
Participating African nations include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal. Western partners include Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.