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U.S. Africa Command Launches Multi-Nation Special Warfare Exercise

U.S. Africa Command's largest annual special operations exercise kicked off Monday with an opening ceremony in Côte d'Ivoire, the Pentagon announced today.

A man in a dress military uniform with multiple award ribbons on his chest and two stars on each shoulder stands at a lectern. Behind him on the wall is a sign with a five-sided building that says, “The Pentagon ... Washington”
Press Briefing
Pentagon Press Secretary U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder conducts a news briefing at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 14, 2024.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Alexander Kubitza
VIRIN: 240514-D-PM193-1136

Exercise Flintlock 24, which runs through May 24th, will see forces from U.S. Special Operations Command Africa, or SocAfrica, partnering with nearly 30 nations and approximately 1,300 personnel in locations hosted by Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire.  

"Flintlock is U.S. Africa Command's premiere and largest annual special operations forces exercise that works to strengthen combined partner force collaboration in Africa alongside international and NATO international special operations forces," Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder told reporters during a briefing.

In late February through early March of this year, SocAfrica and Ghana Armed Forces completed a final planning event for Flintlock 24. The event held sessions on the rule of law; civil affairs activities; air operations; and women, peace and security, according to a SocAfrica press release on the event.

"The partnerships that we forge here will allow us to address the threats on the continent. It's a collective group effort," U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Ronald A. Foy, SocAfrica commander, said.

"That's the value of this exercise. And as we go forward in the future, we expand on these relationships. 

"Flintlock's a mechanism that opens doors for all international [special operations forces] allies and partners to come together, to train together, to live together, to learn from each other," U.S. Army Maj. Adam DeMarco, SocAfrica Flintlock 24 lead planner, said.  

"And it really builds enduring and sustainable partnerships that will last the test of time, whether it's in Flintlock or in real-world operations," Demarco continued.  

"We have five out of seven continents represented here at Exercise Flintlock and that partnership is only growing." 

Elsewhere in the Africom area of responsibility, Exercise Obangame Express 2024 has been ongoing since May 6 throughout Africa's west coast, namely in and around the host nation of Gabon, Ryder said.


Sponsored by Africom and conducted by U.S. Naval Forces Africa, Obangame Express is a 13-nation maritime interdiction training taking place in the Ghanaian city of Sekondi through May 17.

"Through Obangame Express, U.S. forces work alongside participating nations to improve combined maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security in West Africa, and increase interoperability [among] the U.S., African and multinational partners," Ryder said, adding that the U.S. routinely exercises with our African partners to build strong relationships and to ensure the security and safety of the region's maritime environment.  

"The exercises are incredibly important and they are enduring," Ryder responded when asked about the efficacy of U.S.-led exercises throughout Africom's area of responsibility. 

"Certainly," he continued, "when it comes to things like counterterrorism, or addressing regional threats, or humanitarian crisis-types of situations, those exercises are central to enabling our forces to not only interoperate, but to understand one-another, and to have those kinds of relationships that — on that day you need them most — they're there."

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