The Royal Moroccan Armed Forces (FAR) and the United States Army have concluded a major joint military disaster response exercise. Dubbed "Operation Maroc Matlet", the programme also included a four-week series of training exercises on blast threat management.
In this context, the US embassy in Rabat highlighted the "continued strength" that the two militaries continue to bring to the table as a sign of the military partnership and cooperation between Morocco and the United States.
In this operational framework, the FAR, which also led the planning, presented a scenario based on a large-scale industrial disaster requiring land and maritime search and rescue operations, industrial firefighting in HAZMAT environments, and national crisis management.
US Army Major General Michael J. Turley said that "these joint training programmes are an essential component of the close strategic partnership between Morocco and the United States". In a statement, the General added that "we always work closely with our Moroccan partners to address a range of potential threats, including natural disasters or industrial accidents, as well as classic security issues".
In this regard, General Turley will join other senior Moroccan and US officials in Kenitra to mark the end of the programme for the benefit of Moroccan soldiers, Utah National Guard personnel and US Marines on the risks associated with explosives, their storage and transport of munitions. In this programme, more than 20 military personnel participated in the programme, officially known as Humanitarian Mine Action and Explosive Ordnance Disposal (HMA-EOD) training.
Military observers from several countries, including France, Tunisia, Djibouti, Jordan, Mauritania, Mauritania, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Senegal, also participated in the exercises.
This type of training, promoted by the US Department of Defense, helps military partners promote their ability to develop proficiency in identifying and neutralising mines and similar hazards that could threaten civilian populations, while helping to improve physical security and stockpile management of conventional munitions.
In this regard, the Utah National Guard has had a long-standing relationship with the FAR since 2003 as part of the Utah National Guard State Partnership Program.
Alongside this, US and Moroccan military officials are expected next week to mark the completion of a six-year programme that has focused on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) threats, recognising the FAR's CBRN response status as "fully mission capable".
Morocco and the United States continue a long history of defence cooperation. This journey has been epitomised by such momentous operations as "Operation African Lion 2021", which took place last month. This operation, based on dealing with terrorism and natural disasters, has become the largest annual military exercise in Africa.
This military training, which began in 2007, aims to continue to build on the strengthening of military relations and to develop other types of field and combat skills.
In this regard, Morocco and the United States continue to share a close military relationship that includes more than 100 joint operations based on annual military training.
In October 2020, the United States and Morocco signed a ten-year "defence cooperation roadmap" that prioritises joint cooperation in priority areas including efforts to effectively address threats in the region.