Talks are underway to add a special-purpose Marine air-ground task force to U.S. Africa Command, a move that would center on expanding efforts to train African militaries, officials say.

Seabasing exercises have been ongoing for some time with the African Partnership Station, and other Naval exercises around the coasts of Africa.

Marine air ground task force, MAGTF, and seabasing (click to enlarge enough to read text)

The graphic above is from a Marine Corps information page on Seabasing. It offers more information, text, graphics, and videos. As the title states, the reason for seabasing is to overcome access challenges, such as not being welcome in the countries the MAGTF wishes to access. You will not find much about training partners in these documents.
– Enabling Joint Operations & Overcoming Access Challenges

From the Marine Corps Times Corps weighs merits of Africa task force

MAGTFs are quick-reaction units that range in size. The smallest comprise only a handful of troops, while the largest include thousands. Media reports published in December suggest as many as 1,000 Marines could be stationed in Europe as part of an AfriCom MAGTF, though neither the Marine Corps nor AfriCom would confirm how large this task force could be.

And both entities were careful when speculating about future basing options, saying only that prospective locations are being studied and that Europe, with its established infrastructure and proximity to Africa, is a logical contender. Locating a MAGTF on the African continent is not an option, officials said, even though Marines already deploy to Camp Lemonier, a joint expeditionary base in Djibouti, just north of Somalia.

It’s phenomenally diplomatically sensitive when you start talking about stationing troops in Africa,” said Vince Crawley, a spokesman for AfriCom.

Marines already conduct regular bi-national training with a number of African nations, including Egypt, Kenya, Benin and Senegal. The size and makeup of these training teams varies from mission to mission. Marines are requested based on the skills needed to complete the task at hand, be it air-support training or instruction on urban combat tactics.

Having Marines assigned to Africa for longer periods of time could give them more time to conduct Africa-specific cultural training, making those exercises more effective and resulting in stronger ties with partner nations, Fontana said.

AfriCom was created when the Horn of Africa gained greater focus as the U.S. increased efforts to disrupt suspected terrorist activities in countries with unstable governments. A permanent Marine task force also could prove valuable to counter-terrorism efforts throughout the region.

Keep in mind that counter terrorism is just another expression of terrorism.

Although the article above keeps mentioning military training, as if that is a benign activity in the circumstances, MAGTFs do not usually emphasize training. From an earlier article:

AFRICOM could add Marine Air Ground Task Force
Analysts say such a force could worry African leaders

It certainly should worry African leaders. And it should most certainly be diplomatically sensitive. It should set off alarms all over the continent.

A 1,000-strong Marine combat task force capable of rapidly deploying to hot spots could soon be at the disposal of the new U.S. Africa Command, which up to now has stressed training partnerships and security cooperation to wary African governments suspicious of U.S. military intentions on the continent.

But the Marine Corps Web site mentions very little about training when talking about the capabilities of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or MAGTF.

MAGTF’s are readily available, self-sustaining, combined arms warfighting organizations,” the Marines’ Web site explains, noting among other things that such task forces are equipped to move forces into crisis areas without revealing their exact destination or intentions and project combat power at night and under adverse weather.

These are warfighting units designed to project US power and defend US interests.

Who would need to give permission for these strike forces to strike? What would constitute a legal and appropriate use of these forces? Suppose the US government, or US based corporations do not like the policies of a certain African government? Would that government be subject to attack? Or suppose the US government or US based corporations are very happy with a particular government but that government is highly unpopular with its own people. Will the US strike against the opposition? Would it strike against political demonstrations? What would make such a strike legitimate? I can’t think of any good answers to these questions, but they must be answered, and in fact will be answered, in deed and by default, if not in diplomacy. The message the US is sending is that it is entitled to take what it wants, wherever it wants, by force. This is the basic message of colonialism.


h/t africa comments