Military Spending Shows Where US Power Will Lead

Military Spending Shows Where US Power Will Lead

Defense Budget Maps US Influence

While the future of U.S. foreign policy and worldwide military involvement in the long-run may seem obscure and uncertain, if you know where and what to look for, you may be able to foresee the future as far as ten to twenty years ahead. Look no further than LOGCAP V, otherwise known as Logistics Civilian Augmentation Program-Phase 5, the U.S. government’s next multi-billion dollar contract award plan to get the military where it needs to go. If you follow these precursors, you can draw a pretty accurate picture of future U.S. involvement in the world. The way we look ahead is by figuring out where the federal government plans to spend the right amount of resources, then draw conclusions and perform analysis as to why.

Understanding how the government operates, what it’s long-term objectives are and how decisions are made requires a unique insight one only gets from having been inside the system itself. After multiple delays since 2018, the results of the fifth phase was finally announced in April 2019, to the tune of $82 billion over the next decade. The U.S. Army Sustainment Command, headquartered in Rock Island Armory, Illinois oversees the LOGCAP program and awarded 3 of the 7 contracts to longtime contracting partner KBRwyle. Their history goes back to the early days of Operation Desert Storm and their engagement peaked in 2003 at the dawn of Operation Iraqi Freedom during LOGCAP III. The latter program mobilized the largest civilian workforce into warzones in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Awarded to KBR as a no-bid, cost-plus contract from the Bush administration, it was said that KBR received the contract because it was the only company large enough to handle a project of such unprecedented magnitude. Many argued that Vice President Dick Cheney’s company received the contract exclusively due to his connection to the company as Chief Executive. At any rate, LOGCAP’s 4th phase brought about change. With the Obama administration now in office, increased government oversight and competition were introduced. This opened the platform for companies such as DynCorp, CACI, TITAN and Flour Daniels to get involved.

LOGCAP V contracts will be capped at $82 billion spanning 10 years, said Jerome Jastrab, project manager, Acquisition Integration & Management Center, ASC headquarters.”

On October 20, 2017, the U.S. Army Contracting Command announced their intention to issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the Logistics Civil Augmentation Program (LOGCAP V) logistical support services in support of the U.S. Military worldwide. The full list of services provided by LOGCAP V includes, but is not limited to:

  • Setting the Theater
  • Supply Operations
  • Transportation Services
  • Engineering Services
  • Base Camp Services
  • Other Logistics and Sustainment Support Services
  • Minor Construction
  • Food Services
  • Laundry
  • Morale
  • Welfare and Recreation Services
  • Billeting
  • Facility Management

The U.S. Government (USG) intends to award a minimum of four, and up to six, Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts to offerors whose proposals are determined to be the most beneficial to the Government. The LOGCAP V basic IDIQ contracts will consist of an initial five-year ordering period and options for five additional one-year ordering periods.

The estimated maximum dollar amount is $82,000,000,000.00 for all awards for the 10 year contract terms.

By way of context, the previous LOGCAP programs had the following “estimated maximum dollar amount[s]”:

  • LOGCAP I (1992): $815 million
  • LOGCAP II (1997): $42 million
  • LOGCAP III (2001): $38.5 billion
  • LOGCAP IV (2008):  $150 billion

So, while LOGCAP V is slated to be smaller than the LOGCAP IV, the estimated maximum amount awarded remains far more than what was awarded in LOGCAPs I – III combined. The current breakdown for the LOGCAP V award is as follows:

PAE-Parsons Global Logistics Services, LLC is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0047 and the following task orders.

– SOUTHCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $34,596,500.37

___________________________

Fluor Intercontinental, Inc. is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0046 and the following task orders.

– AFRICOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $137,222,537.90

___________________________

Vectrus Systems Corporation is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0045 and the following task orders.

– PACOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $349,187,574.26

– CENTCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $1,033,582,366.79

_____________________________

Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc. is one of the award recipients and is hereby awarded Basic Contract W52P1J-19-D-0044 and the following task orders.

– EUCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $183,304,831.67

– NORTHCOM Setting the Theater Task Order and associated Performance Task Order: $393,988,697.66

– Afghanistan Performance Task Order: $1,372,043,984.72

As predicted, companies who responded to the government’s Request For Proposal but did not receive an award began a protest, leading with contracting giant DynCorp, who filed the protest on the morning of April 25, 2019. It is unlikely that the proceedings will have any bearing on the outcome as the approval process goes through multiple phases and redundancies before a decision is reached. The projected transition date for LOGCAP V is September 2019.

The interesting allocation of funds to Afghanistan shows that the United States plans to maintain a presence there for at least another decade, even if only in an advisory role. While the Trump Administration has stated that the United States has no interest in fighting needless, long-term wars, the earmarking of $1.3 billion shows different plans to keep the region stable.

NORTHCOM and PACOM are support roles with similar budgets, asserting that they will have similar program life spans. EUROCOM is essentially a staging ground for the Middle East operations in order to push assets through Iraq, Afghanistan and until recently, Syria. In addition to this, a U.S. military presence also serves as a deterrent from Russian aggression toward Eastern Europe.

SOUTHCOM, which includes South America, is a curious bag, in that it received an inconspicuous $35 Million award designated to PAE-Parsons, a relatively new contractor whose strategic acquisition prior to the Request For Proposal allowed for this win. Since this is a Setting The Theater contract, it leads one to wonder how many bases and where are projected. A safe bet would be in Columbia near the Venezuelan border, possibly 2-3 small bases. The signals for military intervention in Venezuela are pretty clear, and this contract award solidifies it.

With ISIS nearly destroyed, the terrorist organization had no choice but to move outside the region. Flour Intercontinental received a sizable contract award for AFRICOM which is where most of the ISIS ‘fighters’ have fled. The $138 Million investment shows a solid level of U.S. commitment in the region for both humanitarian and military operations.

Given that these earmarks represent only a fraction of the $82B budget, there is good indication these Setting the Theater contracts will likely endure and transition into Operations & Maintenance contracts in the future.

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President Trump to Chase Down Resources in Africa to Combat the Spread of Chinese and Russian Influence

President Trump to Chase Down Resources in Africa to Combat the Spread of Chinese and Russian Influence

A Quick Look at Nigeria

Following the Trump administration’s release of its African strategy the inauguration of which the Nigerian president attended in Washington D.C., Nigeria continues to be a focus point for the US to compete with Chinese investments in Africa as well as Russia’s growing influence there. Despite Nigeria possessing over 34 occurrences of mineral and natural resources, less than 1 percent of GDP is collected in taxes by the Nigerian government.

Ranging from industrial materials, iron ore, tin-ore, limestone, coal, lead, zinc, columbite, marbles, bitumen and tar sand, Nigeria is one of the largest producers of columbite, 6th largest producer of Tin, 8th largest producer of crude oil and gas. The total arable land area in the country is about 31.3 percent of the total land. With a significant presence of nanotechnology, Nigeria is also attractive for tech and manufacturing. These are the attributes welcoming US companies in the emerging markets of Nigeria and surrounding countries on the African continent.

Oil boomed in Nigeria in the 1960s and 1970s and now constitutes about 21.9 percent of GDP. This industry remains the vital to the Nigerian economy which has stagnated in recent years with rising poverty levels due in part to internal corruption over successive governments which have also fallen under the influence of violent extremists like Boko Haram that find a rich recruiting ground among its Sunni majority Muslim population. Over the last 10 years, US AFRICOM has expanded defense operations in the region constituting currently a significant portion of the overall defense budget though these engagements have not received the necessary media coverage to inform the private sector of events that are now important to consider for business engagements throughout Africa.

As the threats become managed, Nigeria welcomes infrastructure and resource development. Despite its low level of human capital, the available workforce is thriving with technology in the so-called gig economy. However human health and medicine continue to limit productivity among the population. The recent introduction of malaria testing and treatment increased workers’ income by 10 percent.

The US company, Andela, employs about 20,000 software programmers across Africa with a goal of training and employing a quota of 100,000 programmers using free online training tools. With informality persisting in emerging markets and fusing with advanced industries, Nigeria offers a balance of opportunities that can be optimized here to benefit from both the fluidity that comes from informality that exist in the tech and retail world and structure that is required with regulatory practices such as within heavy construction and some banking and credit.

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Solutions Between Security, AID, and Development Problems

Solutions Between Security, AID, and Development Problems

[continued from International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace and Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts, and Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament]

The US recently increased defense spending by $87 billion to $716 billion for 2019. US Africa Command is currently witnessing its 10 year anniversary and supports about 1,000 personnel operating in the Sahel region alone supporting African-led and French assisted missions. This is a significant percentage of the total of number of uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors that work on any given day at 7,200 men and women.  US AFRICOM’s drone base is relocating from Niamey to the city of Agadez in Niger and is providing training and equipment to Nigerian Armed Forces under the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership. While enemy combatants in Niger are largely forces belonging to Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Greater Sahara, Chad is composed of mainly Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. The US AFRICOM mission in Chad includes logistics, sustainment, and maintenance with the Chadian Special Anti-Terrorism Group (SATG). In addition, the US military is also helping with intelligence, border surveillance and counter-IED capabilities according to a recent testimony before Congress.

While conflict areas in Africa remain high priorities for global security, local civilian populations in these areas will continue to demand AID. However, the current state of AID remains the subject of wide criticism for corruption. In an effort to address internal corruption within many AID programs, Congress is in the process of possibly rolling up some organizations. In addition to this, the US government and international community addressing the security and humanitarian crisis should institute a multilevel program that begins in AID provided at the crisis phase and ends in development finance upon reaching increasing levels of stability. Results should be measured at milestones and benchmarks along the way in order for local governments to be provided the opportunity to qualify and meet expectations for future development that require outside countries and the businesses to take risks. These milestones showing incremental progress along targeted benchmarks in stability and growth will drive the risk of development down and increase interest for private investment. Currently AID programs do not require local governments to set goals that can reached to show investors and risk assessors progress which could drastically affect credit and financing and offer collateral.

Further, no coordination exists between local governments, public private partnerships, private companies, and NGOs working in the same geographic areas with each investing resources in its own agenda irrespective of opportunities to pool resources, divide costs, and promote shared or common interests. This lack of coordination increases the overhead of each organization and can even create imbalances or introduce new problems between multiple institutional efforts. This coordination should be taking place across the continent as well, because opposing visions for the security and development of Africa are currently contributing to the instability of the region which has reached a global scale.

This can be seen currently in mass migration movements. While terrorism is shaping the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and West Africa, the other more stable Sub Saharan countries are undergoing large scale development but in such a way as to contribute to the security and humanitarian problems on the continent. Large scale land purchases in Tanzania, Guinea, Gobon, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, and Mozambique by foreign entities in Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and others for industrial farming has contributed towards continental deforestation, desertification, other ecological problems, as well as mass migration. Land purchases in order to carve large industrial farms have been recorded as lows as US$0.80/hectare/year in Ethiopia and $0.50 – $7.10 per hectare/year in other countries. These land conversions to industrial farms is also sending the majority of the continent’s food supply for export while requiring increasing quantities of food from AID programs to import food or cash injections to buy it.

The distribution of food needs to be reorganized with public and private sector cooperation regionally and internationally, because relatively few infrastructure projects are being built in compensation for these low values of land, and the creation of industrial farms has driven many of the local populations including local farmers into migration. The quantity of land purchased for industrial farms measures almost the size of the United States. Migrants pushed out of these lands show a high probability of inflating numbers to conflict areas where rebels recruit a steady stream of fresh fighters among migrants. With unemployment being one of the big drivers of migration, the lack of education and job training are secondary problems of employment to the issue of employable men being former combatants from violent extremists networks. NGOs working in disarmament and reeducation of former al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, or al-Shabaab servants discuss the difficulties of having such a large percentage of the workforce in a country or region being former combatants whom nobody wants.

African migrants who are also former combatants will continue to be a problem for African countries and foreign interests much the same way that Idlib is in Syria, but on a much larger scale. Idlib currently houses some 30,000 terrorists of differing nationalities ranging from European to Middle Eastern and Asian in which their country of origin will not accept their reentry.  Often disarmed former combatants are driven from their families and neighborhoods and employers do not want to hire former terrorists. Thus the placement of former al-Qaeda, IS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab or other violent extremist group will continue to limit the size of the region’s desirable work force and hinder the progress of security, law enforcement, and border protection. Thus, the manner in which large land purchases are made and development projects commence should target local populations for work and attract peaceful migrants to new jobs instead of continuing to displace workers that could potentially fuel rebel militias.

Development and foreign investment also needs to fuel the local economy and the local government’s ability to finance further infrastructure and industry development. Stable countries that are undergoing economic transformation should serve as a model for countries currently engaged in conflict. African countries should leverage the competition between foreign interests to maximize their development capacity and negotiate reciprocal engagements within public private partnerships and close loopholes that fuel corruption on multiple sides. With critical infrastructure needed in the US, Europe especially UK, Russia, and China as well as throughout Africa, the resource development of mining minerals, oil, and gas in African countries should be organized with the cross-development of infrastructure in both Africa and outside countries.

This would create a new development model for the continent that could reduce risk to foreign investment and head off further instability caused by imbalanced state agreements, loans, or one-sided business deals. In other words, the development of oil, gas, and mining industries in African countries should fuel infrastructure development in both the African country and foreign country investing in security and AID. This way, the African country receives security, AID, infrastructure, and industry development, and the foreign country receives raw materials needed for infrastructure development in its country. Private companies get the domestic and international business to build the infrastructure and develop industries. The cross-development of infrastructure between Africa the outside country would lower the risk factor for investment. This approach serves the peace and stability of the region and the global community.

Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament

Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament

Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament

[continued from International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace and Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts]

Regional conflicts including revolutions, civil wars in Libya, Chad, and Sudan have choreographed weapons flows in the Sahel and bred a subsequent gun culture among society surrounding personal defense and the protection of property. Attempts to absorb rebel or terrorist combatants into national armies and disarm combatants have produced mixed results leaving much of the region with a continuous high demand for personal weapons.

The first armed resistance movement to form in independent Chad followed the replacement of French soldiers with Chadians in 1965 who proved to be more abusive than the French. The customary authority in Chad known as the derde, Weddey Kihidemi, relocated to Libya in 1966 and recruited exiled dissidents founding the Front de libération nationale du Tchad (Frolinat) in Nyala, South Darfur and this movement was the birth of all subsequent rebel movements since. Eventually the Frolinat splintered into other groups until in 1997 the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT) evolved into the MDJT War that lasted from 1997 to 2011. The opposition movement was founded by about a dozen civilians and army officers from Tibesti in N’Djaména and consisted of 13 fighters equipped with five firearms. However, it was able to quickly recruit and gain assistance including financing, weapons, and recruits among the Teda living in Libya, Chad, and Nigeria where they had previously been excluded or marginalized. Over time, the Qaddafi regime in Libya grew from passive goodwill to logistical support and intelligence services to eventually after 2001 repression of the MDJT and other Libyan Teda.

Overcoming the MDJT for the Chadian government proved to be a gradual process of surrenders taking place from 2003-2011 with some ANT veterans arguing that their infiltration into the rebel movement proved to be more effective than pressure in the field. The weapons were collected during these years was soon made up for with the fall of the Qaddafi regime in 2011 that lead to a resupply of looted weapons from Libya’s arsenals to rebel movements between Libya, Chad, and Sudan that lasted until 2013.

Yet not all of the weapons supplies have come from Libya and Chad. Sudan’s Civil War from 1983 to 2005 and beyond has also contributed to the demand, availability, and use of weapons in the region. According to Case Study Number 7 of Operations Case Studies Series Disarmament in South Sudan by Cecily Brewer, Sudan was the first test case by the United Nations of an “integrated” civil-military approach to disarmament. Disarmament campaigns take up three phases usually following peace agreements including: disarm, demobilize, and reintegrate (DDR). Combatants are given the opportunity to give up their weapons and be placed in either centralized armies or jobs in local trade. In Sudan, this was introduced between 2005 and 2006, but the campaign faced organizational problems with the United Nations and local government, and struggled to bring about the funding into 2007 which by that time was too late.

The campaign was further compromised by internal disagreements. The cofounder of the Small Arms Survey, Robert Muggah, describes the institutional problems as “‘weaknesses in political leadership within and outside the United Nations, the absence of clear direction from headquarters, competing understandings of DDR among managers and practitioners, and confusion over financing mechanisms.’’ Additional disputes arose between the UN and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army which supported forced disarmament while the United Nations resolution authorized only the voluntary disarmament and destruction of weapons. According to the Sudanese experience, the killing of 500 provided an incentive for other combatants to surrender their weapons.

Other logistical nightmares such as problems with the terrain and travel in South Sudan made the expectations of the UN headquarters and home offices which demanded immediate or quick action unrealistic. In addition, the uneven execution of DDR contributed in some cases to rearmament of combatants. This has occurred in South Sudan with opposing forces were not disarmed at the same time; when those who have disarmed were not effectively defended; and when those who must be disarmed are also the only suppliers of food such as livestock or other essential goods. When the SPLA where sent to disarm northern Jonglei communities that supplied them with cattle, the Jonglei were able to starve members of SPLA forces who subsisted on the cattle. According the case study, when one UN official was asked about equal and simultaneous disarmament in South Sudan, the response was, “‘Forget it; it’s not possible.’” Another regional problem of arms flows is the paid surrender of combatants. With European powers willing to pay militias to surrender in an effort to stabilize the region or limit the flow of migrants to southern Europe, more funds have been introduced to armed factions that can easily reinvest money earned for surrenders that turn out to be temporarily honored.

This region of Africa is also susceptible to the arms flows to and from other parts of the continent including the Horn of Africa where al-Shabaab and other armed Islamic groups coordinate with those active in North and West Africa including Boko Haram, AQIM, and IS. Middle East countries including Qatar have aided Sunni Islamic groups and Iran uses the influence of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards to expand both licit and illicit trade interests in African countries. Russia has directly engaged in arms sales and the sharing of nuclear technology in Africa in exchange for access to resources including mining material, oil, and gas. Most of the rifles documented among militia groups are Kalashnikovs or Kalashnikov knock-offs. These collective threats have brought the US and other western powers to engage in security operations. 

While trafficking in weapons occurs with the slave trade and other criminal exploits including narcotics and counterfeit products, the support of the arms trade does not depend on currency but can be traded for any of these goods in demand. This also means that the arms trade itself may in turn support trafficking of humans, narcotics, and other contraband. This issue combined with the operations of clandestine nuclear activities raises the bar on the level of possible threat emanating from the region. Chad and Nigeria are both uranium producing countries, and Sudan, Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria, and Algeria border countries are all engaged at some level of acquiring nuclear programs with the help of Russia. In the case of Sudan, both Russia and China are contributing towards a nuclear program in Sudan in exchange for development. This increases the regional supply and global sales of nuclear related material between Africa and the Middle East requiring further international monitoring and additional arms support to protect the material in transit between both African states from clandestine forces and illicit trafficking.

Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts

Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts

The Gold Rush of Chad, Libya, Sudan, Niger, and Algeria

[continued from International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace]

In an arc stretching from Sudan to Southern Algeria, gold surfaced between 2011 and 2013, but local governments did not take action to develop the mining potential and use it to build needed infrastructure. A prior infrastructure campaign in Chad to establish drinking water facilities, schools, administrative buildings, and other projects was attempted when President Deby promised a USD 60 million building campaign following peace talks in 2005 and 2009 in exchange for rebel factions laying down their weapons. With some projects under way, the campaign eventually failed with schools and other partially constructed works abandoned as financing stalled. This failure however leaves an important lesson learned in how local government in this case a local steering committee of notables in Tibesti may or may not demonstrate a readiness to administrate large scale infrastructure development.

Under the colonial rule of past centuries, local leaders were mainly limited to levying taxes and enforcing the local rule of law. With the independence movements of the 1960s which attempted to bring about democratic nation states, governance wavered between the old colonial preconditions and pre-colonial tribal or clan traditional rule. The members of local notables executing President Deby’s development campaign proved inexperienced in the administration of both infrastructure finance as well as development. This left a lasting antigovernment impression within Chadian society one that continues still. The gold discoveries that soon arrived after this attracted migrants from the region, but with no infrastructure in place to grow and develop. The act of prospecting for gold was considered illegal. Soon militias gathered looking to fuel armed resistance movements and defend the act of illegal prospecting from local communities and local governments attempts to halt the increasing activity. The governance and the military capability of the region proved weak and unable to prevent illegal prospecting from supporting subsequent trafficking ventures aiding corruption and growing into larger criminal organizations. Local entrepreneurs and even local authorities alike engaged in illegal prospecting and trafficking.

The prospecting for gold in the region constitutes a person with a vehicle of some kind, a person with a metal detector, and an another person using rudimentary tools to dig by hand in shallow pits often using chemicals like mercury to separate and refine the gold on the spot. The improper use of chemicals has led to health problems, water contamination, and loss of life for humans, animals, and plants in the area. In spite of local authorities and traditional protective groups like the waganda, guardians of the trees and lands, the price per gram of gold in the area has risen uncontrollably on its way to gold markets such as in Dubai. This has also driven demands and local market values for vehicles, fuel, metal detectors, and weapons. When local defenders are able to deter illegal prospecting at one site, it is too easy for workers to migrate to another close by. Authorities have not demonstrated the ability to defend resources evenly over territory and time. Casualties born from the clashes are an ongoing reality on all sides. Airstrikes at gold sites have resulted.

The recent history of border disputes in the region and the transnational locations of resources have attributed to multiple national identities between Libyans, Chadians, Sudanese, and others who migrate. This has created additional pressure on borders and ongoing efforts to keep up the flow of both migrants and arms in the pursuit of gold for local trade or export and other precious resources like water, and farm lands to support workers. Due to the criminalization of mining, African nation states have not benefited from domestic and customs tax collection that could have fueled infrastructure development for the region. With the continent rich in mining resources, as well as oil and gas, this was also a missed opportunity to fund the development of other industries. Instead a black market business climate has been formed.

Other missed opportunities can be seen in the US AID development financing in which billions of US dollars have been spent for years on end to help stabilize regions engaged in conflicts or crises in Africa, but with no coordination or long-term planning instituted that sets out measurable benchmarks for nation states to ensure their progress. For some African states with territories under terrorist occupation by AQIM, IS, Boko Haram, al Shabaab, or others receiving support from countries such as Qatar or countries that export supplies to countries under sanctions like Iran, there opportunity for both risk and reward. Some leaders have claimed a willingness to send uranium for example to Iran, and President Trump’s administration has asserted that sanctions could be applied to those countries that directly or indirectly support terrorism while other maneuvers have included withholding AID.  In contrast, AID has also been increased for countries with stronger diplomatic relations with the US. This strategy of using AID and sanctions could also help secure more areas towards safety and investment at a faster rate.

Due to the corruption that has seeped into development financing and AID programming between, Congress is in the process of rolling up these programs. OPIC, USAID, and Proposed Development Finance Reorganization by Shayerah Ilias Akhtar, Specialist in International Trade and Finance, and Curt Tarnoff, Specialist in Foreign Affairs provides how the roll up might occur. Another reason for this reform is driven by the policy decision to compete directly with the development financing offered by China and Russia and in their areas of growing influence. According to the Mineral Commodity Summaries 2017 report by the US Department of the Interior and US Geological Survey, major import sources for mining material from 2012-2015 show a dependence on China and to some extent Russia or countries within their influence while both China and Russia operate substantial mining projects on the African continent. Part of the push for US Africa engagement has come about in response to the growing influences of China and Russia in those countries, however US foreign policy has struggled to overcome commonplace corruption and other diplomatic challenges or barriers to entry for US multinational companies.

Some countries from the EU and Middle East are also heavily engaged in development projects on the continent, and the US remains one of the last superpowers to embrace both security and development establishments in Africa. Foreign direct investment on the continent by China, Russia, Middle East and European countries has included mining, oil and gas, transportation, communication technology such as wireless internet and mobile phone, and in place of absent western forms of banking and credit systems disruptive technologies like banking apps are rapidly transforming both landscape and society at astonishing rates. Disruptive technology that does not have to compete with previously built infrastructure has created advantages for big tech and autonomous systems or robotics in manufacturing. Security and economic competitiveness remain the driving forces behind US-Africa engagement with economic incentives for Public Private Partnerships being offered to the private sector. However, risk can range greatly by region in Africa.

Heavy construction does not offer the widest profit margins while private security is one of the fastest growing industries in high demand globally. If security is not estimated to the reality of events on the ground in areas like the Libya-Chad-Sudan triangle, development projects will be at risk of going over budget on that line item alone and potentially abandoned at sites left unfinished. This is a region known for armed raids by non-state militias. Unsecured construction sites would be vulnerable to repeated raids, and interceptions of supplies in transit.  If sites are left abandoned due to lack of funds, the construction site and material left behind would offer militias in the area material they can use to make weapons systems such as Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) or sell to fund rebel movements.

Next: Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament

International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace

International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace

Globalism to Combat Instability

Liberal think tanks are using the allure of globalist expansion to recruit companies to invest in Africa while the stability of the region remains a military effort. While some areas are secure for trade, for others it may prove premature. One such organization called, the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) recently published the study A Vision of Africa’s Future Mapping Change, Transformations, and Trajectories Towards 2030. In the study ISPI says that democracy is the new normal in Africa since the 1990s. Nothing could be further from the reality on the ground. Companies should be wary of paying for research that is politically motivated. While some parts of Africa are stable for development, others require substantial support in the war on terror and the fight against global trafficking. In the last several years, an alarming number of liberal think tanks have emerged internationally with underlying agendas that are truly frightening. The Third Way is another such radical left organization that has been gaining momentum in the liberal media. 

The development agenda primarily follows ongoing campaigns to secure the region where weak governance, porous borders, extremism, and migration have contributed to the destabilization of Europe’s security and socialized economy and amplified threats to the United States. President Trump’s border agenda and counterterrorism policy along with the Build Act for Africa and the $60 billion allocated towards development there reflect a greater emphasis on security than development and for good reason. The Sahel particularly the area known as the Chad Basin and the Horn of Africa constitute significant security demands. The World Bank has announced the opening of offices and a loan budget for development in Libya in association with the International Monetary Fund to attract Foreign Direct Investment but neither organization has not disclosed their amounts for development, while the Chad-Sudan-Libya triangle remains an international security crisis and a rough target for investment which will continue until the area is secured militarily and politically.

Tubu Trouble: State and Statelessness in the Chad-Sudan-Libya Triangle released by Small Arms Survey’s Human Security Baseline Assessment for Sudan and South Sudan, the Security Assessment in North Africa with Conflict Armament Research and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs reveals what is actually the new normal for this landscape, and it is far from a peaceful democratic process. Around 50,000 (mainly Sudanese and Eritrean) migrants are estimated to travel from Sudan to Libya either directly or indirectly through Chad to claim political asylum in Europe due to repression in their own countries. While the mainstream media has pushed the plight of refugees and immigrants from the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America, Europe has been working behind the scenes to do everything possible to halt the flow of immigrants and asylum seekers into the countries of the European Union.

In 2016 the EU donated EUR 40 million to authorities in Sudan to limit migration from the Horn of Africa to Europe as part of the ‘Khartoum Process’. The New Arab reported Britain spent 180 million pounds to stop the flow of migrants from Africa to Europe. Europe has also provided financial and political incentives to countries in the Sahel also designed to curb the flow of refugees seeking asylum in Europe including migrants from Libya, Chad, and Sudan. The business of trafficking migrants can earn USD 250 million per year for traffickers in this part of the world. Smuggling routes used by traffickers also transport illicit weapons, narcotics, and commodities like cigarettes and satellite phones. With non-state militias some of which are terrorist networks in control of many checkpoints along these routes, the business of illegal trafficking or armed mercenary service are among the few ways to earn a living in the Sahel and Horn of Africa. In one case recorded in a recent arms study traffickers of migrants earned between USD 5,000–15,000 per truck to transport people from Agadez in Niger and Fezzan. The pursuit of traffickers has reduced the size of trucks in some areas to smaller 4 x 4 vehicles that achieve faster speeds with clandestine routes changing constantly. Those who control checkpoints institute illegal taxes to travel and charge migrant caravans by the vehicle and by the head. One truck driver reported that on seven occasions between Sebha and Zouar bandits had stopped demanding illegal taxes or tolls under the threat of death, ‘you give or they kill you.’ Hostage takings for ransom payments are also common to this landscape.

The journey for some migrants between checkpoints is disrupted by forced labor to work on farms or in illegal mines. If ransom payments cannot be met, vehicle confiscation is a common woe. Militias also force migrants to join rebel forces engaged in regional conflicts. The military defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria has inflated terror networks in Africa and with the backing of some Middle East countries such as Qatar. ISIS is still considered a formidable force online with terror financing and recruiting. The Sahel and Horn of Africa is largely dominated by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Boko Haram, Islamic State, al Shabaab, and many other smaller less publicized radical Islamic factions.

Other nationalist and native rebel groups are engaged in efforts to resist the radicalization of their region like the Teda who are often compared with Kurish resistance in the Middle East. Teda populations exist in Libya, Chad, Sudan, and surrounding areas. On 18 November 2018, Africa News reported aerial bombardments deployed from N’Djamena to Miski where illegal gold mining is occurring as well as arms and human trafficking. The army is attempting to block all routes leading to these mines. This tactic is sometimes used with blockades to starve traffickers and illegal miners out of areas with gold deposits located in Chad, Libya, Sudan, Niger, and Algeria. The desert area of Miski in Tibesti in Northern Chad is central to all locations of these gold deposits.

Next: Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts

 

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