Flintlock ’15 exercise

During the 2015 Flintlock exercise, Chad welcomed representatives from countries throughout Africa, Europe and North America during the annual, African-led military exercise and humanitarian relief operation held February 16 to March 9. Chad led the development of the exercise’s training objectives to help build relationships that reinforce the capacity of participating militaries to secure a stable environment for growth and development in the nations of the region.

As an enduring exercise, Flintlock is not focused on any specific security situation, but instead on developing security capacity, building professionalism and strengthening bonds among exercise participants.  Flintlock exercises began in 2005 and are planned by U.S. Department of Defense’s Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) to develop the capacity of and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations across the Sahel region of Africa.

This year’s exercise was headquartered out of N’Djamena, with five outstations in Chad and Niger.  Approximately 1,100 personnel from 28 countries were involved in Chad-hosted Flintlock 2015 exercise, which also included locations in Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Tunisia.  Ten flight crews from Belgium, the U.S., Canada, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, Italy and the United Kingdom moved most of the troops and 227,000 kilos of cargo with 113 flights.  In all the outstations, each soldier received 150 hours of training.

The tactical portion of Flintlock 2015 consisted of small-unit combined training and activities involving Partner Nation counter-terrorism units and military humanitarian relief operations to help improve the basic medical, dental and veterinary access for select communities in Chad and Niger.

They also conducted four community activities, met with key leaders, and treated1800 people in several medical assistance clinics.  Chadian and U.S. military, as well as U.S. Embassy personnel, also conducted outreach to an orphanage in N’Djamena, supporting victims of war, HIV, and poverty. With the support of non-governmental organization Spirit of America, $4,500 of educational supplies, hygiene tools, and basic items like blankets, sheets, towels, and mosquito nets were given to 59 orphans.

Flintlock exercises strengthen security institutions, promote multilateral sharing of information, and develop interoperability among the partner nations of the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP).  Through exercises such as Flintlock, the United States Special Operations Command provides military training opportunities to foster relationships of peace, security and cooperation among all Trans-Saharan nations through the TSCTP program.