0903 GMT February 15, 2019
The 2018 briefing by the US African Command (AFRICOM)’s science adviser Peter E. Teil, titled Strategic Posture, was exposed by The Intercept in early December. The news website obtained the documents via the Freedom of Information Act.
The documents, the report said, offer “a unique window onto the sprawling network of US military outposts in Africa, including previously undisclosed or unconfirmed sites in hotspots like Libya, Niger, and Somalia.”
In the briefing, Teil presented a map of the US military’s constellation of the bases, which names 14 forward operating sites (FOSes) and cooperative security locations (CSLs) besides providing country-specific locales for 20 contingency locations, Presstv Reported.
The website quoted Adam Moore, an assistant professor of geography at the University of California, as saying that the positioning of the bases suggested that the US military presence had been organized around three theaters throughout the continent.
“The Horn of Africa — Somalia, Djibouti, Kenya; Libya; and the Sahel — Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso,” said Moore, adding that the US only maintained one base in the south.
“It is getting harder for the US military to plausibly claim that it has a ‘light footprint’ in Africa. In just the past five years, it has established what is perhaps the largest drone complex in the world in Djibouti — Chabelley — which is involved in wars on two continents, Yemen, and Somalia,” Moore said.
The expert also noted that the US was building an even larger drone base in the city of Agadez in central Niger.
Earlier in the year, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, the AFRICOM commander, told the House Armed Services Committee, “US Africa Command’s posture plan is designed to secure strategic access to key locations on a continent characterized by vast distances and limited infrastructure.”
“Our posture network allows forward staging of forces to provide operational flexibility and timely response,” he added.