Friday, May 13, 2016

Small Wars in a Big Place

Just getting around Africa is a big challenge before you even get to the fighting part.

American special forces are pretty active in or near Africa:

President Barack Obama is increasingly calling upon Special Operations forces to carry out so-called "small wars" across the Middle East and Africa to challenge both ISIS and al Qaeda in places where the U.S. maintains a footprint beyond Syria and Iraq.

The article mentions deployments in West Africa, Somalia, Libya, and Yemen (on the Arabian Peninsula just across the Red Sea from Somalia).

I assume there are more areas than that, given that just in Africa we are still hunting the Lords Resistance Army in Uganda and given jihadi problems in Kenya and Tanzania.

It seems that my concept of a Modularized Auxiliary Cruiser for our Africa Command (see page 50, "The AFRICOM Queen") could have application as a SOC carrier, as I noted a few years ago (and which I forgot about until I read that CNN article), to move small strike forces of special forces supported by conventional troops, surface-to-surface missiles, drones, and helicopters.

Keep in mind that Africa stretches nearly 5,000 miles from north to south and about 4,600 miles wide.

Compare these distances to the more than 5,200 miles that separate San Francisco from Tokyo in the Pacific where we routinely refer to the "tyranny of distance" that complicates our logistics.

With such a large continent to cover and with special forces rather stretched, keeping some of the special forces mobile at sea seems like a way to do more with what we have.