Why Is the US Military Averaging More Than a Mission a Day in Africa?


Special Forces

A US Special Forces trainer supervises a military assault drill for a unit within the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Nzara. (Reuters/Andreea Campean)

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The numbers tell the story: ten exercises, fifty-five operations, 481 security cooperation activities.

For years, the US military has publicly insisted that its efforts in Africa are small scale. Its public affairs personnel and commanders have repeatedly claimed no more than a “light footprint” on that continent, including a remarkably modest presence when it comes to military personnel. They have, however, balked at specifying just what that light footprint actually consists of. During an interview, for instance, a…

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