State Department Launches Quick-Response Force Training and Competition in Senegal

The U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and the government of Senegal today opened the SPEAR Summit Challenge, a five-day tactical law enforcement training and competition for U.S.-trained Special Program for Embassy Augmentation and Response (SPEAR) teams from across Africa.

This year’s Summit Challenge is being held at the Regional Tactical Training Center in Thiès, Senegal, from December 2 through 6, 2019.  The training center, which was funded, constructed, and equipped through the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program, is ATA’s first regional training facility in West Africa.

In this year’s Summit Challenge, SPEAR teams from Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Tunisia, and South Sudan will participate in the event.  Although Senegal currently has no SPEAR team, law enforcement officers from its National Police and Gendarmerie also will participate.

The five days of training and competition will include firearms proficiency, tactical medicine, explosive incident identification and response, personnel recovery and evacuation, and physical fitness.

Established in 2014, SPEAR provides training to specially selected law enforcement officers in participating host nations to enable them to respond within minutes to emergencies involving U.S. diplomatic facilities or personnel.  SPEAR enhances security at high threat, high risk U.S. diplomatic posts; the program has saved lives.  Trained and funded by the DSS ATA Office, SPEAR teams support U.S. diplomatic missions in Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, South Sudan, Sudan, and Tunisia.