Capt. Jonathan Paul, 173rd Brigade (Airborne), explains his unit's training requirements to Moroccan military planners during a site suvery in Morocco Jan. 22, 2021, for exercise African Lion 21. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
1 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Capt. Jonathan Paul, 173rd Brigade (Airborne), explains his unit's training requirements to Moroccan military planners during a site suvery in Morocco Jan. 22, 2021, for exercise African Lion 21. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
A Royal Morocco Armed Forces officer explains the capabilities of a firing range March 20 during a site survey for exercise African Lion 21, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
2 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A Royal Morocco Armed Forces officer explains the capabilities of a firing range March 20 during a site survey for exercise African Lion 21, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
Planners for exercise African Lion 21 suvery a small arms weapons range during a visit to Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
3 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Planners for exercise African Lion 21 suvery a small arms weapons range during a visit to Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
Master Sgt. Joshua Heaton, Georgia Army National Guard, and Scott McWhorter, Southern European Task Force, Africa, survey a small arms firing range in Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Heaton and McWhorter joined two dozen U.S. military planners in Morocco to establish plans for the African Lion 21 exercise, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
4 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Master Sgt. Joshua Heaton, Georgia Army National Guard, and Scott McWhorter, Southern European Task Force, Africa, survey a small arms firing range in Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Heaton and McWhorter joined two dozen U.S. military planners in Morocco to establish plans for the African Lion 21 exercise, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
Scott McWhorter, center, coordinates logistics Jan. 20, 2021, for U.S. and Moroccan forces participating in African Lion 21. McWhorter, a Department of Army civilian, has dozens of exercises and training activities in Africa as part of the Southern European Task Force, Africa, G7 Exercises team. McWhorter joined two dozen U.S. military planners in Morocco to establish plans for the African Lion 21 exercise, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
5 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Scott McWhorter, center, coordinates logistics Jan. 20, 2021, for U.S. and Moroccan forces participating in African Lion 21. McWhorter, a Department of Army civilian, has dozens of exercises and training activities in Africa as part of the Southern European Task Force, Africa, G7 Exercises team. McWhorter joined two dozen U.S. military planners in Morocco to establish plans for the African Lion 21 exercise, scheduled for June. African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
Moroccan officer Maj. Mamoud, right, explains range capabilities to Georgia Army National Guard Capt. Jeremiah Stafford during a site survey for exercise African Lion Jan 21, 2021.Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
6 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Moroccan officer Maj. Mamoud, right, explains range capabilities to Georgia Army National Guard Capt. Jeremiah Stafford during a site survey for exercise African Lion Jan 21, 2021.Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL
Planners for exercise African Lion 21 gather for photo opportunity during a site survey in Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa)
7 / 7 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Planners for exercise African Lion 21 gather for photo opportunity during a site survey in Morocco Jan. 20, 2021. Scheduled for June, African Lion, U.S. Africa Command's largest exercise, has increased interoperability among U.S. partners and Allies since 2003. Plans for AL21 involve more than 10,000 troops from the United States, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and elsewhere. The global COVID-19 pandemic curtailed the previous year's exercise. Plans for AL21 include COVID-19 mitigations and flexible options to ensure maximum participation and value for participating countries. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Cain S. Claxton/Southern European Task Force, Africa) (Photo Credit: Maj. Cain Claxton) VIEW ORIGINAL

AGADIR, Morocco - Militaries from U.S. and Morocco met here Jan. 20-28 to layout plans for the 17th episode of African Lion, scheduled for June.

Military planners surveyed training areas and converged training and readiness goals to scale African Lion exercise, while ensuring safeguards against COVID-19.

"COVID-19 presents new challenges for us as exercise planners, but we are committed to ensuring we have the best fighting force, best partners, and everything we need for strategic access and readiness," said Col. Robert Perry, director of G7 Training and Exercises for U.S. Southern European Task Force, Africa. Perry led the U.S. planning team on the ground here, while hundreds of other military experts participated virtually.

Established in 2002 between U.S. Marines and Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, African Lion has a long history of bringing together U.S., Moroccan and other Partners and Allies to build interoperability, strengthen relationships, and increase readiness for contingencies on the African continent. 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. "We are going to stress and test that capability in African Lion 21."

As AFRICOM's largest exercise, involving thousands of troops from all U.S services including guard and reserve elements, African Lion demonstrates U.S. commitment to partners in Africa.

"What we do in Africa matters," Jackson said. "Not only are we building tactical unit readiness by deploying forces thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean, and rehearsing sophisticated joint, all-domain operations, we are also improving on the strong foundations of friendship between Morocco and the U.S. with an ever-increasing coalition of partners and Allies."

Plans for African Lion 21 involve nine nations as exercise participants, with dozens of others as observers. Scheduled activities span three continents and six countries.

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.