Tunis, Tunisia – Planners from U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF), the U.S. National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve and multiple African partners assembled Sept. 26-30, in Tunisia to begin detailed planning for Exercise African Lion 2023, slated for next summer.
"Given the multitude of complexities that exist naturally in such a broad reaching exercise, the planning and coordination with joint US forces and partner nations is a long-term project spread over the entire year to ensure that when the exercise starts, African Lion is a well-coordinated, masterfully executed event," said Lt. Col. Paul Hilaski, African Lion branch chief for SETAF-AF.
African Lion is U.S. AFRICOM's largest, premier, joint, annual exercise. More than 10,000 participants from 20 nations and NATO train together with a focus on enhancing readiness for U.S. and partner nation forces. AL23 is a joint all-domain, multi-component, and multinational exercise, employing a full array of mission capabilities with the goal to strengthen interoperability among participants and set the theater for strategic access. It is currently scheduled to run from May 15 and July 18, 2023 and will be hosted by Morocco, Djibouti, Ghana, Senegal and Tunisia.
The annual exercise provides unmatched opportunities for participation and cooperation on the African continent. While Morocco anchors the exercise, the other nations, known as spokes, continue to increase their size and contribution to the overall exercise.
This year's initial planning meeting took place in Tunis for the first time, indicating an increased presence and participation by the North African nation.
"African Lion is AFRICOM's premiere exercise, and in 2023 will include both more partners and allies than in previous years with activities spanning five different host countries," said Hilaski.
"As a large scale global exercise, African Lion demonstrates our commitment to building and maintaining interoperability with our African and European partners to improve our ability to meet security-related challenges together."
Over the course of the next eight months, military and civilian planners will meet multiple times in each of the host nations to deliberately plan and refine the exercise.