The Pentagon's Vital African Mission

The Pentagon's Vital African Mission by James Inhofe – Wall Street Journal

It will take many weeks to resolve the unanswered questions about the loss of four American soldiers in Niger. But having studied U.S.-Africa policy, I think one thing is abundantly clear: Our military engagements in Africa, while dangerous, are critical to national security.

I’ll always remember speaking with the president of Niger shortly after 9/11, when he warned me about the extremism spreading across the continent. After meeting with the president of Uganda a few years later, I saw the brutality of the Lord’s Resistance Army long before splashy advocacy campaigns made Joseph Kony a household name. The U.S. military has aided regional forces in hunting the LRA, but Africa still has many more violent extremist groups, which makes American partnership critical.

In 2007 the Pentagon created the U.S. Africa Command, better known as Africom. Its mission: to train and assist regional partners so that they will be capable of handling security threats before they become global crises. The worst possible scenario would be for multiple African countries to turn into failed states, giving terrorists a place to take root, as they did in Afghanistan before 2001…

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