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Report: SOCOM Has More Troops In Africa Than Anywhere Except The Middle East
There are now more U.S. Special Operations Command personnel deployed to Africa than anywhere outside the Middle East. That's just one revelation from a newly unearthed 2016 internal military report that paints Africa as a possible future source of instability greater than "the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria."
Nearly one-fifth of U.S. Special Operations Command personnel deployed overseas are on missions in Africa, running almost a hundred active missions a day in 20 countries, according to documents and data obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request by Vice News's Nick Turse. Those figures represent a 17-fold increase over the share of SOCOM deployments to Africa a decade ago.
The figures come from the end of the Obama administration, but the newly minted Trump administration shows no signs of slowing U.S. interventions in Africa. Recent domestic news headlines have highlighted the military’s rising operational tempo on the continent, including U.S. troop movements to the Horn of Africa, operations to find notorious Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony, and American casualties in the fight against al Shabab, an al Qaeda-aligned jihadi group based in East Africa.
But the 14-page strategic planning guidance obtained by Turse sheds more light on SOCOM’s broad aims across the world’s largest continent.
“The United States is not at war in Africa, but our African partners are,” Brig. Gen. Donald Bolduc, the head of Africa Special Operations Command (SOCAFRICA), wrote in the October 2016 guidance. Bolduc’s report “paints a picture of reality on the ground in Africa today and what it could be 30 years from now,” Turse explains:
That picture is bleak.
“Africa’s challenges could create a threat that surpasses the threat that the United States currently faces from conflict in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria,” Bolduc warned. He went on to cite a laundry list of challenges with which he and his personnel must contend: ever-expanding illicit networks, terrorist safe havens, attempts to subvert government authority, a steady stream of new recruits and resources.
Terror attacks have multiplied throughout Africa over the past decade, and violent extremist organizations across the continent “have been some of the most lethal on the planet,” Bolduc writes. “We believe the situation in Africa will get worse without our assistance.”
Navy SEALs, Green Berets, and other specops personnel have a major role to play in that assistance. “The problem we assist AFRICOM in solving is countering violent extremism in order to provide time for African partners to expand good governance and self-secure,” Bolduc writes. “This is by no means an easy task due to the extent of destabilization throughout Africa.”
If the trend lines continue and more U.S. troops — conventional or otherwise — deploy to Africa, FOIAs like Turse’s may be a key conduit of information for the American public, since the White House and Pentagon in March decided to stop disclosing major troop movements publicly.
Even with reports like these, fresher data remains hard to come by. Vice News “reached out to SOCAFRICA and U.S. Africa Command for clarification” on the troop numbers in Bolduc’s guidance, Turse writes.
“[E]mail return receipts show an AFRICOM spokesperson ‘read’ three such requests,” he writes, “but the command did not offer a reply.”
QUANTICO, Virginia -- They may not be deadly, but some of the nonlethal weapons the Marine Corps is working on look pretty devastating.
The Marine Corps Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate is currently testing an 81mm mortar round that delivers a shower of flashbang grenades to disperse troublemakers. There is also an electric vehicle-stopper that delivers an electrical pulse to shut down a vehicle's powertrain, designed for use at access control points.
"When you hear nonlethal, you are thinking rubber bullets and batons and tear gas; it's way more than that," Marine Col. Wendell Leimbach Jr., director of the Joint Nonlethal Weapons Directorate, told an audience at the Modern Day Marine 2019 expo.
RACHEL, Nev. (Reuters) - UFO enthusiasts began descending on rural Nevada on Thursday near the secret U.S. military installation known as Area 51, long rumored to house government secrets about alien life, with local authorities hoping the visitors were coming in peace.
Some residents of Rachel, a remote desert town of 50 people a short distance from the military base, worried their community might be overwhelmed by unruly crowds turning out in response to a recent, viral social-media invitation to "storm" Area 51. The town, about 150 miles (240 km) north of Las Vegas, lacks a grocery store or even a gasoline station.
Dozens of visitors began arriving outside Rachel's only business - an extraterrestrial-themed motel and restaurant called the Little A'Le'Inn - parking themselves in cars, tents and campers. A fire truck was stationed nearby.
Alien enthusiasts descend on the Nevada desert to 'storm' Area 51
Attendees arrive at the Little A'Le'Inn as an influx of tourists responding to a call to 'storm' Area 51, a secretive U.S. military base believed by UFO enthusiasts to hold government secrets about extra-terrestrials, is expected Rachel, Nevada, U.S. September 19, 2019
One couple, Nicholas Bohen and Cayla McVey, both sporting UFO tattoos, traveled to Rachel from the Los Angeles suburb of Fullerton with enough food to last for a week of car-camping.
"It's evolved into a peaceful gathering, a sharing of life stories," McVey told Reuters, sizing up the crowd. "I think you are going to get a group of people that are prepared, respectful and they know what they getting themselves into."
Tom Delonge has been speculating about aliens for years. According to Vulture, he quit Blink 182, the band he founded, years ago to "expose the truth about aliens," and he founded To The Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences "to advance society's understanding of scientific phenomena and its technological implications" — or, in simpler terms, to research UFOs and extraterrestrial life.
A tentative plan to build 20 miles of extra border wall in Arizona, on top of the already approved 100-plus miles, was put on hold Monday by the Pentagon.
Federal officials hoped to build the extra 20 miles of wall in the Border Patrol's Tucson and Yuma sectors. The Army Corps of Engineers said late last month that funds would come from other wall contracts that might cost less than expected. But those savings did not materialize, according to documents filed Monday in federal court in Washington, D.C.