Monday, July 16, 2018

The Economy of Force Front

American special forces are active in Africa:

American special operations teams are playing a more direct role in military actions against suspected terrorists in Africa than the Pentagon has publicly acknowledged, planning and participating in combat raids by African troops in multiple countries including Somalia, Kenya, Tunisia and Niger, under a set of classified programs.

In repeated public statements, military spokespeople have said the American role in Africa is limited to “advising and assisting” other militaries. But for at least five years, Green Berets, Navy SEALs and other commandos operating under a little-understood authority have planned and controlled certain missions, putting them in charge of their African partner forces. ...

A spokesman for Africa Command declined to say which African states host teams under the authority, but former special operations officers have identified eight countries as current or recent sites of the surrogate programs. They include well-known combat zones like Somalia and Libya as well as more surprising sites for American-directed commando raids like Kenya, Tunisia, Cameroon, Mali and Mauritania — and Niger, where the October mission that ended in tragedy involved one of two units that Green Berets run in the country under the authority.

Special forces, people who have to volunteer many times to be in their jobs, are considered a different force altogether than our conventional military which has more constraints on deployments and missions. I don't know the origin of that. But it is a longstanding bipartisan view of how the force can be used.Congress has willingly funded the effort.

I think we can all agree that it is better to deal with the terrorism problem at this level than to let it get so bad that it requires large amounts of conventional military power to defeat.

If you pay attention, this is hardly news. Is it really "secret" if your lack of knowledge is from not reading what is available? You would be aware of this if you read this blog. Trust me, I'm not being fed secrets. My sources are all public.

But notwithstanding the tenor of the article, we are partnered with African states for direct action through willing participation by African states. We would not be where we are without the shared objective of destroying terror groups operating on their soil.

And indeed, Mauritania's withdrawal from the program highlights the voluntary nature of the effort.

The article does have a good point that these quiet efforts should be reviewed for effectiveness rather than letting them--as any government program does--get a life of their own that defies need or record of achievements and effect.

Anyway, this effort could use mobile support from the sea. Support the Navy is too often unable to provide because it has higher priority theaters in Europe, the Middle East, and the Indo-Pacific region. Only South America has a lower priority.

But Africa is an active front in the war on Islamist terrorism. We have a good reason to quietly fight terrorism so it doesn't destabilize African states and cause even more death and destruction in its wake.

The AFRICOM Queen power projection platform would be useful, no?

And I swear I'm not looking to promote my article and idea. But news related to it has come up a lot lately, it seems.