Skip to comments.U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa
Posted on 12/29/2012 12:07:06 PM PST by neverdem
An Army brigade from Fort Riley, Kan., some 4,000, soldiers, will begin helping to train African militaries. The idea is to help African troops beat back a growing terrorist threat posed by al-Qaida.
The American troops will head over in small teams over the course of the next year. The Dagger Brigade returned to Kansas last year from a deployment to Iraq, where it trained and advised that country's security forces.
Now unit commander Col. Jeff Broadwater is preparing to do the same kind of mission but in a different place. So Broadwater is scouring his brigade for unique skills.
"We're fortunate enough to have some African speakers, Swahili," Broadwater says.
Swahili is spoken in much of East Africa. And the colonel says he's also happy to have a handful of soldiers with first-hand experience on the continent.
"We do have some soldiers who either came over from Africa and went to school here and then joined the military or came over with their families," Broadwater says.
The brigade is expected to deploy in small teams beginning next spring throughout Africa. The soldiers will take part in military exercises and train African troops on everything from logistics and marksmanship to medical care.
Meanwhile, the Defense Intelligence Agency is already placing more of its military spies in Africa.
The top American commander for Africa, Gen. Carter Ham, says this is all new. He spoke recently at an appearance in Washington: "Africa has not been a part of the world in which we have focused a lot of attention, certainly not during the majority of my career."
American Green Berets have trained African troops in the past. But Gen. Ham says this new effort is more comprehensive, and necessary given emerging security threats on the continent.
"There are a lot of issues in Africa that are causing concern for the United States," says Richard Downie, an Africa expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He points in particular to the West African nation of Mali.
"Particularly the spread of terrorism you have al-Qaida's local franchise in Africa controlling two thirds of that country right now," he says.
Al-Qaida and its affiliates are operating in a wide arc from Nigeria through Mali, Libya and into Somalia. Gen. Ham says there are indications the groups are starting to work together.
"What I worry about more than anything is a growing linkage which I think poses the greatest threat to regional stability across Africa, certainly into Europe and to the United States as well," Ham says.
And to counter that terrorist threat, the Obama administration wants to rely on African forces. That means giving them proper equipment and training, and that's where the troops from Fort Riley come in.
"We've been really just basically trying to understand you know, a little bit more about Africa," Broadwater says. "The history of those areas, the culture so when we do deploy to those countries we have a little bit better idea of what's going on."
But what's going on in the continent, says Africa expert Richard Downie, cannot be addressed by just providing military training and equipment. There are underlying causes of unrest and extremism: poverty, lack of health care and education, and predatory governments. Downie says those are the challenges the U.S. and other countries must tackle.
"Terrorism is really a symptom of a lot of other problems that really the military is not the best organization to solve," he says.
Better organizations, says Downie, would be the State Department and the Agency for International Development.
But the military is the organization with the biggest budget. That is why the Dagger Brigade will be able to take part in nearly 100 separate training and military exercises next year, in nearly three dozen African countries. Some of those efforts by the Army teams will last a few days, others a month or more.
These soldiers will not be allowed to take part in combat missions with African forces. That would require high-level Pentagon approval.
But after ten years of war, the American military is not eager for any new combat operations.
Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Oh yes, that's right. Entitlement checks now trump our military.
In Mali they’re MAYBE doing some legit ops. The rest of it?
It’s almost surely a stupid goat f*ck, involving payment of US money to war-lords presiding over blowing sands where flies flock to the pinched-closed eyes of kids with distended bellies. And that’s before all the, “Yankee Go Home” stuff kicks in.
This is simply the beginning of a huge and expensive effort to make All Nations Equal —the USA got rich by cheating and thieving, blah, blah, blah...
Just more of the effort to turn US military people into social workers through “peace keeping”, “Three Block War”, etc., etc.
Hey isn’t this how we got started in Vietnam? What’s up with all our little Hollywood leftists that screamed whenever a Republican administration sent troops somewhere, wasn’t their cry, America can’t be the worlds police, stop American Colonialism? What a difference a Democrat administration makes, then it’s OK to send American soldiers to die in foreign countries.
Hmmm! I wonder if Zero got the okay from Congress.
Will they have rounds for their weapons?
That chart says it all- and that’s BEFORE sequestration kicks in.
I don’t think this is going to go too well, for US Troops.
After ours are confiscated, they’ll have plenty.
About time, too bad it was published.
We can own Africa.
We spent enough money on it.
Let’s see now. The first half of the last century we got involved in Europe and we got into war. The second half of the last century we got involved in Asia and we got into war. The first half of this century we got involved in the Near East and we got into war. South America where we have a foothold ‘fighting drugs’ with aims at knocking over a few rulers. So now Africa ‘fighting Muslims’. And of course when we get into a foreign area through war we never leave. There is always someone that needs our protection. We have another nation to build somewhere.
But nation building at home is socialism because our government does it for us. God Help Us.
America is an empire. I do not think we should intervene in Africa at this point. We need to downsize our Army and Marine Corps (but only after we take on entitlement spending).
Per post # 12.
Right, we have to get started in many places, including paying off our debt to China before that blows up. The long run in Washington ends when the can stops rolling during a future administration.
We need enough military to defend the USA but there never will be enough to defend the world.
Not only that but we aren’t ruthless enough to preserve our hard fought gains overseas. If we aren’t willing to subjugate local populations with an iron fist, it’s time for us to get out of Empire-building business.
The war in Syria is being prosecuted by American Trained GCC special forces organizing and leading the Syrian Rebels. From what I can see, it is going slow, but well.
The original intent of American Special Forces was to provide leadership for local troops to make war against the bad guys.
What could possibly go wrong? I spent a couple of years bopping around the Dark Continent. From what I’ve seen of African military forces, they’re like gangs in Chicago or Detroit.
-——theyre like gangs in Chicago or Detroit.-——
That is why trained and organized military can whip their ass. No more gang on gang,
May 1961 - President Kennedy sends 400 American Green Beret Special Advisors to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers in methods of counter-insurgency in the fight against Viet Cong guerrillas.
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