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Securing Sub-Saharan Africa's Maritime Environment: Lessons Learned from the Caribbean and Southeast Asia

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Master's thesis

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The United States has a growing vested interest in the geopolitical status of Africa, as reflected in guiding national strategic documents. United States Africa Command AFRICOM was established in 2008 to effectively manage many of the key strategic issues surrounding Africa. One of AFRICOMs areas of focus is the relatively unsecured and lawless maritime environment of coastal Sub-Saharan Africa, which suffers from a myriad of security threats, including piracy and trafficking in drugs, persons, and weapons. In order to gain insight into how best to fully operationalize U.S. strategy in the African maritime environment, this thesis turns to two regions of the world where the United States has extensive experience countering maritime security threats, either directly or through significant assistance to regional states. The drug war in the Caribbean and antipiracy efforts in Southeast Asia are studied to determine the effect of two independent variables, that of coordination both interagency and international and maritime security capacity the ability to man, train and equip security forces, on the flow of drugs through the Caribbean and rate of piracy in Southeast Asia. This thesis finds that while each has a positive effect on both security threats, the combination of robust coordination at the interagency and international levels and enhanced maritime security capacity was key to success in counterdrug and antipiracy operations. The implications of these findings for U.S. strategy in Sub-Saharan Africa are discussed in the conclusion.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Pharmacology
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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