TIFINIT TRAINING AREA, Morocco --
Royal Moroccan Armed Forces soldiers and a joint-contingent of U.S. military police personnel, including U.S. Marines from 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion, U.S. soldiers and airmen, shared tactics and techniques for nonlethal weapons enforcement and escalation-of-force operations during African Lion 14 in Tifnit Training Area, Morocco.
“It’s a very good training opportunity and different than working with our [other coalition] partners,” said Sgt. Christian A. Jensen, a military policeman from 2nd Law Enforcement Battalion.
The six-day military-to-military engagement refined techniques in the topics of: escalation of force; familiarization of nonlethal weapons employment; and non-combative hand-to-hand techniques. The engagement will later cover baton work; employment of shield-line techniques, formation and drills; and oleoresin capsicum spray.
“They are on a high level of training, so we aren’t here trying to rebuild; we are trying to add to the basics,” added the Half Moon Bay, Calif. native.
The Moroccan and U.S. forces exchanged their shared experiences of nonlethal and crowd-control employment during the engagement to build upon their proficiency as military personnel from different nations.
“This [Moroccan] battalion we’re here with specializes in [riot control] so it’s been a good opportunity to learn some of their tactics and show them some of ours,” said Sgt. David E. Spurling, a military policeman with 2nd LEB.
“For our newer Marines, it’s good to see how they employ their tactics in contrast to ours.”
The multinational brigade of military police personnel find common ground in their training as they become more proficient in the capacity to employ nonlethal weapons, which gives commanders a viable option for regional stability, said Jensen.
“U.S. forces train differently than [Moroccans forces] but for the most part we have similar techniques,” said Jensen. “This is a big thing with [theater security cooperation]; we want to make sure all coalition forces are on the same page so, if we have to work together in an armed conflict, there isn’t a learning curve with the different forces.”
African Lion 14 exemplifies the ability of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade to integrate with partner-nation militaries and respond to contingencies in the operational reach of U.S. Africa Command under a scalable, expeditionary joint-task force of multiple U.S. service components.
“The big thing having access to train with these nations is now we have multiple forces that are on the same level so if we go into an armed conflict or humanitarian assistance mission, it’s not just U.S. forces, it’s partner-nation forces for that mission as well,” said Jensen.
Nonlethal weapons employment and escalation-of-force packages are an integral part of military operations to prevent or reduce the loss of life while maintaining civil disorder.
“It gives commanders another tool for assessing a situation; maybe a lethal option isn’t needed when you have the nonlethal ability to de-escalate the situation,” said Spurling.
“A lot of our Marines have worked with other nations and seen other services but it’s been a great opportunity to see [Moroccan] tactics and how we can improve and share together,” said Spurlling.
The shared-proficiency of multiple nations will promote regional stability and interoperability and integration if partners ever need to operate in real-world contingencies.
“I believe it’s important because it’s another partner to have in this region,” said Spurling.“[This engagement] is to show them that we are here for them and, after working with them, I believe they are here for us.”
African Lion 14 is a multilateral U.S. Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa-led military engagement with the Royal Kingdom of Morocco and Republic of Germany Armed Forces. The annually-scheduled exercise, one of the largest of its kind on the African continent, promotes regional stability while building partner-nation capacity through operational and tactical-level interoperability during it’s three-week evolution, slated to finish April 5.