The US Department of Defense is considering taking a step back from its counterterrorism operations in Africa in the near future as the US military begins to shift its focus to the Pacific region, according to the nation’s top general.
Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley informed reporters on Monday that the topic of scaling back the US’ presence in Africa “to increase readiness of the force in the continental US” or the Pacific has been discussed at the Pentagon. Since taking office last year, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has been vocal about the US military’s need to shift troops out of counterterrorism operations and focus its attention on Russia, “the instigator of aggression in Europe,” and China.
“We’re developing options for the secretary to consider, and we are developing those options in coordination with our allies and partners,” he told AFP shortly after arriving in Brussels for talks with NATO allies.
Milley’s confirmation of these talks comes just weeks after reports citing individuals close to the Pentagon suggested the department’s reduction in US troops in Africa would include the abandoning of a drone base in Niger and terminating the military’s assistance to French forces conducting anti-terror campaigns in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.
Commenting on the US’ desire to scale back counterterror operations on the continent, French President Emmanuel Macron expressed that he hoped…