Opening ceremony Kicks off Flintlock 10 Exercise in Republic of Mali

BAMAKO, Mali - Republic of Mali and U.S. Special Operations Forces troops stand in formation next to each other during the opening ceremony of the Flintlock 10 Exercise, May 3, 2010, in Bamako, Mali.

The U.S. and Mali have started security exercises:

May 4, 2010 — Bamako, Republic of Mali. With ceremonial music playing, formations of troops from the United States and Mali stood next to each other as part of the official ceremony kicking off the Flintlock 10 Exercise, May 2, 2010.

Flintlock, conducted by Special Operations Command Africa’s Joint Special Operations Task Force – Trans Sahara, is a joint multinational exercise to improve information sharing at the operational and tactical levels across the Saharan region while fostering increased collaboration and coordination. It is focused on military interoperability and capacity-building for U.S. and European partner nations and select units in Northern and Western Africa.

In her opening remarks during the ceremony, U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Mali Gillian Milovanovic highlighted the significance of this year’s Flintlock exercise.
“Recognizing the growing need for cooperation and coordination, this year’s Flintlock exercise has grown to include seven African partner nations and an additional five non-African partners,” Milovanovic said. “We have found, working with you, that this new security cooperation can, and must, also extend to training for a variety of exigencies, including disaster preparedness and medical emergencies.”

She also mentioned this year’s Flintlock exercise will include several joint medical operations throughout Mali. During Flintlock 10, U.S. Medical and Veterinary Civic Action programs will be conducted to provide the populations in rural areas health information and basic medical care.

In closing, Milovanovic said, “I would like to observe that the very make-up of this audience provides a powerful symbol of the need for successful military and civilian cooperation as well as a testament to the importance of mutual respect and confidence between our partner nations.”

Representing the Mali Ministry of Defense, Assistant Chief of Defense Colonel Béguélé Sioro told the audience the exercise provided a unique opportunity for the Malian troops to train alongside partner nations.

“This exemplary partnership offers the armies of countries in our sub-region the opportunity to evolve alongside seasoned troops, accumulate experience in the fight against criminal organizations and increase our operational effectiveness,” Sioro said.
Approximately 1,200 European, African Partner Nation and U.S. participants from 14 nations are involved in military interoperability activities across the Trans-Saharan region during Flintlock 10.

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