The U.S. and Africa: A Misalignment of Security Interests

Members Only Subscribe to read the full article

A large portion of what U.S. special operations forces do in Africa is security force assistance – training, advising and equipping partner militaries – rather than putting large numbers of U.S. boots on the ground. What are America’s aims with this strategy, and is it effective? The Cipher Brief’s Kaitlin Lavinder talked about this and America’s national security interests in Africa with Stephen Biddle, a professor at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs, who recently co-authored a paper on U.S. security force assistanceSmall footprint, small payoff: The military effectiveness of security force assistance.”

The Cipher Brief: In your recent Journal of Strategic Studies paper you talk about the limits of security force assistance (SFA), especially due to small deployments. You have also said much of what U.S. special operations forces do in Africa is such assistance. What does “most” mean – is there a certain percentage of U.S. special operations forces that does this sort of work in Africa? And what are its specific limitations in Africa?

The Cipher Brief has become the most popular outlet for former intelligence officers; no media outlet is even a close second to The Cipher Brief in terms of the number of articles published by formers.” —Sept. 2018, Studies in Intelligence, Vol. 62

Access all of The Cipher Brief‘s national security-focused expert insight by becoming a Cipher Brief Subscriber+Member.

Continue Reading

Get access to all our briefs

Sign up Today