Flintlock 16 kicks off in Senegal
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from multiple nations participate in the opening ceremony for Flintlock 16 in Thies, Senegal, Feb. 8, 2016. Flintlock is an annual African-led, Special Operations Forces exercise that began in 2005, focused on security, counter-terrorism and... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flintlock 16 kicks off in Senegal
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, Special Operations Command Africa commander, inspects troops with his Senegalese counterpart Senegalese Brig. Gen. Amadou Kane in Thies, Senegal, Feb. 8, 2016. More than 1,700 participants from over 30 nations spanning f... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flintlock 16 kicks off in Senegal
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – James P. Zumwalt, ambassador to the Republic of Senegal and the Republic of Guinea Bissau, gives his remarks during the opening ceremony for Flintlock 2016 in Thies, Senegal, Feb. 8, 2016. The exercise enhances interoperatability between partnered na... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Flintlock 16 kicks off in Senegal
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Senegalese Brig. Gen. Amadou Kane, Army chief of staff, gives his remarks during the opening ceremony for Flintlock 2016 in Thies, Senegal, Feb 8, 2016. Brig. Gen. Kane highlighted how each participating nation has a stake in the successful outcome o... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

THIES, Senegal (Feb. 8, 2016) -- The annual Flintlock exercise kicked off, Feb. 8, in Thies with an opening ceremony that brought together senior leaders and guests representing participating countries. This year, more than 30 nations are attending Flintlock.

The Flintlock exercise started in 2005 across the Sahel region of Africa. Participating nations are members in the Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership (TSCTP) and are planned by African partner nation Special Operations Forces and Special Operations Command-Africa to develop the capacity and collaboration among African security forces to protect civilian populations.

U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Donald C. Bolduc, Special Operations Command-Africa commander, joined leadership from last year's Flintlock exercise, hosted by Chad and Senegalese leadership in exchanging the Flintlock ceremonial flag, signifying the new host nation accepting the lead role for Flintlock 16. This year's Senegalese-led exercise spans across several locations within the country as well as outposts in Mauritania.

"Flintlock is more than a military exercise, we are training together to increase our interoperability and collaboration to counter today's threats," said Brig. Gen. Bolduc. "Flintlock contributes to strengthening security ties, promoting shared values and setting conditions for economic growth."

Flintlock 2016 marks the third time the exercise has been hosted by Senegal.

The Senegalese army chief of staff, Brig. Gen. Amadou Kane, welcomed the guests as brothers in arms from different countries.

"This ceremony that unites us today marks the official launch of this multinational exercise," said Brig. Gen. Kane. "Flintlock 2016 will bring together more than 1,700 Soldiers from 33 countries coming from Africa, North America and Europe. Our strategic partner, the United States, chose us to host this event of great importance."

"We're meeting at a particularly crucial moment in the history of our continent and even more important our sub-regions," said Brig. Gen. Kane. "Now, even more than the past, the increase of terrorism is a major concern to all of our countries. This moment of apprehension and challenges is also a moment to decide a sole and unique choice for the future, react together to stand in the in the way of violent extremists."

Flintlock improves interoperability and cooperation among regional and international security forces to combat terrorism across borders. Each participating nation has a stake in the successful outcome of Flintlock 2016, which will strengthen each nation's security forces.

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Army.mil: U.S. Army Africa News