Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
February 12, 2008

Department of State adds $s to Africom

The discussion of military U.S. meddling in Africa is centered around AFRICOM, the U.S. military command for Africa with headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany and under the control of the Defense Department [Question to Berlin: How is having that command in our country serving German interests?]

But part of the money for U.S. military action is burried within the State Department's budget. Via Danger Room we learn of a current State Department solicitation for military base preparation and other services in Africa:

The Department of State (DOS), Bureau of African Affair's Africa Peacekeeping Program (AFRICAP) program covers much of the security assistance work being requested throughout the continent of Africa. The program enhances African countries ability to conduct peacekeeping operations and builds African capacities for crisis management and counter terrorism. One of the program's key objectives is regional peace and stability.
...
DOS uses its peacekeeping operations (PKO) funds to advance that goal by undertaking training of armed forces, enhancing their ability to deploy by land, air and sea. AFRICAP contractors also work with regional organizations to enhance their abilities to prevent, manage, and resolve conflict and supporting peacekeeping and peace building operations.

We can think of some examples here. Like the bloody U.S. coup in Somalia via Ethiopian proxy forces which were trained by U.S. military. Such training will now be privatized:

The program encompasses logistics support, construction, military training and advising, maritime security capacity building, equipment procurement, operational deployment for peacekeeping troops, aerial surveillance and conference facilitation. Potential contractors must possess a broad range of functional regional expertise and logistics support capabilities. The intent is to have contractors on call to undertake a wide range of diverse projects, including setting up operational bases to support peacekeeping operations in hostile environments, military training and to providing a range of technical assistance and equipment for African militaries and peace support operations.

Setting up operational bases in hostile environment is definitely not a civilian mission. It requires fighting. The State Departments request for offers is obviously asking for mercenaries. The budget is $1+ billion for a five year contract. Currently Pacific Architects and Engineers (PAE) and DynCorp International already have a contract for logistic work in Africa. State is now asking others to join:

Our anticipated acquisition strategy includes making multiple awards including 3 to large businesses and 1 to a service disabled, veteran owned or 8(a) firm.

The invitation to bid seems to perfectly fit to Blackwater. Erik Prince, the Blackwater founder and CEO is a veteran. Blackwater recently bought and refurbished a ship that could be used for maritime security capacity building at the coast of Nigeria or elsewhere.

Last year, Blackwater purchased the former National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration ship M/V McArthur, which was launched in 1966. Since then, [retired Coast Guard captain] Ridenour and his crew have refurbished the ship, which now includes capacity for several rigid hull inflatable boats and a flight deck and hangar that can house two helicopters. Like the Pistris vessels, the McArthur has room for 20-foot modular containers. With a crew of 13, the McArthur can deploy with up to 42 government, military, or nongovernmental personnel.

Blackwater has developed into a complete armed force including a Navy, Air-Force and mobile ground troops:

Several aviation-related Web sites have reported that the company, which already owns more than 20 aircraft, is seeking to acquire a Super Tucano light combat plane from the Brazilian manufacturer Embraer.

The propeller-driven planes, which can be outfitted with up to 1-1/2 tons of machine guns, bombs and missiles, are used by Brazil and Colombia to battle insurgents and drug smugglers. Blackwater is buying a two-seat model to be used for pilot training, the Web reports said.

Meanwhile, Blackwater has developed a remotely piloted airship, equipped with state-of-the-art surveillance and communications gear, and is marketing it for use in combat, coastal patrol, and port and border security. It also has an armored personnel carrier in production.

But will Africans welcome that company's work for peace and stability?

What is that anyhow? We might learn that from a U.S. military conference on Stability Operations and State Building which:

will look at theoretical, intellectual, and moral foundations of state-building as derived from the Age of Enlightenment, ethical norms, and religious values from various societies.

Ahh - the White Man's burdon - spreading Enlightenment, ethical norms and religious values - for convinience now outsourced to Blackwater goons.

Take up the White Man's burden--
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another's profit,
And work another's gain.

Posted by b on February 12, 2008 at 08:57 AM | Permalink

Comments

Past time to outsource Blackwater back into the US Armed Forces/

Posted by: IntelVet | Feb 12, 2008 9:53:21 AM | 1

Thanx for another interesting post b. It's unreal, Blackwater is now developing airships and producing troop carriers! Prince is more and more looking like Dr. No to me, probably already planning where and how to operate a secret base under an island somewhere. I reckon James Bond should check him out.

And what made me almost fall from my chair was the line about the US military seminar on norms and values. What a cracker, an organization which runs torture prisons and kills people by the thousands runs courses for foreigners on how to do the right thing.

Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-racking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a whole-time job. W. Somerset Maugham

Posted by: Juan Moment | Feb 12, 2008 11:27:01 AM | 2

nice catches, b. helps to fill in some blanks. much to say on this, but it'll have to wait for a bit. in the meantime, the blogger crossed crocodiles has been researching & starting to write on the role of mercs WRT AFRICOM (see The Rising Mercenary Industry and AFRICOM).

Posted by: b real | Feb 12, 2008 11:53:29 AM | 3

excellent post b

Posted by: annie | Feb 12, 2008 12:34:43 PM | 4

My granddaughter has just been deployed to northeast Africa, so thanks for the post b. She's in the USAF.

Posted by: Ben | Feb 12, 2008 1:01:04 PM | 5

Chris Floyd has a piece today about Somalia

http://tinyurl.com/236hdz

in which he praises an article by Steve Bloomfield in The Independent

http://tinyurl.com/2w4m4r

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. | Feb 12, 2008 1:02:41 PM | 6

This is heady stuff. Or, as we call it here in the UESLA drawing room, "a great draught of Hesitation."

Hesitation is what the beast thrives upon.

No one would hesitate to stop a pirate or a mugger or a rapist from carrying out his scheme. People drop what they're doing and intervene. But when a great, hulking psychopathic creature like an international corporation goes after dark-skinned natives for their resources, lives and labor, everyone hesitates. There's talk, sure. But they are not stopped. That's what counts.

They are not stopped.

Talk about your Get Out of Jail Free Card! Your 'Do As You Will' Card! "The Times says it's not a mugger, dear, it's a respected corporation, with a shiny logo and tens of billions at their disposal. They must know what they're doing. Besides, who's going to stop them? You?"

This is why we say the Upper East Side Liberation Army has no enemies, only opportunities. We are the clever few who have come to the conclusion that the whole world is an oyster, and it may as well be ours as yours, thank you very much. Sorry about the mess, of course, but then you weren't really guarding your possessions or your liberty all that well, now were you, old bean? Strictly business, and all that. Now, off you go. Best of luck to you, out there in the fields. Looks like a hot one today.

Here at UESLA, we are well aware that this kind of thing is wrong, on so many moral and ethical and spiritual levels. We do discuss it. We do. The discussion takes all of two seconds, and the bulk of that is taken up by a weary "tsk tsk." Well, of course it's wrong, and inhuman, and all the rest! Jeezus Haitch -- treating human beings like chattel and cattle and pieces and parts! It's disastrous, and damned unproductive in the long term as well. Yep. There it is. Tsk Tsk.

Right exactly there it is. It is how the world is run, right now.

Here's the shape of things:

The American Empire is currently the single biggest, strongest, richest, most unrestrained business conglomerate to ever exist anywhere in human history, or in geological time. It is The Nation among about two hundred. The 800-pound gorilla. America (plus its allies and cohorts and followers) effectively runs the whole place, or very close to it.

All 200 of these nations are competing within am overarching capitalist enterprise system for a finite set of nature's resources. The possession and use of those resources will get them -- or keep them -- a bit ahead of the next nation on the highway to power and prosperity. None of these 200 are willing to approach their present or future prospects other than under this competitive system. No one is really singing "Kumbaya," even if they are standing there singing it. They are competing without restraint night and day.

You may compare our planetary civilization to 200 persons, of varying talents, backgrounds, wealth, and capabilities steaming upon the open waters in a cruise ship that has no agreed upon captain, no staff, no janitors, and no grease monkeys to man the pumps or the engine room. As you can imagine, it's a lively place. There are leaks springing up in the most surprising places, the steering is getting more erratic, there's a lot of fighting, and someone needs to clean up the men's room, stat.

What happens is that the strongest, fastest, cleverest, meanest people will soon enough find themselves in possession of the better arrangements on board, and in power over those who are just looking to be safe and secure, or who haven't the will or the means to hold on to their space and their resources. These clever folk send the less clever people to man the pumps, mop the floors, and clean up the men's room -- all on the threat of going without any supper or shelter. That's how things are run aboard the good ship Earth.

Did we mention there's a lot of fighting? A whole lot.

It's neither moral nor pretty nor strictly necessary, but this is how humans behave when they are left to share and share alike. They fight. They will fight with knives in phone booths, if that's what it takes to carry the day.

To carry the day. Just to carry the day. The one day.

Meanwhile, who is making any attempt to carry the voyage itself off with success, or with simple survival? Who is asking where our civilization is going? Who is asking where our species is headed, or what we have done to other species? Only the dreamers. Only songwriters and sages, only poets and professors and punks without a penny to their name.

Spaceship Earth is our common vehicle, and all 200 passengers are in full blood to carry the one day if it takes hand grenades in phone booths this time around. If it takes nuclear weapons, as a business decision, then that business decision will be made. If somebody's GDP requires it, it will just have to be done.

All just to carry the day, to carry the figures from the day before to the bottom line this morning, and to make those figures grow by 3% per annum -- even if we have to kill sleeping babies to make it happen.

That's madness. That's corporatism run amok. That's capitalism with its chains and restraints removed. That is its true face. That is the face glowers down upon every plant and creature and human being on the planet this morning. It's a normal day.

In such an environment of unrestrained combat for position, possession, power, and privilege do you suppose it is wise to call for restraint? To call for hesitation in our methods? To go uncertain into that phone booth? Hell no.

No nation will do that. No nation that does that stands a chance. They will not be left in possession of a single grain of rice. Not under this civilization.

All of which is to illustrate, to say, that the only way out of this capitalist combat, this escalating predicament our species has created for ourselves is to quit it wholesale. Get the planet in sustainable, prosperous order -- and not by one nation or another conquering all others and calling the results peaceful, by Gawd.

Under the current global civilization, calling for restraint in America's capitalist adventurism is absurd. That merely leaves the phone booth to whomever else wants it, and gives them the advantage of resources America could have claimed first. That will come back to bite us, under the current civilization.

Under the current global civilization, whomever we leave those resources to will prosper against us, and all the sooner come for our resources. The beast must be fed, must eat its every competitor or be eaten itself. The beast cannot stop fighting, cannot stop feeding, or it dies. Yet, fighting for those resources only perpetuates this strange civilization of ours. It's not

like our species wins. It's not like our planet prospers. No one wins. Some people just come out a bit ahead, for a bit.

The cure is to govern our only planet differently. To chain the murderous beast we call by the name capitalism so that it serves our long term survival instead of merely winning us the phone booth for the day.

It is not a political question, then. It is a species question, and a spiritual question. That murderous beast is called greed, is called envy, is called rage, is called lust. Is called human.

That's us. That's the face. That's our face as a species. We glower upon our own existence, we make dim our own future. We persecute our species unto the grave, every day.

It isn't someone else who calls us to Africa, and to wherever else we need to go to get the best, and to stay on top, and to be first. It is our American Dream, it is our beast that calls us

to the phone booth again, and again.

America isn't going to hesitate, not while it is in the ring with the other 200.

The call should not be to hesitate. It should be to absolutely stop this madness.

Posted by: UESLA | Feb 12, 2008 1:28:40 PM | 7

what b real & b have exposed for some time now & in great detail is the savagery that lies at the heart of the ipmperial enterprise

mad king leopold is a moralist compared to the planners of these strategies

the savagery is inversed as it always was - & the jungle was always , of course -washington, london, paris or lisbon

there are more col kurtz's than you can throw a stick at but in our historical moment they are of course complete cretins completely incapable of comprehending the carnage they create & have themselves, become

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Feb 12, 2008 2:05:59 PM | 8

I don't think Blackwater is up to the task. As a matter of honing their abilities I might suggest they find some place to invade for practice. They need to find a place that hates big government interventions, a place where the natives have an ingrained militant mean streak, and will pull out a gun at the drop of a hat, especially if its their hat being knocked off by an outsider. Because you see, these natives are proud of their insulated, seemingly backward cultural traditions. They are proud of their tight knit inherited obligation family structures and their political systems of extended patronage and cronyism that have served them so well - in maintaining their exclusionary apartheid colored sense of freedom. And besides, everything they do is informed, practiced, and justified, on an archaic religion taken literally. These natives are in dire need of enhanced security precautions, because as history has shown, such cultures are prime breeding grounds for not only religious extremism and terrorism, but can even rise up in rebellion against the state itself.

So its my suggestion that Blackwater be given immediate permission to invade and occupy Birmingham Alabama. They could use the practice, and Birmingham could use a dose of that good old fashion liberal enlightenment from the barrel of a gun , just to remind them of who and what we're really fightin' for.

Posted by: anna missed | Feb 12, 2008 4:09:49 PM | 9

The privatization of military training is part of the reason for the budget increase. Have to pay those contracts somehow without overtly saying that taxes will be raised and/or spending on programs will be cut, or I suppose, they could try to find someone to lend them more money. In addition, it gives the casual American onlooker the mirage that there are less enlisted American troops on the ground, much like the chief reason there is not a draft for the Iraq War is the fact there is more hired help than there are American enlisted servicepeople on the ground, at least pre-surge.

The training will be granted primarily through the 'Anti-terrorism' initiatives, which has a nice sound to it when the DoD askes Congress to fund the programs that have Congressional oversight.

The Ethiopian Army that Bernhard mentioned is still in Somalia has committed massive human rights abuses on their homefront for years and is fighting a civil war on two fronts, in Gambella and Oromo. Meanwhile, the US has 3 miltary bases there, including a CIA terrorist detention camp that has been used by Ethiopian officials to lock up innocent political dissidents.

They also have a regional ACSS training center in Addis, where the HQ of the Golden Spear anti-terrorist (and natural disaster) training program is. Several other Eastern and Central African nations with poor human rights records particpate in the program, including Uganda, Rwanda, and after the elections violence, many would argue Kenya, who also participates, belongs on that list.

Posted by: b | Feb 12, 2008 8:03:20 PM | 10

had a good laugh here reading this sentence in the re-compete solicitation:

One of [AFRICAP's] key objectives is regional peace and stability. DOS uses its peacekeeping operations (PKO) funds to advance that goal by undertaking training of armed forces...

does blackwater -- not to be confused w/ a more common usage of the term ("Human excrement or matter contaminated with human excrement discharged from a toilet") -- have any experience in africa? the description states that "Potential contractors must possess a broad range of functional regional expertise and logistics support capabilities." i'd reckon they already have staff harvested from the large body of african mercs & private security services, but i don't recall reading of any ops in africa.

according to a CSIS rpt, integrating 21st century development and security assistance

The National Implementation Plan (NIP) for counterterrorism, ... the definitive document apportioning counterterrorism (CT) responsibilities and resources, has assigned some 65% of all CT tasks to the State Department

however, DoS funding for CT programs falls considerably short of what the pentagon has available and the ratio of military-to-civilian CT programs is around 80/20.

big push for private contractors now in africa, as energy security operations ramp up. tasks outlined in the solicitation are

  • logistics support
  • construction
  • military training and advising
  • maritime security
  • capacity building
  • equipment procurement
  • operational deployment for peacekeeping troops
  • aerial surveillance
  • conference facilitation

    compare that list w/ some tasks listed in this article mentioning the south african private security firm erinys international's contract w/ the u.s. in iraq circa 2003-4

    Erinys Iraq Ltd is the private security company hired to protect Iraq's oil pipelines under a US$40 million contract awarded in August 2003. Erinys Iraq is an affiliate of Erinys International formed in 2001, landed the Iraq contract to supply and train 6,500 armed guards charged with protecting 140 Iraqi oil wells, 7,000 kilometers of pipelines and refineries, as well as power plants and the water supply for the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. A majority of Erinys' workforce (15,000 Iraqi and 350 international staff) in Iraq are Kurdish peshmerga. It seeks to deter attacks on oil infrastructure through an overt presence, aerial surveillance and liaison. Operational control of the Oil Protection Force (OPF) is exercised by Erinys, not Task Force Shield (TFS). TFS is not overseen by the Corps of Engineers (GRD), but is part of MNF-I. Erinys Regional Operations are located in Mosul, Kirkuk, Baghdad and Basrah. The contract for aerial surveillance granted in December 2003 was awarded to Erinys Iraq, which awarded a subcontract to Florida-based AirScan Inc for aerial surveillance of the pipelines in support of Erinys. AirScan provides night air surveillance of the pipeline and oil infrastructure, using low-light television cameras.

    Posted by: b real | Feb 12, 2008 10:43:48 PM | 11

  • this focuses on DoD, rather than DoS, but it had some interesting info that deserves wider dissemination

    Private military industry continues to grow

    In October, leaders in the private military security industry -- ArmorGroup, DynCorp, MPRI, and several others -- gathered at the Phoenix Park Hotel near the Capitol for the annual three-day summit of their trade group, the International Peace Operations Association. Panel speakers and members of the audience debated the future of nation-building efforts in failed states. Almost snapping to attention, the former military officers who dominate this industry introduced themselves in sincere baritones of "Lieutenant Colonel So-and-So, retired," or "Major So-and-So, retired." The one active-duty soldier I met handing out his business card that day, Army Lt. Col. James Boozell, a branch chief of the Stability Operations/Irregular Warfare Division at the Pentagon, said that the U.S. military was in fact experiencing a "watershed" moment in its 200-plus-year history -- nation building was now a core military mission to be led by the Army.

    "The Air Force has determined they can do very little from 80,000 feet," Boozell deadpanned as he sat on a panel, "and the Navy has determined they can do even less nation building from 30 miles offshore." The audience chuckled as Boozell, clicking through his slide show, added that "stability operations" -- as the Pentagon and its contractors refer to nation building and peacekeeping -- would be as critical to the U.S. military as combat operations, a heresy that just a decade ago inspired disdain for then-President Clinton from military officers and disparagement from presidential candidate George W. Bush, who denounced nation building in one of the 2000 presidential debates.
    ...
    In November 2005, Defense Department directive 3000.05 declared that stability operations were now a "core" mission of the U.S. military, in coordination with the State Department, "to help establish order that advances U.S. interests and values" in failing states.


    [w/ some requiring more than a push to "level" the playing field]
    In February 2008, the military is expected to roll out its updated Operations Field Manual 3-0, which places equal emphasis on offense, defense, and stability operations.
    ...
    ..as The Washington Post reported in November, Gen. Petraeus returned to Washington to help pick the next 40 brigadier generals who will lead the Army. That move made it clear that Petraeus's specialties -- counterinsurgency and stability operations -- are here to stay. "It's unprecedented for the commander of an active theater to be brought back to head something like a brigadier generals [promotion] board," retired Maj. Gen. Robert Scales, former head of the Army War College, told The Post.

    But perhaps the most intriguing recent "first" is that the officer tapped to head the new stability operations division in the Pentagon, Col. Simon P. Wolsey, whose title is division chief of stability and irregular warfare, is British. It took nine months, 384 e-mails, 10 contentious meetings of top-ranking officers, and an open letter from the deputy chief of staff of the Army, Lt. Gen. James J. Lovelace, to obtain security clearances for Wolsey. But for the first time in U.S. history, a foreign officer holds a U.S. command billet.

    Wolsey, who is now halfway through a three-year tour commanding the new division, says it was simply luck that he was offered the post as he finished at the U.S. Army War College. The Army chief of staff wanted a soldier who could think outside the box, said Boozell, who is Wolsey's deputy. And it didn't hurt that Wolsey understood the subtleties of nation building -- particularly British colonialism's successes and failures. He also points out that the British army possesses a different mind-set, which is the other reason he was tapped: It doesn't have the same reluctance toward nation building that the U.S. Army has.

    what century are these people living in?

    Rather than creating a separate branch of the Army for stability operations, all incoming soldiers will have an extra three weeks of basic training to incorporate nation building into their war-fighting toolbox, Boozell explains enthusiastically. And officers will be hypereducated in stability operations throughout their careers, returning to military universities to refine the lessons they first experienced in the field. "The military cannot design specialized forces to do nothing but stability operations. If you do, the bill to the taxpayer would be monumental," he said. "And the threat to national security would be unacceptable" because too few war fighters would be left. (One of the proposals on the table had been to convert 50 percent of the Army's 527,000-plus soldiers into a stability operations force.)

    Wolsey adds that once his new division is up and running, the Army intends to consult with international nongovernmental organizations and international institutions such as the World Bank. The Pentagon's stability operations directive calls for coordination "with relevant U.S. departments and agencies, foreign governments and security forces, international organizations, NGOs, and private sector individuals."

    let's do away w/ such transparent euphemisms as "stability operations", "nation building", and "helping africans help themselves" and assign a true name to these programs - imperialism. pure, naked imperialism wrapped in the colonialist's infinite kindness & desire to raise up the natives from their wretched state(s).

    Posted by: b real | Feb 12, 2008 11:10:59 PM | 12

    superb thread so far, and hope I do'nt spoil it.

    and UESLA might want to think about establishing itself on the upper east side of Shanghai too. Its called -- hedging your bets.

    Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 13, 2008 4:06:48 AM | 13

    newsweek interview w/ jendayi frazer. the interviewer doesn't let her get away w/ her prevarications quite so easily, but this excerpt succintly captures her very essence

    Is the average Somali living in Mogadishu better off today, or were they were better off under the Islamic courts?

    You'd have to ask the average Somali living in Mogadishu. [Laughs]

    Posted by: b real | Feb 14, 2008 12:50:04 AM | 14

    b real@14

    I am disgusted at this woman

    Posted by: jony_b_cool | Feb 14, 2008 7:06:34 AM | 15

    AFRICOM piece at FPIF today co-authored by daniel volman

    Militarizing Africa (Again)


    ...

    President Bush recently unveiled his Defense Budget for FY2009 – a budget that is unsustainable and unnecessary for achieving true global security. Within it lies a line-item of $389 million for AFRICOM’s current operations in Stuttgart, Germany. Embedded further is the budget for current U.S. defense engagements in Africa – all of which will come under the AFRICOM heading. With pressure from the American people, the U.S. Congress can eliminate this ill-conceived Rumsfeld plan from the bloated budget.

    It is also imperative that Congress be provided with recommendations for AFRICOM in order to shape the command in the most progressive way possible. Though total elimination of AFRICOM’s budget is preferable, Congress can also utilize its power of oversight to ensure that the interests of Africans are upheld. Congress can set specific restrictions on AFRICOM finances to make certain that private defense contractors will never be used to carry out the mission of the command. It can also enact legislation that requires the Pentagon to submit regular reports to Congress on AFRICOM’s activities, budget, and how military and civilian partnerships are evolving in the field.

    Like Congress, the State Department can play a key role in the movement to oppose AFRICOM. Its duties and oversight are slowly being chipped away by a defense policy that encompasses civilian activities. Although AFRICOM staff argues that the State Department will remain central to African affairs, the inter-agency coordination of AFRICOM is structured to give unprecedented power to the Pentagon. Ambassadors and U.S. Agency for International Development personnel must remain at the head of U.S. foreign operations in Africa. They should feel empowered to demand an increased budget and a clear delineation of the command structure such that diplomatic efforts are not contingent upon the opinions of a military general.

    ...

    Once AFRICOM is set in place, it will be increasingly difficult to draw it back. Pushing a diplomatic strategy that relies on true partnership with African governments, the African Union (AU), and African Civil Society is the only approach that is truly in the mutual, long-term interests of the American people and the citizens of Africa’s many nations.

    headline today for an article behind a subscription wall -- Special Ops Chief Temporarily Halts Efforts To Staff SOCAFRICOM

    Posted by: b real | Feb 21, 2008 11:52:18 AM | 16

    @b real - simple question: Why is Bush in Africa?

    Posted by: b | Feb 21, 2008 1:01:48 PM | 17

    Resist Africom

    Posted by: b | Feb 21, 2008 1:07:56 PM | 18

    he's prob on his way home by now, but i didn't get much of a hint on any special agenda in the brief mtgs he had w/ the few heads of state he engaged w/.

    more press was generated on the AFRICOM story at the end than any others, i'd say, and there were tons of headlines after thursday's press briefing in ghana where bush made the most of a red herring by stating that the u.s. wasn't interesting in building large military bases in africa. (unfortunately, the press failed to point out that the days of large garrisons are out in the military's transformational designs and it's the smaller "cooperative security locations" that they're after. and there are already a fair number of them.)

    plenty of speculation beforehand that bush was going there to push AFRICOM and offer up aid to bribe leaders for softening their resistance to military imperialism. no word yet on whether any progress was made on that front. the public stmts from leaders in tanzania & ghana indicated that they were more open to the idea of AFRICOM (as pressed by bush & the marketing crew), though rejecting a permanent u.s. military presence in their territories.

    overall, it was prob more of a PR junket for bush than anything else. something for the historical record to paint him in a better light at the tail end of his presidency. the papers of record all talked about how popular bush was in africa & about how he has done more than any other u.s. president for africans. and it helped raise u.s. public awareness of & establish a framing for the increasing u.s. involvement on the continent. he purposely avoided visiting the u.s.-backed autocrats zenawi & museveni and canceled a planned visit to kenya.

    some leverage appeared to be placed on kibaki, w/ bush openly calling for power-sharing & sending his secretary of state to convey the msg that the great white father wanted a deal made by the time he stepped off the continent onto AF1.

    he avoided issues like the u.s. proxy war in somalia, the ongoing devestation in the DRC, the upcoming verdicts on nigeria's presidential legitimacy as yar'adua faces the very real possibility of being ruled illegitimate after nigeria's blatantly fixed election last year (though that didn't stop the u.s. from embracing yar'adua). didn't talk much about gas or oil or biofuels.

    after some terse language from others prior to his trip, bush didn't speak too disparagingly of china as competition, and he certainly didn't make the economical impact that china's hu did on his tours of africa.

    the $$ pledged for programs raised eyebrows & brought grins to faces, though historically most of that promised never arrives, much less to the benefit of africans themselves. have to see what kind of impact it had on investor interest overall.

    Posted by: b real | Feb 21, 2008 2:15:31 PM | 19

    more for b's question - Why is Bush in Africa?

    from the transcript of a talk bush gave today on his trip

    Last Thursday Laura and I returned from a six-day visit to Africa. It happened to be her fifth visit, and my second. Without a doubt, this was the most exciting, exhilarating, uplifting trip I've taken since I've been the President. It was an unbelievable experience. (Applause.)
    ...
    America is on a mission of mercy. We're treating African leaders as equal partners. We expect them to produce measurable results. We expect them to fight corruption, and invest in the health and education of their people, and pursue market-based economic policies. This mission serves our security interests -- people who live in chaos and despair are more likely to fall under the sway of violent ideologies. This mission serves our moral interests -- we're all children of God, and having the power to save lives comes with the obligation to use it.

    This mission rarely makes headlines in the United States. But when you go to Africa, it is a visible part of daily life -- and there's no doubt that our mission is succeeding. You see it when you hold a baby that would have died of malaria without America's support. You see it when you look into the eyes of an AIDS patient who has been brought back to life. You see it in the quiet pride of a child going to school for the first time. And you see that turning away from this life-changing work would be a cause for shame.
    ...
    Americans should feel proud, mighty proud, of the work we're doing in Africa. At every stop, I told people that the source of all these efforts is the generosity of the American people. We are a nation of compassionate and good-hearted folks. We recognize the extraordinary potential of Africa. In schoolchildren waving flags on dusty roadsides, to nurses caring for their patients at busy clinics, to artisans selling their products in scorching heat, we saw people who have been given great challenges -- and responded to them with clear eyes and big hearts.

    In Rwanda, a school teacher was discussing the fight to eradicate malaria and AIDS with her class. And she explained her attitude this way: "It can happen here." With those words, she summed up the new spirit of Africa: confident and determined and strong.

    This is a spirit worthy of America's support. It is more powerful than any partisan quarrels here in our nation's capital. And having given our word, we must not turn back now. Congress needs to make America's commitment clear by fully and promptly funding our development programs. And presidential candidates of both parties should make clear that engagement with Africa will be an enduring priority of the United States. (Applause.)

    sounds like they're following the script from the original scramble

    Posted by: b real | Feb 26, 2008 2:31:57 PM | 20

    reading thru a usmc doc put out earlier this year known as "the long war brief". html version here; pdf avail thru the small wars site.

    in the forward, usmc commandant gen conway starts it off w/

    Marines,

    Our Marine Corps is fully engaged in a generational struggle against fanatical extremists; the challenges we face are of global scale and scope. This is a multi-faceted Long War, and it will not be won by one battle, in one country, or by one method. As the demands of combat operations in Iraq diminish, our Corps will continue to face adversaries that threaten our national interests and oppose our way of life.

    haven't read thru the entire doc yet, but it basically is stating that the marine corps are going to be heavily involved in nation-building.

    The Marine Corps has faced these kinds of opponents before. From the Philippine Insurrection and the numerous small wars in Central America, to the counterinsurgency challenges of the Vietnam War, we have cataloged extensive lessons based on experience fighting irregular opponents. Major conventional combat operations such as those experienced during World War I, World War II, Korea, specific battles in Vietnam, and Operation Desert Storm are currently more the exception than the rule. As such, the Marine Corps must continue to be a balanced, general purpose force, capable of operating at the lower end of the operational spectrum, while retaining the agility to rapidly shift across the full range of military operations and be simultaneously successful at the high end of the spectrum.

    that spectrum is outlined as:

    Continuum of Military Operations

  • Phase 0: Shape the Environment. This phase involves those joint, interagency and multinational activities conducted on an ongoing, routine basis to assure or solidify friendly relationships and alliances and/or deter potential adversaries.

  • Phase 1: Deter the Enemy. This phase focuses on deterring specific opponents by demonstrating the capability and resolve to apply force in pursuit of U.S. interests. These actions will likely build upon Phase 0 activities and may include a show of force or initiatives that would facilitate deployment, employment, and sustainment of additional forces within the region.

  • Phase 2: Seize the Initiative. Hostilities commence during this phase. Combat power is applied to delay, impede, halt, or dislodge the adversary as well as to gain access to theater infrastructure and enhance friendly freedom of action. Concurrently, assistance is provided to relieve conditions that precipitated the crisis in order to promote stability.

  • Phase 3: Dominate the Enemy. The focus during this phase is on the exploitation, pursuit, and destruction of the enemy in order to break the opponent’s will for organized resistance. Stability operations will also be conducted as needed to facilitate transition to the next phase.

  • Phase 4: Stabilize the Environment. The priority during this phase will be on stability operations, the reconstitution of infrastructure, and the restoration of services. This phase concludes with the transfer of regional authority to a legitimate civil entity.

  • Phase 5: Enable Civil Authority. Legitimate civil authorities are enabled in their efforts to provide essential services to the populace. These activities include required coordination activities by U.S. military forces with multinational, interagency, and non-governmental organizations while promoting a favorable attitude among the populace toward U.S. and host nation objectives.
  • emphasis added by me in that last phase to draw attention to the important bit there. later in the doc, it states

    Marine Corps will likely have a prominent role in seeking to mitigate the instability that could impact our national interests. The best way to militarily address these drivers of instability and their effects is to mitigate the underlying conditions that make them possible. This critical segment of the struggle for influence is executed through the shaping and the enabling of civil authority/governance phases of operations.

    from a "Pre-Decisional Draft Working Papers" powerpoint presentation on the "Long War Concept", one can read that these drivers are identified as follows:

    Future global threat environment will be characterized by the following drivers of instability:

  • Terrorism / Irregular Warfare
  • Ideological / Religious Extremism
  • Poorly / ungoverned spaces
  • Globalization
  • Economics / Poverty / Health Crisis
  • Rise of China / India
  • Natural Resource Competition (water, energy, etc.)
  • Science & Technology competition / advancements
  • Changing Demographics (“youth bulge”, aging populations, etc.)
  • Environmental Factors (climate change, natural disasters, etc.)
  • Crime
  • the long war brief doc contains the exact same list w/ the exclusion of "Rise of China / India", which didn't make it past the draft stage apparently, at least as part of a "Midrange Threat Estimate".

    currently, the marine corps is geared toward phases 2-4 and the focus of new changes w/i the usmc is to realign their training toward phases 1 & 5.

    in that regard,

    ..the demands of the Long War require the introduction of a new capability provider — the SC MAGTF [Security Cooperation Marine Air-Ground Task Force].
    ...
    The SC MAGTF will be tasked with building partner nation security capacity and supporting partner nation security efforts in a specific regional area.

    from the powerpoint presentation,

    The Long War plan provides for a deployment rotation based on 27 active component infantry battalions with 9 deployed and 18 at home. Of these 9 battalions, 3 will be on UDP [Unit Deployment Program] to PACOM, 3 will be afloat with a MEU [Marine expeditionary unit], and 3 will be performing as SC MAGTF in CENTCOM, AFRICOM, and SOUTHCOM.

    the long war brief doc contains a vignette that leads off w/

    The year is 2010. Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan have stabilized to a steady state wherein the force commitments are reduced and combat advisors conduct routine capacity building missions in support of indigenous military forces. However, Africa has continued to experience steady economic decline with crushing poverty, government corruption, epidemic level medical emergencies, and ethnic conflict creating conditions that threaten US interests and regional security. The US Government has taken the lead for the international community in an effort to bring the continent out of this state of continuous crisis. The Marine Corps, as our Nation’s Force in Readiness, is poised to address the security aspects of these challenges.

    and concludes w/

    This vignette has shown how a Marine infantry battalion with supporting aviation and logistics assets might be employed in the future across a full range of military operations. Within less than 5 days, the Marines of 1st Battalion 2nd Marines have gone from conducting capacity building, humanitarian assistance, foreign internal defense, and counterterrorism spread across several thousand miles of African territory, to a coalesced infantry battalion ready for high intensity combat operations. This vignette has shown how the use of naval sea-basing, pre-positioned equipment, and strategic distributed operations might be employed in a manner that establishes favorable security conditions, secures strategic access, and strengthens existing and emerging alliances and partnerships in an uncertain world.

    again, in five days the marines go from capacity-building to infantry operations on the second-largest continent on the planet.

    africans - do not let these people into your homes

    Posted by: b real | Mar 8, 2008 1:42:42 AM | 21

    isenberg's dogs of war column @ UPI

    Back to Africa

    WASHINGTON, May 30 (UPI) -- Where does the future lie for the private military industry? Those who watch the industry closely have noted it tends to migrate periodically. In the beginning, mirroring human evolution, the industry emerged in Africa.

    The progenitor for many of today's private security firms was the South Africa-based Executive Outcomes, which fought in Angola and Sierra Leone. (Incidentally, those truly interested in what this legendary firm did and how it worked should read the book published last year, "Executive Outcomes: Against All Odds," by its founder, Eben Barlow.)

    After that, companies like U.S.-based Military Professional Resources Inc. worked in the Balkans, first for Croatia and then for Bosnia. And after that came Iraq, the mother of all private military contracting opportunities.

    But someday, regardless of who wins the presidential election in November, even Iraq is going to draw to a close.
    ...
    ..where will private military firms look for new contracts? Most likely they will return to their point of origin, Africa. In fact, some are already there.

    Pacific Architects and Engineering, now owned by Lockheed Martin and DynCorp, has been working under a U.S. contract since November 2004 to provide logistical support to Africans engaged in peacekeeping in Darfur, Sudan.

    DynCorp also provides logistical support and training for peacekeepers in Liberia and Somalia.

    Together these AFRICAP contracts have a ceiling of approximately $500 million, or $1 billion total. In February the State Department sent out a notice that it was looking to re-complete the contracts.

    Both DynCorp and PAE also work together in the Security Sector Reform program in Liberia, also funded by the State Department. DynCorp has been contracted to provide basic facilities and basic training for the Armed Forces of Liberia, while PAE won the contract for building some bases, forming and structuring the AFL and its component units, and for providing specialized and advanced training, including mentoring the AFL's fledgling officer and non-commissioned officer corps. DynCorp's job is essentially to "recruit and make soldiers," while PAE is employed to "mentor and develop" them into a fully operational force.
    ...
    A ... serious concern was noted by the U.S. Army's Strategic Studies Institute. In a study released in March, the institute concluded that "the image of DynCorp creating an armed elite is disconcerting to many Liberians."

    In the 1980s, the study notes, the United States spent $500 million to train and equip the army of Liberian President Samuel Doe. "Every armed group that plundered Liberia over the past 25 years had its core in these U.S.-trained AFL soldiers. There is thus a fear that when the United States withdraws support for its SSR Program and funding for the AFL, Liberia will be sitting on a time bomb; a well-trained and armed force of elite soldiers who are used to good pay and conditions of service, which may be impossible for the government of Liberia to sustain on its own."

    MPRI has also provided training for the militaries of Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal under the State Department's African Contingency Operations and Assistance Program, (formerly the African Crisis Response Initiative), and separately provided training and analysis to the South African military.

    Northrop Grumman also operates under a $75 million contract to support the ACOAP program, which aims to train 40,000 African peacekeepers over five years.

    KBR provides services to at least three bases in Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia used by the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.

    And former Blackwater USA Vice Chairman J. Cofer Black made headlines back in 2006 when he advocated the use of private military companies to assist in providing peacekeeping services in Africa. Black said Blackwater could have a small, nimble, brigade-size force ready to move into a troubled region, like Sudan, on short notice.

    The establishment of the U.S. military's latest regional command, the new Africa Command, has also played a role in opening up the market. Private contractors have been seen as an integral part of AFRICOM since its inception. This is not surprising, considering that in October 2003 James Jay Carafano and Nile Gardiner, both from the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, proposed to the Bush administration the creation of a centralized Africa command for the U.S. military. Their proposal made clear that the objective was to preserve U.S. access to African oil and other natural resources on the continent. The Heritage report also points to the strategic importance of Africa in the global "war on terror."

    A study published in spring 2007 by the Industrial College of the Armed Forces noted that "Africa may do for the (private military) industry in the next 20 years what Iraq has done in the past four, provide a significant growth engine."

    Posted by: b real | May 31, 2008 12:13:44 AM | 22

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