Talking Proud Archives --- Military

Somalia: Why is the US in combat there?

Advise, Assist, Train? More like Find, Target and Destroy!

By Ed Marek, editor

December 17, 2018


In the last 17 months, two US military members, both special forces, have been killed in combat in Somalia: One a Navy SEAL, the other an Army Airborne Maroon Beret (airborne). Commonly held perspectives tell us our forces in Somalia are there to train, advise, and assist Somali forces, and hang back behind those forces should a combat situation develop.

The obvious question then is, why did these men get killed in combat in Somalia? Or, perhaps more clearly, Why were US ground forces positioned in Somalia such that they ended up in combat?

That is the question I’ll examine in this report.

We all should recognize the loss of two US military members in combat is enormously painful. Regrettably, however, this is a dangerous world filled with uncertainty. Our military forces are called on to serve everywhere. There is always the chance some will die. Nonetheless, the loss of these two men struck a chord with me. I was taken aback to learn the two were killed in combat in Somalia. So I asked the questions noted above. I quickly found myself involved in reviewing why US forces were in such a position. I tracked back to 1960 and learned a great deal about US military policy and activities in Somalia.

Most Americans know little to nothing about this subject. There is good evidence the Congress, even most of the foreign policy establishment knows precious little as well. Perhaps more worrisome, the public does not question what the US military is doing there. And even if it did, it would find itself buried in circuitous language that hides the real nature of what is going on.


Two fallen special forces
The threats presented by Somalia
US policy review
Regional players enter the scene - The birth of AMISOM
AFRICOM: Under the radar
Maritime security - Efforts to secure the waterways
So what is the plan?
Postscript: "The Compound"