The U.S. Marine Corps has added its contingent (Marine Corps Forces
Africa) to the new AFRICOM (Africa Command), that was created last year.
AFRICOM is similar in organization to other commands (Central, for the Middle
East, and South, for Latin America, etc). AFRICOM will coordinate all American
military operations in Africa. Before, those operations were coordinated
between two commands (the one covering Europe and the one covering Latin
America). The establishment of AFRICOM means more money for counter-terror operations
in Africa, and more long range projects.
ago, the marines assigned a force of 2,500 specially trained troops to SOCOM
(Special Operations Command.) Bowing to pressure from the Department of
Defense, and SOCOM, the marines were the last of the services to make such a
contribution. Created in 1987, SOCOM gained control over army Special Forces
(including Civil Affairs, Psychological Warfare and special helicopter units),
navy SEALs and air force commandoes and special aviation units. But the marines
said they had nothing to offer.
Part of the
marine SOCOM force consists of 400 marines trained to provide military
instruction for foreign armed forces. This has long been a Special Forces
chore, and will still be. But the addition of marine training troops will take
some of the pressure off Special Forces to provide this service. These marines will be called on by AFRICOM to
train troops in African nations. The marines have already been doing this at
the behest of SOUTHCOM and EURCOM, which had previously handled such matters in
Africa. The rest of the marines in SOCOM are commando and other special
currently based in the U.S. and Germany. A support complex is located near
SOUTHCOM headquarters, outside Miami, Florida. AFRICOM headquarters are
currently located outside Stuttgart, Germany, where it will remain until a home
can be found in an African country.
most African nations do want from AFRICOM are military and counter-terrorism
trainers. The problem with this is that, the people so trained are often then
employed as enforcers for the local dictator. Even providing training for peacekeepers
can backfire, for those peacekeeping skills can also be used to pacify your own
people. The marines have a good reputation in Africa for training local troops,
no matter how they end up using their new skills.