With the establishment of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007, the U.S. government decided to make security a key foreign policy objective for a continent that has long been plagued by civil war and other conflicts. But AFRICOM has no U.S. Army divisions or Marine Corps battalions supporting it. Instead, the U.S. is relying on private military contractors (PMCs) to provide logistical help and military training to African armies.
The State Department is reportedly spending nearly $100 million a year on PMCs to train local forces through its African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program. One of the companies hired is DynCorp International, which has performed work for the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan. DynCorp could be paid as much as $20 million over two years for work in Liberia alone, providing operations and maintenance support at Edward B. Kesselly Barracks and Camp Ware.
A previous contract awarded to DynCorp was for recruiting and training Liberia’s infantry. Other companies hired to work in the country include PAE Government Services (a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin) and Protection Strategies Inc., with each receiving contracts valued at $375 million.
Former Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc. was contracted to support three military bases in Djibouti, Kenya and Ethiopia used by the U.S. Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa.
Northrop Grumman was awarded a $75 million deal to train 40,000 African peacekeepers over five years.
And MPRI, a division of L-3 Communications, has been paid by the State Department to train militaries in Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda and Senegal. The company also provided assistance to South Africa’s military.