Approximately 1,900 service members and law enforcement officers from 20 African and western partner nations participated in Flintlock 2018 at multiple locations in Niger, Burkina Faso and Senegal from April 9-20, 2018.
Flintlock is an annual, African-led, integrated military and law enforcement exercise that has strengthened key partner nation forces throughout North and West Africa as well as western Special Operations Forces since 2005. Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command’s premier and largest annual Special Operations Forces exercise. In 2018 Flintlock was hosted by Niger with key outstations at Burkina Faso and Senegal. 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. Additionally, the exercise bolsters partnerships between African and western nation Special Operations Forces and law enforcement agencies, increasing their ability to work together during ongoing multinational operations and in response to crises.
This year, in addition to military exercises, Embassy Niamey orchestrated Women, Peace, and Security (WPS) Forum where Ambassador Whitaker stated, “To counter this multifaceted threat, our response must also be comprehensive. For this reason, this Flintlock exercise involves not just the militaries of our partner nations, but many civilian and law enforcement agencies as well. This whole of government approach serves to combine Diplomacy, Development, and Defense in support of collective objectives.” The WPS was a new addition to Flintlock and was attended by nearly 100 representatives from the military, civil society, NGOs, international organizations, and academia from across the region.
African nations participating in Flintlock included 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 USA.