- Tunisia to host a massive military exercise “African Lion 2021”
- African Lions 21 is scheduled to kick off in June 2021
- 2021’s iteration will involve between 5,000-10,000 troops from the U.S., Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal and elsewhere
- African Lion 21 involves 9 countries as exercise participants, with dozens of others as observers. Most of the scheduled activities will take place in Tunisia
Started in 2002, “African Lion” has a long history of bringing together the U.S., and its African partners and allies to build interoperability, strengthen relationships and increase readiness.
U.S. Africa Command increased its participation in the exercise in 2019 with the involvement of SETAF-Africa, from Vicenza, Italy. “SETAF-Africa provides AFRICOM a dedicated and ready joint task force capability,” said Brig. Gen. Mark Jackson, deputy commander, SETAF-Africa. “We are going to stress and test that capability in African Lion 21.”
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African Lion is AFRICOM’s largest multinational exercise, involving thousands of troops from all U.S services, the military exercice provides an opportunity for all participating units and nations to enhance tactical readiness by performing their mission essential functions.
This year’s exercise will involve more than 5,000 troops from the U.S., Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal and other African nations, with dozens of others as observers. Scheduled activities span three continents and six countries. With an ever-increasing coalition of partners and Allies, this year’s iteration is set to have most of its military activities take place in Tunisia.
“The safety and protection of all of our forces – U.S. and partner nation – is a priority. Modifying the exercise still improves readiness while minimizing risk to protect both U.S. and partner forces,” said U.S. Africa Command commander General Stephen J. Townsend when comenting regarding the Coronavirus pandemic. “While the scope of the exercise will adjust, our commitment to our African partners endures.”
“The exercise scenario pits this multinational coalition against a state-sponsored and supported paramilitary force with near-peer capabilities. Linked to U.S. European Command’s Defender series exercise, African Lion exercise is designed to counter malign activity in North Africa and Southern Europe and increase interoperability between U.S., African, and international partners to defend the theater from adversary military aggression.” The AFRICOM spokesperson reported.
This participation does not come as a surprise. Tunisia is a strong partner and close U.S. Ally in the region. The North African nation is also a major non-NATO ally of the United States and already works with the U.S. on many shared interests and concerns.
- Source: AFRICOM.
- Media copyright:
- Featured image. Tunisian Army commander participating with US Army in ‘Exercise Allied Spirit.’ Image credit Sgt. Karen Sampson via US Army photo.
- In-article image. M109A6 Paladins of the Utah Army National Guard are staged for movement from the port in Agadir, Morocco, to training areas where they were to be used as part of African Lion 20. Image: US Army Africa/Maj. Cain Claxton.
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