News / Africa

US Military Presence in Africa Grows With Terror Threat

US Military Presence in Africa Grows With Terror Threati
X
June 22, 2013 2:11 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Africa will emphasize Washington's expanding economic and commercial engagements with the continent. At the same time, the U.S. military's presence in Africa has been growing as terrorist threats mount across the region. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
US Military Presence in Africa Grows With Terror Threat
Luis Ramirez
U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Africa will emphasize Washington's expanding economic and commercial engagements with the continent. At the same time, the U.S. military's presence in Africa has been growing as terrorist threats mount across the region.

The spread of militant groups in what were previously unaffected areas of West Africa, such as Mali, has prompted the U.S. military to pay closer attention and boost its presence in the form of capacity-building programs, like the one in which U.S. Marines train African commandos.

The U.S. also has stepped up its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance activities, setting up unarmed drone bases in places like Niger.

It is part of a plan to provide security assistance to Africa, without a large presence of U.S. personnel.

U.S. Army General David Rodriguez recently took the helm of the U.S. Africa Command, based in Germany. He explained why it is important for the U.S. military to maintain a small footprint on the continent.

“The history of the African nations, the colonialism, all those things are what point to the reasons why we should not go in there in force and everything else, and just use a small footprint with creative and innovative solutions to get high payoff from a small number of people, as well as come in for short periods of time to do exercises, to do operations, to help build that capacity,” said Rodriguez.

AFRICOM was started in 2008, and its focus at first was on development projects including livestock deworming programs with U.S. soldiers, sometimes in civilian dress, reaching out to villagers.  

But analysts say that approach led to questions of what U.S. forces were really doing in Africa.

“There was a lot of consternation when AFRICOM was launched mainly because they didn't explain their objectives in Africa very well, and so people were very suspicious,” said Richard Downie with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

The emerging terrorist threats have prompted U.S. forces to boost their intelligence-gathering and other military operations.

Downie believes suspicions have dissipated, though, as it has become clear the U.S. is limiting its presence on the continent and defining its mission better.

“AFRICOM's mission is becoming clearer, and as it's retreated into a more traditional operational role, I think it has actually helped AFRICOM's image in Africa," he said. "People understand a little bit more clearly what it's doing there.”

Analysts say it also has become clear this capacity-building mission is a long-term effort. U.S. forces are working with militaries that are largely untrained and lacking in professionalism in some cases. They estimate it could be a decades-long endeavor.

You May Like

India PM Modi's party distances itself from religious conversions

BJP under fire for being slow to rein in hardline affiliate groups allegedly trying to promote a Hindu-dominant agenda by luring Muslims and Christians to convert to Hinduism More

Anti-Whaling Group Found in Contempt of Court

Radical environmentalists who threw acid and smoke bombs at Japanese whalers in the waters off Antarctica continue their campaign to disrupt Japan's annual whale hunt More

UN's Ban Urges End to Discrimination Against Ebola Workers

Ban was speaking in Guinea on the second day of a whistle-stop tour aimed at thanking healthcare workers of the countries at the heart of the epidemic More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: muswi melake
June 22, 2013 10:07 AM
Like the Talibans of Afghanistan, the African patriots will ultimately prevail and boldly and openly say that they have defeated the sole and lonely super-power.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid