Toronto - Operation Flintlock 2017 is underway in Tifnit. It represents the tenth year that US Military Information Support Operations (MISO) members have gathered with their Moroccan counterparts for important information and communications training.
Toronto – Operation Flintlock 2017 is underway in Tifnit. It represents the tenth year that US Military Information Support Operations (MISO) members have gathered with their Moroccan counterparts for important information and communications training.
According to the United States Africa Command website, the intent of these yearly training sessions is to build bridges between allies in the fight to counter violent extremism and other regional threats. Its all about allied countries sharing the management responsibilities for conflicts around the world. Each year’s training offers tailor-made security solutions to suit each region’s specific threats.
Communication is seen as a valuable tool in managing and avoiding possible conflict. In previous training, MISO from Special Operations Command Forward Northwest Africa, instructed Moroccan special forces operators in the use of the Next Generation Loudspeaker System.
Providing for the relaying of audible messages at a range of up to 1500 meters, the system is a critical tool for foot and vehicle mounted operations. It can be used in an existing combat situation or, very effectively, in diffusing a potentially volatile situation before it ignites. It can also be a vital piece of life-saving equipment during a natural disaster or civic disruption.
This year’s training is intended to build on what was achieved last year by teaching the Moroccan operators how to clearly understand the people on the ground they would be trying to communicate with in any given situation.
Avoiding armed conflict is the first, best solution. According to the MISO element leader, “Yeah, we’re trying to battle violent extremist organizations and most of the time it’s kinetic, but that might not be the best answer and may just cause more problems.”
The element leader explained further that to make this communication work, each operator must go into each situation thoroughly prepared and up-to-date on its current events, history, culture and socio-political reality. After that, communication becomes easier. “The resources that they need to conduct information operations (IO) or MISO, they already have them. All you really need is a computer and printer so you can print out leaflets and handbills, and you can make posters.”
Getting back to the loudspeaker system training, the MISO element leader explained it’s potential uses in a volatile situation. “You can use it to provide information to the population like ‘Hey, this is where you need to go for food. This is where certain health facilities are at,’ and you can provide general updates throughout the operation.”
MISO instructors have been duly impressed with the quality of the Moroccan operators they have been tasked with training. According to one instructor, “The [Moroccan operators] have been very intelligent; they are able to pick up things very quickly and repeat the same classes to each other. Hopefully they’ll be able to implement them in the future.”
This year’s edition of Operation Flintlock began March 8 and is scheduled to continue for two more weeks. It is sponsored by the United States Africa Command.