USSOF OPERATIONS IN AFRICA: PROSPECTS FOR FUTURE ENGAGEMENTS IN THE SAHEL
AIR WAR COLLEGE MAXWELL AFB United States
Pagination or Media Count:
As part of the Global War on Terror, AFRICOM was established to secure the US security interests in Africa. AFRICOM, through the Trans-Saharan Counter Terrorism Partnership uses USSOF to engage Sahelian security forces, to address the threat of terrorism in the Sahel. This engagement is non-lethal, and relies on the synergy of the elements of diplomacy, defense and development for its successful implementation. Accordingly, USSOF undertakes training for Sahelian forces with a view to building the capacity and capability of local forces to degrade VEOs in the region. However, with the continued employment of USSOF in non-lethal roles, the threat of terrorism continues to increase beyond the capacity of Sahelian forces to mitigate. The inability of Sahelian forces to translate the skill sets from USSOF training into observable favorable outcome raises questions over the effectiveness of current USSOF engagement in the Sahel and the utility of USSOF non-lethal engagement in the Sahel. This paper argues that lethal military engagement by USSOF can bridge the gap resulting from the inability of Sahelian States to optimize the expected gains of USSOF non-lethal action in support of their counterterrorism effort. The paper identifies the need for USSOF to exploit the competencies of USAID, international organizations and NGOs in Sahelian States to act as enablers for USSOFs lethal action, thereby making USSOF engagement in the Sahel more effective.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics