However, according to the Pentagon, most of the service members will be redeployed to other areas in the region, the Washington Examiner reported.
The order applies to upwards of 750 members of the U.S. military who had been deployed to Somalia to provide assistance and training to that nation’s military as well as to provide surveillance and targeted airstrikes on terrorists — such as the Al Qaeda-linked Al Shabaab militants as well as an offshoot of the Islamic State group, among other jihadist organizations — through the operation of unmanned aerial drones.
Troops moving out of Somalia
Col. Chris Karns with U.S. Africa Command confirmed to the Examiner that “at the direction of the president and the acting secretary of defense, U.S. Africa Command is repositioning our forces within East Africa.”
“This action is not a withdrawal and end to our efforts but a reposition,” Karns insisted. Though he declined to provide specifics about the repositioning, odds are a majority of the troops shifted out of Somalia will be redeployed to neighboring nations like Djibouti and Kenya.
“The forces repositioning from Somalia are moving to partner countries elsewhere in the region to accomplish their missions,” Karns explained. “The U.S. remains committed to our work in East Africa and Somalia.”
Repositioning in East Africa
Karns’ remarks fell in line with a Dec. 4 press release from the Defense Department regarding changes to the “force posture” in Somalia.
“While a change in force posture, this action is not a change in U.S. policy,” the release stated. “We will continue to degrade violent extremist organizations that could threaten our homeland while ensuring we maintain our strategic advantage in great power competition.”
“As a result of this decision, some forces may be reassigned outside of East Africa. However, the remaining forces will be repositioned from Somalia into neighboring countries in order to allow cross-border operations by both U.S. and partner forces to maintain pressure against violent extremist organizations operating in Somalia,” the Pentagon statement added.
Opposition to troop withdrawals
Of course, even this repositioning of troops outside of harm’s way has sparked opposition from those who seem inclined to see American military forces perpetually deployed to hot spots around the globe.
In all likelihood, President Trump probably wanted all of those troops in Somalia to come back home, but the repositioning to other nearby locations in the region was possibly the best outcome that could be reached for now.
President Trump has made it clear that he doesn’t believe America should be the world’s policeman, and a good portion of the American people agree. Now if only Congress, the Defense industry, and the media would get on board with that idea as well.