Contractors’ Next Payday: Commando Logistics for Africa Shadow Wars
Here’s how serious the U.S. is about its African war on terror. The Pentagon is preparing to spend millions to create a privatized flying taxi service to fly its commandos everywhere from Libya to Congo.
That’s according to details in a recent solicitation notice for a Defense Department contract worth up to $50 million, expected to be handed over to a private contracting firm in August. Among the two main tasks contractors will be expected to carry out: medical evacuations during “high risk activities” — capable of being launched within a three-hour notice — as well as transporting equipment and commandos from Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara (or JSOTF-TS) within the borders of potentially 20 African nations. When you want to keep a U.S. military footprint small, you have to contract out a lot of logistics services.
Based at a secretive military airfield in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, the contractors will be tasked with missions across central and northern Africa, with the most likely destinations being Chad, Libya, Mali, Mauritania and other countries including Algeria, Cameroon and Nigeria. Less likely, but within the contractor’s “primary operating areas,” are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Sudan and Uganda — all suspected to be likely hiding spots for warlord Joseph Kony.
There’s no shortage of targets. Asisde from Kony to the east, Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb operates just to the north. Drug traffickers are everywhere. In Nigeria, there’s Islamic terror group Boko Haram. Both have fallen under AFRICOM’s hit list.