By Scott Beauchamp
Hawks such as Sen. John McCain and commentators such as former New York Times columnist Bill Keller and Wall Street Journal editor Bret Stephens fret about America’s growing isolationism and the potential for a de-Americanized world, in which the absence of our stabilizing presence leads to chaos.
If you share their fears, rest assured: The U.S. military isn’t retreating to our shores. It’s already deeply entrenched in a global archipelago of virtually countless bases in at least 38 countries (PDF) around the world. And that’s just troops and bases, to say nothing of the tertiary influence of arms sales.
One of the more interesting recent encroachments of our military, which has received only intermittent attention, is the growth of our troop presence in Africa. Nominally, the United States has just one active military base in Africa. Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti serves as the headquarters of Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa and acts as the launch pad for drone strikes in the region.
Read more at Al Jazeera America
Note: The PDF file cited in the article was from 2009. Here is the 2013 DoD Baseline Report and a few excerpts, though most are in the Middle East in the official report:
The Base Structure Report (BSR) – FY 2013 Baseline is a snapshot of real property data collected as of September 30, 2012, and serves as the baseline for the start of the next fiscal year. This report has become a very popular item for many diverse users and we have tried to adjust the data displays to reflect the most common information regularly requested from DoD. The data presented here is a consolidated summary of the Military Departments’ native real property inventory (RPI) data submitted annually in accordance with DoD Instruction 4165.14, “Real Property Inventory and Forecasting”, to support the requirements of title 10, U.S. Code, section2721, “Real Property Records.” This consolidated database, known as the Real Property Assets Database (RPAD), is the source used for many DoD RPI reporting requirements throughout the year.
As one of the Federal government’s larger holders of real estate, the DoD manages a global real property portfolio that consists of more than 557,000 facilities (buildings, structures, and linear structures), located on over 5,000 sites worldwide and covering over 27.7 million acres. While the BSR is not intended to answer every single question about DoD’s real portfolio, it should provide most readers with accurate background information about the vast majority of issues regarding DoD’s real property infrastructure.
National Guard State Partnership Program
The State Partnership Program is a key U.S. security cooperation tool that facilitates cooperation across all aspects of international civil-military affairs and encourages people-to-people ties at the state level.
It directly supports DOD objectives and theater campaign plans by building relationships that enhance global security, understanding and cooperation.
There are currently ten State Partnerships between the United States and Africa: California is partnered with Nigeria; New York and South Africa; North Carolina and Botswana; the North Dakota Guard is partnered with three countries, Ghana, Togo and Benin; Michigan and Liberia; Utah and Morocco; Vermont and Senegal; Wyoming and Tunisia.
Piracy incidents off the Horn of Africa’s east coast near Somalia have declined sharply since 2010, but U.S. agencies have not assessed their counterpiracy efforts as GAO recommended in 2010. Since 2010, the International Maritime Bureau (IMB) reports piracy incidents declined from 219 to 15 in 2013. Similarly, from 2010 to 2013 hostages taken by pirates declined from 1,016 to 34. Also, a World Bank report stated that total ransoms declined by 2012. Officials participating in counterpiracy activities from the Departments of Defense and State, among others, as well as shipping industry officials and international partners, attribute the decline to a combination of prevention, disruption, and prosecution activities. However, officials cautioned that this progress is tenuous, and discontinuing these efforts could allow piracy to resurge. Despite changing conditions, U.S. agencies have not systematically assessed the costs and benefits of their counterpiracy efforts. Agency officials stated that their decisions and actions are guided by discussions rather than formal assessments. GAO has previously noted that assessments of risk and effectiveness in an interagency environment can strengthen strategies and resource usage. As such, GAO’s prior recommendations remain valid and could help U.S. agencies identify the most cost effective mix of efforts and prioritize activities as they respond to changing conditions and fiscal pressures while avoiding a resurgence in piracy.
This is an older report but an added interest when read due to the mostly unsaid developing interest of China and the US more or less….. colliding.
What GAO Found
The United States and China have emphasized different policies and approaches for their engagement with sub-Saharan Africa. U.S. goals have included strengthening democratic institutions, supporting human rights, using development assistance to improve health and education, and helping sub-Saharan African countries build global trade. The Chinese government, in contrast, has stated the goal of establishing closer ties with African countries by seeking mutual benefit for China and African nations and by following a policy of noninterference in countries’ domestic affairs.
Both the United States and China have seen sharp growth in trade with sub-Saharan Africa over the past decade, with China’s total trade in goods increasing faster and surpassing U.S. trade in 2009. Petroleum imports constitute the majority of U.S. and Chinese imports from sub-Saharan Africa, with China also importing a large amount of other natural resources. China’s exports of goods to the region have grown and far exceed U.S. exports of goods. Information on other key aspects of China’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa is limited in some cases, since China does not publish comprehensive data on its foreign assistance or government-sponsored loans to the region. Data-collection efforts focused on specific countries, as GAO’s case-study analysis shows, can provide further insights but do not fully eliminate these information gaps.
Why GAO Did This Study
Since 2001, China has rapidly increased its economic engagement with sub-Saharan African countries. The United States has increased aid to sub-Saharan Africa and in 2010 provided more than a quarter of all U.S. international economic assistance to the region. According to some observers, China’s foreign assistance and investments in Africa have been driven in part by the desire for natural resources and stronger diplomatic relations. Some U.S. officials and other stakeholders also have questioned whether China’s activities affect U.S. interests in the region.
GAO was asked to review the nature of the United States’ and China’s engagement in sub-Saharan Africa. This report examines (1) goals and policies in sub-Saharan Africa; (2) trade, grants and loans, and investment activities in the region; and (3) engagement in three case-study countries–Angola, Ghana, and Kenya. GAO obtained information from, among others, 11 U.S. agencies, U.S. firms, and host-government officials. GAO was not able to meet with Chinese officials. GAO did not include U.S. and Chinese security engagement in the scope of this study.
All said and done the opinion doesn’t have a lot of traction and possibly the DoD’s investment in Africa isn’t as clear nor Defense contractors role in support in Africa. They have millions in contracts from both the DoD and the State department.