All of those troops leaving Afghanistan during the next two years will have to go somewhere, right? The US Army will deploy thousands of soldiers across the continent of Africa during 2013.
The Army Times confirms that the US military gave the go-ahead for the mass deployment last month and that roughly 3,000 soldiers will soon be sent overseas, with more troops expected to be dispatched during the duration of the program. Maj. Gen. David R. Hogg, head of US Army Africa, says the initiative is part of a “regionally aligned force concept” that will allow American troops to forge relationships across Africa, where the US has not concentrated its soldiers among civilians to the same degree as other continents.
“As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” Hogg tells Army Times.
The program will put thousands of American troops in different African cities from anywhere for a few weeks to a few months, where they will learn about unfamiliar cultures and conduct training for threats and missions.
The US currently has a substantial military presence across the African continent, but nowhere to the degree that is has in other locales. More than 1,200 soldiers are currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, and last October US President Barack Obama personally authorized the deployment of 100 troops to Uganda to aid in attempt to oust Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony.
Around the time of that announcement, though, award-winning war correspondent Eric Margolis told RT that if Washington had humanitarian interests in mind while considering deployments to Uganda that it would not be going in alone.
“The US is also concerned about Chinese penetration in the region that they are going to gobble all the economical resources and earn influence on the regional governments. So the US maybe want to stop this Chinese advancement in central Africa,” said Marggolis. “It could be more legitimate, if the US did it in conjunction with disinterested nations – Russia, for example, or South Africa and Turkey. But the fact that they’re doing it on their own means they are doing it for the interests of their own policy.”
Hogg insists this time, though, that Americans won’t be sent overseas with a plan to prepare for war. “We are not trying to reproduce the United States Army in the 54 countries in Africa,” he says. The soldiers will, however, show foreign citizens some of the tactics used by American troops, as well as provide instruction on combating famine and disease.
“I’m not there to win their wars or settle their differences,” says Hogg.