Deployment to Central Africa part of larger U.S. effort against LRA

President Obama's announcement last week that he was deploying 100 U.S. military advisers to Central Africa to help forces there trying to kill or capture Lord's Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony was the latest and largest step in an ongoing campaign to address the conflict in the region.

Administration officials insist there wasn't a specific impetus that prompted Obama to make the decision; deploying military personnel has been in the works for some time, they said.

But the rhetoric pointing to such a decision has been voiced in recent days.

"We're hopeful here in the very near future to be able to increase the number of U.S. military advisers and trainers" in the region, General Carter Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, said in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on Oct. 4. Ham also said, "If you ever had any question that there is evil in this world, it is resident in the person of Joseph Kony and in that organization."

The Bush administration started providing the Ugandan military with logistical support and training in late 2008 after Kony refused to sign a peace agreement with Uganda, said Paul Ronan, the director of advocacy at Resolve, a non-profit organization trying to end the LRA conflict.

The State Department continued to offer some aid to regional forces trying to stop the LRA, and the movement gained momentum with the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009, which easily passed through Congress with bipartisan support and was signed by Obama in May 2010. It appropriated more than $20 million to communities impacted by the conflict, but, perhaps more importantly, showed Obama there was support for greater engagement in the region and encouraged the administration to come up with a broader strategy that included both advising regional militaries and protecting local citizens, Ronan said.

That's what the roughly 100 military personnel will be doing, said Ronan, who attended a White House briefing with senior administration officials on Friday about the announcement.

Resolve and other non-profit organizations that focus on the conflict have welcomed the announcement, but said they would like to see further efforts at civilian protection and that the United States needs to make sure that the recommendations the advisers compile are implemented.

"Our perspective is 'great job,' but let's not take our foot off the gas pedal," Ronan said.

The administration, meanwhile, is stressing that the U.S. forces, while combat-equipped, are not there to partake in the fighting.

"These advisers will work with our regional partners and the African Union in the field to strengthen information-sharing, enhance coordination and planning, and improve the overall effectiveness of military operations and the protection of civilians," Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokesperson, said in a statement on Friday. "These advisers will not engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense."

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.