More Budget Cuts

| April 28, 2021

As you probably already know, budget cuts are well underway, while “feelz-good” programs are taking the more prominent position. But until now, when did we send troops overseas to “commute to work”?

We have been sending US troops to Somalia for a while now, and nothing seems to have been resolved there,   https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2021/04/27/us-troops-now-commuting-to-work-to-help-somalia-fight-al-shabab/

From the article:  When President Donald Trump ordered roughly 700 U.S. troops to withdraw from Somalia late last year, it decreased the American footprint there, but not the mission to help that country’s military fight back against al-Shabab, al-Qaida’s largest affiliate.

Three months after the completed drawdown, senior U.S. Africa Command leaders say that they are essentially doing the same work, but “commuting” from Europe and other East African countries to get it done.

“There’s no denying that the repositioning of forces out of Somalia has introduced new layers of complexity and risk,” Army. Gen. Stephen Townsend, AFRICOM’s boss, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday. “… our understanding of what’s happening in Somalia is less now than it was when we were there on the ground, physically located with our partners. So we’re working to make this new mode of operation work.”

Al-Shabab continues to carry out attacks around Somalia, including in capital city Mogadishu.

And “they do desire to do harm to the U.S. homeland,” Marine Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Thresher, AFRICOM’s senior enlisted leader, told Military Times on Friday.

Containing them is AFRICOM’s top priority, and that’s accomplished by sending special operations forces to train, advise and assist local troops in the group’s Somalia home base. – article

Didn’t I say a week ago that there is no real reason for us to be there at all?

Category: Foreign Policy, Somalia

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Devtun

Marine Command Sgt Major?

SteeleyI

More appropriately, he is a Marine Sgt Maj serving as the CENTCOM Senior Enlisted Advisor. An Army E-9 in the same position would be referred to as Command Sergeant Major.

I noticed the Navy now has Fleet and Force Master Chiefs in similar positions… not sure when that started.

MustangCryppie

Fleet and Force Master Chiefs were around in 1980 when I joined up. And I’m pretty sure they didn’t start the programs cause this Ricky Recruit entered boot camp at Great Mistakes, IL. 😉

SteeleyI

I know we had the positions, but I didn’t know they had a distinct rank (or is it rate?)- always thought it was simply Command Master Chief…

So, an Army CSM may be referred to as battalion, brigade, division, corps CSM, but they are still a CSM.

During my Joint time circa 2003 our SEA was a SEAL, but he was referred to as Master Chief.

penguinman000

2nd cousin to the captain corporal.

steeleyI

Actually, I believe it was Corporal Captain O’Reilly…

timactual

I wonder if the President knew that even after he ordered the troops to withdraw they would still be there.

SteeleyI

President Trump?

Well, as Townsend says in this article, he was told to withdraw troops from Somalia but still “…continue to work with partners to improve the ability of their security services…” and ” We defeat terrorist organizations and others who threaten U.S. citizens and the homeland” in Africa.

Sort of a disconnect between the regional strategy and operational design, as they say.

President Biden? I am really interested to see what he says about national security tonight as well as what he lays out in his National Security Strategy here in a few months.

SteeleyI

The phrase ‘commute to work’ in this context is a tongue-in-cheek joke describing the fact that we are not constantly occupying the area of responsibility or area of operations. I first heard it used in Iraq, when Petraeus, McMasters, and others started moving troops off the FOBs and into combat outposts among the population. The basic idea is successful counterinsurgency operations require you to understand the operational environment and the atmospherics of the populace. You can’t do that if you are ‘commuting to work’, i.e. living fat, dumb, and happy on a FOB and just going out on patrol during the day. In this case, it means that since President Trump withdrew our permanent presence in Somalia, our SF guys have to rotate in and out for specific missions- they don’t live there, so they ‘commute to work’. This is, of course, kind of the opposite of what SF should be doing. Why are we in Somalia in the first place? ‘Cuz that’s our current strategy. To quote President Trump in his 2017 National Security Strategy, “[In Africa]We will continue to work with partners to improve the ability of their security services to counter terrorism, human trafficking, and the illegal trade in arms and natural resources. We will work with partners to defeat terrorist organizations and others who threaten U.S. citizens and the homeland.” In the article cited here GEN Townsend and Sgt Maj Thresher (cool name, by the way) lay out that Al Shabab is carrying out attacks in… Read more »

Anonymous

“The night belongs to Charlie” because we (or the ARVNs) were only there during the day, too.

Devtun

OT, Apollo 11 astronaut, Maj Gen Michael Collins, has passed away. He was 90.

https://www.foxnews.com/science/apollo-11-astronaut-michael-collins-dead-at-90

SFC D

Nothing in Somalia that can’t be fixed with a liberal application of napalm.

borderbill

—-let it cool (not too much) then pave it.

KoB

Turn the whole place into a sea of glass. Might make a good solar collector for the New Green Energy Program.

Slow Joe

So, President Trumpminator ordered to disengage, but the wise Generals disobeyed his orders and remained engaged in country.

I wonder if the same Generals will dare disobey President Bidenated. There are consequences from disobeying Democrat orders, but no consequences whatsoever from disobeying orders from a Republican President.

This is our base reality.

SteeleyI

No, Trump ordered AFRICOM to withdraw troops from Somalia but also directed AFRICOM to fight terrorists and build partner capacity there.

5JC

“…our understanding of what’s happening in Somalia is less now than it was when we were there on the ground, physically located with our partners.”

And we care why?

SteeleyI

The issue here is that there is a disconnect between the political will to have ‘boots on the ground’ in a given country and the objectives laid out in our various national security documents. Trump wanted to withdraw from these countries, but maintained the requirement for AFRICOM to build partner capacity and defeat terrorist networks in places like Somalia.

So, we do it on the cheap and by playing games with numbers. No, there are no troops stationed in Somalia, but we have SF and even National Guard units rotating in and out regularly.

This is also a ‘color of money’ game. Most peacetime SOF and RC deployments are actually training exercises, paid for out of Title 10 money and not Title 50 or OCO dollars:

You deploy an SF ODA to Halfassistan on an exercise to develop their wartime skills to train indigenous forces. Or, you deploy a National Guard Engineer company to Asscrackia to train on their wartime mission of building bridges.

Poetrooper

Okay, what have you done with the real SteeleyI, the one who always comes on here and condescendingly lectures the troops?

This non-confrontational, interesting and explanatory sharing of obviously extensive military experience is not what we’ve come to expect from the real SteeleyI.

So just who the hell are you?😜😜😜

SteeleyI

OK, the big reveal. I am COL Sam Flagg. Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don’t know what it is. I keep myself in a constant state of utter confusion.

Poetrooper

Oh, Lord no! Not another M.A.S.H. doppelgänger!

Ol’ Poe has long suspected that our resident Berkley malcontent is really a new iteration of Corporal Klinger although some of his more hysterical comments might lead one to believe he could be resurrecting the Hot Lips Houlihan persona…🤪

Poetrooper

“Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don’t know what it is.”

Don’t have that problems with your opinions though, do we?😁