U.S. Marines, Diplomatic Security and Portuguese Law Enforcement Collaborate in Embassy Reinforcement Rehearsal Exercise

A three-day crisis response exercise at Embassy Lisbon. (Photo by Sgt. Kassie McDole)
A three-day crisis response exercise at Embassy Lisbon.

U.S. Marines from the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis Response-Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) unit located in Moron, Spain, as well as training representatives from the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service participated with the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon in a three-day crisis response exercise, February 8-10, 2016.

This was an opportunity for a small contingent of the SPMAGTF-CR-AF Marines and trainers from the Diplomatic Security Service to come to Portugal and practice working with the U.S. Embassy and Portuguese officials in scenarios that simulate real-world crises by rehearsing the tasks associated with reinforcing an embassy during periods of civil unrest in other countries around the world. Portugal offers a stable environment in which to work, and the U.S. Government has the utmost respect and faith in the capabilities of the Portuguese Government to protect our interests in country. The SPMAGTF worked with our Embassy in Portugal on this exercise thanks to an excellent relationship with host country officials.

This event was a crisis management exercise that benefited all parties involved, and the Embassy is thankful to have worked with the Portuguese, the SPMAGTF-CR-AF and Diplomatic Security on this endeavor. This valuable engagement demonstrated our excellent bilateral cooperation and interoperability in security matters and better prepared both the U.S. and Portugal to collaborate in response to future crises.

At the conclusion of the training, U.S. Ambassador to Portugal Robert Sherman expressed confidence that the SPMAGTF-CR-AF Marines were ready able to respond to whatever crisis may come their way. “We live in a dangerous world and my primary responsibility as a United States Ambassador is the safety and security of all people at the Embassy,” said Sherman. “This exercise was very important so that we could learn from each other and better prepare in the event of a real crisis.”

The SPMAGTF-CR-AF is a rotational force that is postured to respond to a broad range of military operations in the Africa region, including: U.S. Embassy reinforcement, fixed-site security, non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, theater security cooperation, and other missions as directed.

The SPMAGTF-CR-AF often conducts military-to-military training exercises throughout the AFRICOM and EUCOM areas of responsibility. Working with partner nations promotes regional stability on the European and African continents. These partnerships are at the core of dealing with regional issues and keeping peace in the region.

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