Friday, July 28, 2017

A Real But Limited Tool

American special forces are more active in Africa to combat jihadis and other forms of disorder that could create terrorist havens if not combated.

Most allocated American military power is focused in the Horn of Africa and along the Mediterranean coast, leaving large portions of Africa with little real attention:

Although the U.S. wants to protect itself and its European allies from terror attacks from Africa, the problem is that the United States has “real, but limited, interests in a lot of places around the world, and especially in a lot of parts of sub-Saharan Africa,” Biddle told The Cipher Brief.

While the United States does not want African countries to become terrorist safe havens, “it’s not a big enough interest that we’re willing to send 100,000 troops to any of these countries to stabilize their real estate,” Biddle said, which is why the Administration is using more special operators who can both aid operations and train and advise African militaries.

I think that The AFRICOM Queen modularized auxiliary cruiser (see page 50) would be a good tool to extend the military's reach to sub-Sahara Africa to reduce the need to send 100,000 troops to such a distant place.

Since America can hardly afford to send that many troops to a region way down the priority list, it would be good to prevent the disorder in the first place and bolster local capacity to intervene if such disorder breaks out.

Of course, reducing corruption and bolstering rule of law in African countries would raise capacity to resist disorder and roll it back if it breaks out more effectively than special forces. But that is a task beyond the skill set of our special forces troops.

Increasing the ability of the military to operate in the south without a footprint ashore would be helpful.