Major General Marcus Hicks, the senior officer reprimanded in connection with last year’s ambush in which four Army soldiers were killed in Niger, was not set up for success. The way this has been handled sends a clear message, but it is not a good one for building trust, accountability, and underwriting mistakes.

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U.S. Army

Editor’s note: The Long March will be closed for inventory the month of August. We regret any inconvenience this causes our loyal customers. In an effort to keep you reasonably content and focussed, we are offering re-runs of some of the best columns of the year. We value your custom and hope you will stick around for . . . the Long March.

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U.S. Army/Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

The Department of Defense reportedly plans on reducing and assigning special operations forces (SOF) in Africa by the hundreds and limit the number of SOF missions on the continent. The New York Times reported on August 1 that Pentagon officials “expected most of the troop cuts and scaled-back missions to come from Central and West Africa, where Special Operations missions have focused on training African militaries to combat the growing threat from extremist Islamist militant groups.”   

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Photo via U.S. Army/Spc. Zayid Ballesteros

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."

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