The mission to deploy U.S. military forces to Uganda – about 100 over the next month – has been pending for well over a year but special ops forces weren’t available before now, according to senior military official.
The challenge has been “the availability of special forces, ” said the official. “Now, because of a decreased commitment in other places we were able to bring them in.”
The official was optimistic that US forces can help the Africans find and capture Lord’s Resistance Army leader Joseph Kony and other senior LRA leaders although the official doubted that Kony would allow himself to be taken alive.
The mission is intended to be training , “not operational,” according to the official. I asked him to explain and he said that the U.S. forces will indeed be going out on “training” patrols with the Africans , which he said could indeed be dangerous, but if the Africans actually execute a mission to go find Kony or senior leaders the U.S. trainers will not go with them.
“If it is intelligence driven and they are conducting a specific raid, U.S. will not go,” he said.
The official said that in the past few days there have been big discussions about whether congress had to be notified and it was determined notification must be made because the U.S. troops are “combat equipped.”
This official thinks the way the information was released has gotten it “rolled way out of proportion.”
He described the mission as better enabling and aiding the African troops to capture and kill Kony and senior leaders.
Is this open ended? “Yes, but I don’t think it will be too terribly long.”