Washington seeks permanent deployment of special forces brigade to Africa
16 April 2018
Republican Senator James Inhofe of the Senate Armed Services Committee last week sent a letter to Secretary of the Army Mark Esper outlining a proposal that would constitute an increase in troop levels deployed under AFRICOM, as well as broadening the American military’s footprint across Africa.
In his letter, Inhofe requested the Army secretary give his views regarding the assignment to AFRICOM of one of the six new Security Forces Assistant Brigades (SFAB). The special brigade, if deployed, would provide an additional 500 troops on a permanent basis for AFRICOM.
Inhofe wrote, “As you know, AFRICOM does not have any assigned forces, but must compete for allocated forces within the Department of Defense’s global force management process. The Army has allocated a Brigade Combat Team (BCT) to AFRICOM in the recent past as part of the Regionally Aligned Forces (RAF) program. These operations were a success for our African nation partners and built strategic partnerships for the United States. However, they also negatively affected the allocated BCT’s readiness, especially for core missions such as full spectrum combat operations.”
The SFAB were officially introduced last year with the first of six brigades activated. According to the Pentagon, the new units were “created in order to train, advise, assist, enable and accompany host nation conventional forces in infantry, armor, cavalry, engineer, artillery and combined arms warfare.”
According to the US Army website, the Pentagon envisions the SFAB as “specifically built to achieve the Army’s vision of enabling combatant commanders to carry out theater security objectives through partnered and allied…