Africa Command lists 36 U.S. outposts scattered across 24 African countries.
America's most elite forces in Africa operate in what Bolduc calls "the gray zone, between traditional war and peace." In layman's terms, its missions are expanding in the shadows on a continent the United States sees as increasingly insecure, unstable, and riven by terror groups.
Someday, someone will write a history of the U.S. national security state in the twenty-first century and, if the first decade and a half are any yardstick, it will be called something like State of Failure.
It's rare to hear one top military commander publicly badmouth another, call attention to his faults, or simply point out his shortcomings. Despite a seemingly endless supply of debacles from strategic setbacks to quagmire conflicts since 9/11, the top brass rarely criticize each other.
As General David Rodriguez prepares to retire, he has a reason for avoiding attention. His tenure has not only been marked by an increasing number of terror attacks on the continent, but questions have arisen about his recent testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Rejecting both accurate accounting and actual accountability, the Defense Department has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to keeping Americans in the dark about the activities being carried out with their dollars and in their name.
While the U.S. has always pursued parts of its imperial strategy in "the shadows," to use a phrase from my Cold War childhood, in this new strategy everyday basing, too, is disappearing into those shadows, which is why Nick Turse's latest piece on the subject is a small reportorial triumph of time and effort.
In remote locales, behind fences and beyond the gaze of prying eyes, the U.S. military has built an extensive archipelago of African outposts, transforming the continent, experts say, into a laboratory for a new kind of war.