MEDIA ADVISORY |  Telephonic Press Briefing with U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew Young and U.S. Air Force Major General Mark Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) to discuss the upcoming SOCAFRICA-Sponsored Flintlock 2019 Joint Military Exercise in Burkina Faso

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EVENT:

Please join us on Wednesday, February 13, 2019, at 14:30 GMT|15:30 WAT|16:30 SAST for a telephonic press briefing with Andrew Young, U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso, and U.S. Air Force Major General Mark Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa.  They will discuss our multiform efforts to reinforce development, security, and diplomatic efforts in Burkina Faso, including the Flintlock program.

Burkina Faso has become increasingly vulnerable to the fragile security situation in the Sahel and ongoing humanitarian threats such as food insecurity.  The United States Government is contributing to Burkina Faso’s development and providing humanitarian assistance while strengthening the capacity of its security and defense forces. We remain committed to our longstanding Burkinabe partners in promoting a safer Sahelian region.  The annual Flintlock exercise is just one way that we help develop the capacity of and collaboration among Trans–Saharan security forces in their efforts to protect civilian populations. Burkina Faso previously hosted a portion of Flintlock in 2018 and will be the primary host 18 February – 1 March 2019.

BACKGROUND:

During the briefing, Ambassador Young and Major General Hicks will discuss the U.S.-Burkinabe bilateral relationship, including development and diplomatic efforts, and the United States’ role in building the security and defense forces’ capacity to strengthen Burkina Faso’s ability to manage terrorist threats.  Special attention will be given to the evolution and importance of the annual Flintlock Exercise.

DETAILS:

Speakers:   U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew Young and  Major General Mark Hicks, Commander, Special Operations Command Africa Date: February 13, 2019 Time: 14:30 GMT |15:30 WAT | 16:30 SAST Please use Time Zone Converter to determine the start time of the event in your time zone.

Language: English.  French and Portuguese interpretation will be offered.

Ground rules: On the record.

Dial-in Info:  To be provided once you RSVP.

Follow us on @AfricaMediaHub and at @USAfricaCommand.

RSVP:    RSVP via Eventbrite.

Twitter:    We will use the hashtag #AFHubPress as the hashtag for the call.

BIO:

U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso Andrew Young

Andrew Young is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and was confirmed by the Senate on September 28, 2016 as the next U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso.   Prior to this appointment, Mr. Young served as Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. Embassy Bamako, Mali, where the Embassy’s inter-agency team addressed a wide range of challenges including securing a 2015 Peace Accord, confronting multiple terrorist attacks and successfully countering Ebola outbreaks.  On November 16, 2016 Andrew Young received the James A. Baker Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission.

Previously, Mr. Young served as Spokesperson at U.S. Embassy Seoul, Korea (2010-2013), Political Counselor at U.S. Embassy Paris, France (2007-2010), and Desk Officer for Italy in the Bureau of European Affairs at the Department of State (2005-2007). He also served as Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Joe Lieberman (2004-2005), Senior Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center (2003-2004), and Deputy Principal Officer at U.S. Consulate Auckland, New Zealand (2000-2003).  Mr. Young served as Political Officer at U.S. Embassy Rangoon, Burma (1997-2000), Political Economic Section Chief at U.S. Consulate General Bombay, India (1995-1997), and India and Bhutan Desk Officer in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs at the Department of State (1993-1995).  He began his Foreign Service career in 1991 as Consular Officer at U.S. Consulate General Hong Kong.  Prior to joining the State Department, Mr. Young served as a Presidential Management Fellow at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the United States Department of Commerce.

Mr. Young earned an A.B. from the University of California Berkeley (ΦΒΚ) and an M.A. from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, Italy and Washington, D.C.  In 2015, he received the American Foreign Service Association’s first Mark Palmer Award for the Advancement of Democracy for his work in Burma, on Capitol Hill and in Mali to promote democracy.

Major General J. Marcus Hicks

Major General J. Marcus Hicks is the Commander, Special Operations Command Africa, headquartered at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. In this role, Maj Gen Hicks is responsible for the full spectrum of special operations activities conducted throughout Africa. Prior to this assignment, Maj Gen Hicks served as the Chief of Staff, Headquarters, U.S. Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.

Maj Gen Hicks received his commission through the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps at the Virginia Military Institute in 1986. His operational flying experience includes special operations assignments in the AC-130H and AC-130U. He has commanded the 374th Airlift Wing at Yokota Air Base, Japan, the Combined Joint Special Operations Air Component at Joint Base Balad, Iraq, and the 14th Weapons Squadron at Hurlburt Field, Florida.

Maj Gen Hicks previously served in staff assignments at Headquarters U.S. Special Operations Command, Headquarters Air Force Special Operations Command and Air Combat Command. His Pentagon assignments include operations directorates of Headquarters U.S. Air Force and the Joint Staff.

Maj Gen Hicks holds a Master of Military Arts and Sciences, Army Command and Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and a Master of Aerospace Arts and Sciences, School of Advanced Airpower Studies, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. He was also a National Defense Fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Washington, D.C. and Senior Executive Fellow, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. His awards and decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal with three oak leaf clusters.

A command pilot, General Hicks has more than 3,000 flying hours.

Additional Resources:

Africa Command Press Release – Flintlock 2019 FACT SHEET: U.S. Relations with Burkina Faso Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.

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