Get AfricaFocus Bulletin by e-mail!
Format for print or mobile
Visit AfricaFocus Bookshop US |
USA/Africa: Military Perspectives
March 13, 2014 (140313)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
Last week the U.S. Department of Defense released the 2014
Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), outlining the overall strategic
perspectives for the U.S. military for the next four years. The
release came together with White House release of the government's
proposed fiscal year 2015 budget. Neither the budget nor the QDR
provide details about Africa, but the ratio of proposed spending
totals is revealing. The proposed budget for peacekeeping, which
falls under the Department of State, is $2.5 billion, while the
budget for the Department of Defense is $496 billion, almost two
hundred times as great.
The total budget for the Department of State, USAID and all
international organizations funded through that budget category,
which also includes at least $13 billion designated for "security"
assistance, is $46.2 billion. Also within that total are $4.8
billion for humanitarian assistance worldwide, $8.1 billion for
health, and $5.4 billion for the State Department's own diplomatic
and consular operations.
The general parameters set by the QDR and the budget do not
necessarily determine the details of U.S. policy towards specific
African countries and crises. But the U.S. officials most
knowledgeable and most directly involved with African issues,
whether military or civilian, are only part - and rarely the most
important part - of decision-making processes shaped at higher
levels. These realities, for example, make it extraordinarily
difficult to respond to urgent crises for which peacekeeping and
humanitarian funding must be raised, such as in the Central African
Republic, while policies falling under the "counter-terrorism"
agenda are most often decided at central levels.
It is illustrative of the bureaucratic process and priorities
within the U.S. government that the QDR gives only token attention
to peacekeeping, and that even recent testimony by the US AFRICOM
Commander does not include peacekeeping as a major issue or even
mention the recent crisis in the Central African Republic. South
Sudan is mentioned only in the context of protecting American
personnel, and those peacekeeping operations mentioned in detail
are only those which also have a counter-terrorist component
(namely Somalia and Mali).
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains excerpts from the Department of
Defense 2014 Quadrennial Defense Review and from March 6 testimony
before a Senate Committee by US AFRICOM Commander General David M.
Rodriguez. It also contains a short set of links to news articles
on stepped-up U.S. military involvement related to Africa.
Another AfricaFocus released today, not sent out by email but
available on the web at http://www.africafocus.org/docs14/car1403.php, reports on
continuing long delays in approving and dispatching a UN
peacekeeping force to the Central African Republic, despite a wide
consensus that the situation is "extremely grave."
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on peace and security issues,
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++
Excerpts from the Department of Defense Quadrennial Defense Review
page v (in Executive Summary)
[T]he 2014 QDR embodies the 21st century defense priorities
outlined in the 2012 Defense Strategic Guidance. These priorities
include rebalancing to the Asia-Pacific region to preserve peace
and stability in the region; maintaining a strong commitment to
security and stability in Europe and the Middle East; sustaining a
global approach to countering violent extremists and terrorist
threats, with an emphasis on the Middle East and Africa; continuing
to protect and prioritize key investments in technology while our
forces overall grow smaller and leaner; and invigorating efforts to
build innovative partnerships and strengthen key alliances and
In Africa, terrorists, criminal organizations, militias, corrupt
officials, and pirates continue to exploit ungoverned and undergoverned
territory on the continent and its surrounding waters. The
potential for rapidly developing threats, particularly in fragile
states, including violent public protests and terrorist attacks,
could pose acute challenges to U.S. interests. At the same time,
there is also significant opportunity to develop stronger
governance institutions and to help build professional, capable
military forces that can partner with the United States to address
the full spectrum of regional security challenges. Multilateral
peace operations under the aegis of the United Nations, African
Union, and sub-regional organizations are playing an increasingly
prominent role in maintaining and restoring international security,
including through prevention and mitigation of mass atrocities in
threat environments that previously would have deterred
The United States remains focused on maximizing our impact
throughout Africa by actively working with key partners to foster
stability and prosperity. Many African countries are undertaking
efforts to address the wide range of challenges they face, by
improving their governance institutions, strengthening rule of law,
and protecting borders more effectively. The U.S. Armed Forces
cooperate with counterparts on counterterrorism and counter-piracy
efforts, partnership capacity building â€“ndash; especially for
peacekeeping â€“ndash; and crisis and contingency response. Recent
engagements in Somalia and Mali, in which African countries and
regional organizations are working together with international
partners in Europe and the United States, may provide a model for
Africa. The Department will continue to maximize the impact of a
relatively small U.S. presence in Africa by engaging in high-return
training and exercise events; negotiating flexible agreements;
working with interagency partners; investing in new, effective, and
efficient small footprint locations; and developing innovative
approaches to using host nation facilities or allied joint-basing.
Counterterrorism and Special Operations. The Department of Defense
will continue to protect its capacity and capability to counter
terrorist threats around the world. U.S. Special Operations Forces
play a central role in these efforts, increasingly maintaining
persistent forward presence to prevent crises in addition to
serving as a crisis response and contingency force. The Department
will grow overall SOF end strength to 69,700. We will protect the
ability of SOF to sustain persistent, networked, distributed
operations to defeat al Qa'ida and counter other emerging
transnational threats, counter WMD, build partnership capacity for
counterterrorism, deny enemy sanctuary, and conduct or support
direct action, as appropriate. As forces are withdrawn from
Afghanistan, more SOF will be available to support Combatant
Commanders' efforts to counter a range of challenges across the
globe. The demand for U.S. forces to expand the counterterrorism
capabilities of allied or partner forces will likely increase in
the coming years. The United States will continue to advise, train,
and equip partner forces to perform essential tasks against
terrorist networks, complementing U.S. activities in the field.
Operations and activities in the Maghreb, Sahel, and Horn of
Africa, for example, further our national security interests
without a large commitment of U.S. forces.
Statement of General David M. Rodriguez, USA, Commander, United
States Africa Command
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee Posture Hearing
6 March 2014
[Excerpts only; full transcript available at http://www.armed-services.senate.gov / http://tinyurl.com/lg2g3ku
Countering Violent Extremism and Enhancing Stability in East Africa
Al-Qa'ida affiliate a1~Shabaab remains a persistent threat in
Somalia and East Africa. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM)
and Somali forces have been challenged in regaining the momentum
against al-Shabaab, which responded to losses of territory by
conducting asymmetric attacks in Somalia and Kenya.
AMISOM's recent increase in force strength and the integration of
Ethiopia, which played a major role in multinational security
efforts in Somalia last year, are positive developments that will
help AMISOM and Somali forces to more effectively counter alShabaab,
particularly if the international community is able to
source key enablers.
U.S. and partner efforts in Somalia focus on strengthening the
ability of AMISOM and Somali forces to disrupt and contain alShabaab
and expand state-controlled areas to allow for the
continued development of the Federal Government of Somalia. The
international community is also supporting the development of
security institutions and forces in Somalia, to set the conditions
for the future transfer of security responsibilities from AMISOM to
the Somali National Army and Police.
U.S. support to preparing AMISOM troop contributing countries for
deployment to Somalia has enhanced partner capacities in
peacekeeping and counter-terrorism operations. The United States
continues to support AMISOM troop contributing countries in
preparing for deployment, primarily through contracted training
funded by the Department of State and increasingly supported by
military mentors and trainers. Our military efforts have expanded
in the past year to include planning and coordination with AMISOM
and multinational partners, primarily through a small US. military
coordination cell in Somalia, which is also conducting assessments
to inform future security cooperation proposals. Precise partnered
and unilateral operations continue to play limited but important
roles in weakening al-Shabaab, and the support and collaboration of
Central Command and Special Operations Command, including through
forcesharing arrangements, have been critical to the effectiveness
of operations in Somalia.
Countering Violent Extremism and Enhancing Stability in North and
In North and West Africa, we have made some progress in forging
regional and multinational cooperation to combat the spillover
effects from revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt. These
revolutions, coupled with the fragility of neighboring states,
continue to destabilize the region. The spillover effects of
revolutions include the return of fighters and flow of weapons from
Libya to neighboring countries following the fall of the regime,
and the export of foreign fighters from North Africa to the Syrian
conflict. Terrorist groups in North and West Africa have expanded
their operations, increasing threats to U.S. interests. Al-Qa'ida
affiliates and adherents, and other terrorist groups, have formed a
dispersed network that disregards borders and uses historic trading
routes to exploit vast areas of weak government control. Al-Qa'ida
affiliates and adherents operating in North and West Africa include
al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Ansar al-Shari'a in
Benghazi, Ansar al-Shari'a in Darnah, Ansar al-Shari'a in Tunisia,
and Moktar Belmoktar's al-Mulathameem Brigade, which has morphed
Among the countries in the region that have recently experienced
revolutions, Tunisia appears best poised to succeed in its
transition to a new government, and its military has been a
stabilizing factor through the transition. In Libya, the security
situation is volatile and tenuous, especially in the eastern and
south~western parts of the country. Militia groups control
significant areas of territory and continue to exert pressure on
the Libyan government, which is challenged to provide basic
security and services. We are supporting Libyan efforts to improve
internal security by participating in a multinational effort to
support modest defense institution building and the development of
security forces, to include General Purpose and Special Operations
Forces. We are currently in the planning stages and expect to begin
program implementation later this year.
In many places in the region, U.S. assistance is having positive
effects on strengthening the counter-terrorism and border security
capacities of regional partners and maintaining pressure on
terrorist organizations. In Mali, French and African forces reduced
the territory controlled by AQIM and other terrorist groups last
year and provided space for democratic progress, including
elections. Thirty-five (35) countries, including 16 African
countries, have pledged troops to the United Nations
Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
(MINUSMA). U.S. support has enabled MINUSMA and French operations
to secure key cities and disrupt terrorist organizations. The
Department of State has led U.S. efforts to support the preparation
of African troop contributing countries for MINUSMA deployment with
non-lethal equipment and pre-deployment training supported by US.
military mentors and trainers. US. forces are also advising and
assisting MINUSMA forces. Mali faces a key security transition this
year as French forces reduce in the country and Malian and MINUSMA
forces assume greater security responsibilities.
In addition to supporting partner efforts to stabilize Mali, our
programs and exercises are helping our regional partners disrupt
and contain the threat posed by Boko Haram. Boko Hararn continues
to attack civilian and government facilities in northern Nigeria
and has extended its reach into parts of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad.
Nigeria has relied on a primarily military approach to counter Boko
Haram; we are working with Nigeria and drawing on lessons from U.S.
experience in counter-insurgency efforts to support efforts to
develop a more comprehensive approach that respects universal human
rights and ensures perpetrators of violence are brought to justice.
We are actively increasing regional cooperation with African and
European partners, including in information-sharing and combined
training, exercises, and operations. Our cooperation builds
security capacity and can help to reinforce our partners'
willingness to advance our shared interests. Our enabling support
to French operations in Mali is advancing collective security
interests while also reinforcing this critical trans-Atlantic
security relationship. In addition to participating in the strong
and growing multinational cooperation across North and West Africa,
we continue to work with the Department of State and the U.S.
Agency for International Development through the Trans-Sahara
Counterterrorism Partnership to build longer~term, comprehensive
regional counter-terrorism capacity.
Enhancing regional approaches will be essential to effectively
addressing the root causes of instability and countering the growth
and freedom of movement and action of terrorist elements across the
network. As part of this, deepening our cooperation with African
and European partners will enhance our mutual ability to leverage
combined posture and presence to address immediate threats in the
region. As we work with partners to support the development of
democratic security institutions and professional forces, parallel
progress in civilian-led efforts to strengthen governance, the
criminal justice sector, and the rule of law will be critical to
sustainable progress. We are grateful for the Congress's continuing
support for the foreign operations appropriations that make these
latter efforts possible, and enable a "Whole of government"
approach in this critical region.
Protecting U.S. Personnel and Facilities
While we have the responsibility to help protect all US. personnel
and facilities on the African continent, our activities this past
year focused heavily on supporting the Department of State in
strengthening the security of high threat, high risk diplomatic
missions in 15 locations across North, East, West, and Central
Africa. The sheer size of Africa and the continent's limited
infrastructure constrain the rapid deployment of crisis response
forces to many of these locations, posing significant risks to
mission and personnel.
Our current response forces consist of Army Regionally Aligned
Force and Marine Corps Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force
elements, a Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Team, and a Commander's
In-extremis Force. The majority of our response forces are based in
Europe, with the exception of the Regionally Aligned Force element
known as the East Africa Response Force, which is based at Camp
Recent operations to support the Department of State in securing
U.S. personnel and facilities in South Sudan tested our crisis
response capabilities. ... Our ability to deploy forces rapidly
reflected the unique circumstances of the situation, including
sufficient advance warning to allow the prepositioning of response
forces near South Sudan, and was not representative of the speed
with which we would typically be able to respond to requests from
the Department of State to secure U.S. personnel or facilities
throughout the continent.
Countering the Lord's Resistance Army
The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is one of several persistent
destabilizing influences in central Africa and has created
significant humanitarian challenges. The African Union Regional
Task Force against the LRA, led by Uganda and With advice and
assistance from the United States, is reducing the threat posed by
the LRA to populations in central Africa. In the last six months
alone, US. forces provided enabling support to 33 partner
operations that disrupted LRA activities and significantly
increased pressure on the LRA. Military operations, combined with
robust efforts by civilian agencies and non-governmental
organizations, have resulted in increased defections, the capture
of key LRA leaders, and decreased threats to civilian populations.
Additional enablers would allow our partners to respond more
rapidly to actionable intelligence and improve the effectiveness of
Selected Links on U.S. Military Posture in Africa
* "Obama and Hollande: France and the U.S. enjoy a renewed
alliance," Washington Post, February 10, 2014
Perhaps nowhere is our new partnership on more vivid display than
in Africa. In Mali, French and African Union forces — with U.S.
logistical and information support — have pushed back al-Qaedalinked
insurgents, allowing the people of Mali to pursue a
democratic future. Across the Sahel, we are partnering with
countries to prevent al-Qaeda from gaining new footholds. In the
Central African Republic, French and African Union soldiers —
backed by American airlift and support — are working to stem
violence and create space for dialogue, reconciliation and swift
progress to transitional elections.
Across the continent, from Senegal to Somalia, we are helping train
and equip local forces so they can take responsibility for their
own security. We are partnering with governments and citizens who
want to strengthen democratic institutions, improve agriculture and
alleviate hunger, expand access to electricity and deliver the
treatment that saves lives from infectious diseases. Our two
countries were the earliest and are among the strongest champions
of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
* "France to create new Africa outposts to better fight terrorism,"
Associated Press, January 31, 2014
France will broaden its military presence in Africa's turbulent
Sahel region with specialized new outposts to better fight the
terror threat from extremist groups such as al Qaeda, the defence
minister said Tuesday. "We are going to reinforce Abidjan an as an
entry point, a logistical support post," Le Drian said of Ivory
Coast's commercial capital. "And then we'll boost the intervention
capacity on each of the different sites."...
In an exclusive interview with The Associated Press, Jean-Yves Le
Drian, Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said France is moving
toward a regional counter-terrorism approach in former French
colonies such as Chad, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali.
French troops largely ousted al Qaeda-linked militants from
northern Mali last year. The minister expects to detail the
initiative to U.S. officials during a trip to Washington this week.
France has worked closely with U.S. forces to try to fight
extremism in Africa.
* "US military aids Nigeria on Boko Haram: New special ops units
expected to benefit from Pentagon training and equipment,"
Christian Science Monitor, January 23, 2014
http://www.csmonitor.com/ - http://tinyurl.com/ossz83f
Last week, Nigeria announced the creation of an Army Special
Operations Command (NASOC) at a Counter-Terrorism and CounterInsurgency
Lessons Learned Exchange between the United States and
Through US Africa Command (AFRICOM), US Special Operations Command,
Africa (SOCAFRICA), and the Office of Security Cooperation in the
US Embassy in Abuja, the United States will be helping stand up the
NASOC by providing training and a limited amount of equipment.
* "Nigeria, U.S joint military training on terrorism begins,"
News24 (South Africa), October 7, 2013
http://m.news24.com/ - http://tinyurl.com/novjaa7
Abuja - The military, in conjunction with special forces from the
UK, U.S., Spain, and Netherlands have begun a joint training to
enhance its capacity to combat terrorism in the county's maritime
* "'Dagger' Brigade soldiers, Kansas State University work together
to make Africa mission a success," September 17, 2013
http://www.dvidshub.net/ - http://tinyurl.com/qxyyxkc
"[Kansas State University] has been supporting Dagger University
since its first run in March (2013), and this is really what I
would call a mutually beneficial project," said Daryl Youngman, an
associate professor at KSU. ...
To date, soldiers with the Dagger Brigade have worked across Africa
in nations such as Malawi, Burundi, Ghana, Guinea, Niger, Sierra
Leone, Djibouti and South Africa. Missions range from small teamsize
military-to- military training exercises in fields such as
first aid and basic marksmanship to theater security cooperation
missions and larger battalion-size joint exercises. Whatever the
mission, the expertise of KSU delegations to Dagger University has
been valuable, said the brigade commander.
* "U.S. Marine Rapid Response Force Deploying to Spain Base,"
Military Movies and News, April 28, 2013
The first of 500 Marines have begun deploying to Spain as part of a
new rapid reaction force to respond to threats against U.S.
citizens, government personnel or installations in Africa.
The new task force is based at Moron Air Base in southern Spain,
which provides quick access especially to northern Africa, where
security concerns have grown since the September 2012 attack on a
U.S. government facility in Benghazi, Libya,
* "'Dagger' brigade readies for AFRICOM missions," U.S. Army
website, February 20, 2013
http://www.army.mil/ - http://tinyurl.com/phmcuzx
Some 4,000 Soldiers of the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry
Division, out of Fort Riley, Kan., are training for realignment to
U.S. Africa Command, expected later this year. The 2nd BCT, or
"Dagger" Brigade as it is known, will be the first brigade to be
regionally aligned to U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM. U.S. Pacific
Command has had units regionally align to its area of
responsibility with similar training at Fort Irwin (CA) earlier
AfricaFocus Bulletin is an independent electronic publication
providing reposted commentary and analysis on African issues, with
a particular focus on U.S. and international policies. AfricaFocus
Bulletin is edited by William Minter.
AfricaFocus Bulletin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please
write to this address to subscribe or unsubscribe to the bulletin,
or to suggest material for inclusion. For more information about
reposted material, please contact directly the original source
mentioned. For a full archive and other resources, see