A brigade will deploy to Africa next year in a pilot program that
assigns brigades on a rotational basis to regions around the globe, the
Army announced in May.
Roughly 3,000 soldiers — and likely more —
are expected to serve tours across the continent in 2013, training
foreign militaries and aiding locals.
As part of a “regionally
aligned force concept,” soldiers will live and work among Africans in
safe communities approved by the U.S. government, said Maj. Gen. David
R. Hogg, head of U.S. Army Africa.GETTING THERE
To serve on the continent, soldiers can:
•Volunteer for duty with U.S. Army Africa.
•Join an office of security cooperation for the region.
•Apply and become a foreign-area officer.
Tours could last a few weeks or months and include multiple missions at different locations, he said.
The Army has not announced which brigade would deploy or where the soldiers would come from.
the Afghanistan war winds down, the new readiness model affords Army
units more time to learn regional cultures and languages and train for
specific threats and missions.
Africa, in particular, has emerged
as a greater priority for the U.S. government because terrorist groups
there have become an increasing threat to U.S. and regional security.
U.S. soldiers have operated in Africa for decades, including more than
1,200 soldiers currently stationed at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the
region in many ways remains the Army’s last frontier.
“As far as our mission goes, it’s uncharted territory,” Hogg said from his headquarters in Vicenza, Italy.
But “I’m not there to win their wars or settle their differences,” he added.
with more soldiers, U.S. Army Africa will continue to strengthen ties
with regional militaries and governments by teaching military tactics,
medicine and logistics, as well as combating famine, disease and
terrorism in secure environments. The Army currently allows conventional
soldiers to enter only 46 of the 54 African states due to security
The State Department and U.S. special operations commands
handle activities in the other countries, including those amid conflict.
soldiers, guardsmen and reservists have helped quell regional violence,
assist sick and injured Africans and feed the famished in East Africa.
a recent annual training exercise, U.S. soldiers taught Ugandan forces
how to deliver supplies by air to comrades in the bush chasing rebels
from the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia accused of atrocities in
Through State Department initiatives, soldiers
have also trained African troops headed for peacekeeping missions in
Somalia on convoy security and countering improvised explosive devices.
medical missions, Army doctors have replaced eye lenses of cataract
patients in Malawi and Zanzibar, who danced and beamed after seeing, in
some cases for the first time. Medical soldiers have also handed out
mosquito nets to protect locals from malaria, the No. 1 killer in
Africa, Hogg said.
Army chaplains teach Africans in classes about dealing with post-traumatic stress and running family readiness groups.Real-world lessons
brigade combat team has the capability to satisfy more than two-thirds
of these missions in Africa. The rest will require skilled specialists —
mechanics and logisticians — from the National Guard and Army Reserve,
Each week, U.S. Army Africa operations personally affect 300 to 400 locals, he said.
seen some of these missions where the battalion commander down there
could probably run for governor,” he said. “That’s how close of a
relationship they have with some of their counterparts, both on the
military side and with the local civilian community.
“It gets out
the indirect approach [toward] some of these violent, extremist
organizations that will talk bad about the Americans and the U.S,” he
said. “It leaves behind a lasting effect over time.”
forces, U.S. soldiers have picked up real-world lessons about tropical
diseases, international cultures and foreign military tactics.
the future, U.S. soldiers might also attend military courses in Africa,
such as the French desert survival school in Djibouti and African jungle
schools in Ghana and Gabon.
Still, the Army has no plans to construct permanent bases across the continent, and the mission does have its limits, Hogg said.
all the challenges that happen and sprout up across Africa, it really
comes down to, it has to be an African solution. We are here to enable,
where wanted, the African forces to figure out and solve their own
problems,” said Hogg, who has visited more than 20 countries.
“We are not trying to reproduce the United States Army in the 54 countries in Africa,” he said.http://www.armytimes.com/news/2012/06/army-3000-soldiers-serve-in-africa-next-year-060812/