Military personnel from the US, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Senegal, and Tunisia, have started phase two of African Lion 2015, an annual joint military exercise, in Agadir, Morocco.
The phase involves approximately 2,500 personnel from participating countries, and will also include the joint Moroccan-US Air Force exercise, code-named ‘Majestic Eagle,’ which will focus on aerial refuelling and close air support training missions.
Conducted in February, phase one of the exercise centred on the creation of a combined joint task force (CJTF) in preparation for a simulated international crisis.
The participating troops from the US, Morocco, Germany, Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal, and the UK went through a scenario that focused on humanitarian aid, disaster relief, as well as rapid and stable deployment operations.
A statement released by US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa read: "This exercise reinforces training engagements conducted in previous African Lion exercises and creates a foundation for slated inter-military cooperation in the future by continuing to build the familiarity and operational proficiency with Moroccan Armed Forces."
Claimed to be the largest annual US military exercise on the continent, African Lion aims to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of tactics, techniques, and procedures.
Moroccan American Centre executive director Jordan Paul said: "Hosting African Lion is an integral part of Morocco’s commitment to cooperation on regional security efforts with the US, the European Union, and its neighbours in the Maghreb, Sahel, and sub-Saharan Africa."
Designated as a ‘major non-Nato ally,’ Morocco signed a framework for cooperation on training for civilian security services with the US during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014.
The framework aims to develop mutual expertise in the areas of crisis management, border security, and terrorism investigations to strengthen regional counterterrorism capabilities, and to deny space to terrorists and terrorist networks.