Operation Flintlock is the annual AFRICOM showpiece Special Operations exercise. This African-led, military and law enforcement exercise has been conducted since 2005. Flintlock is designed to foster greater cooperation, and counter violent extremist activity inside the partner nations’ borders.

Special Operations Command Africa commander, Air Force Brigadier General Dagvin Anderson, said: “Flintlock is an example of how the international community can face complex challenges both in the Sahel and across Africa. No country can defeat these threats alone and no country has every answer. Only by addressing instability, the root of terrorism, as an international problem by building multi-national partnerships can we create a prosperous future.” 

African nations that are taking an active role in this year’s exercise include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Togo. Other allied 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.

Flintlock 2020 is currently taking place in Mauritania as well as in Senegal. The exercise is designed to strengthen the ability of key partner nations in the region to counter violent extremist organizations, protect their borders, and better provide security for their people. But its most positive aspect is building relationships and fostering the concept of mutual support between the nations. That is and always has been a hallmark of classic Special Operations team building.