The Obama administration continues to ramp up its military-response capabilities in Africa, where it is now looking for contractor support to transport U.S. Africa Command troops, weaponry and explosives.
The U.S. Transportation Command on behalf of AFRICOM is soliciting help from private aircraft providers who can move U.S. troops and supplies in the Central African nations of Uganda, Central Africa Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.
The development comes at a time when the Department of Defense simultaneously is strengthening its ability – also with contractor assistance – to retrieve soldiers trapped and injured in hot spots ranging from Cameroon to Kenya.
As WND reported in recent months, Defense plans to place medical and transportation vendors on stand-by, 24/7, for cross-continent airborne mobilization, primarily to extricate U.S. Special Forces injured in African military ventures.
The endeavor, known as the Trans-Sahara Short Take-Off and Landing Airlift Support initiative, specifically identified the above-mentioned Central African nations as possible locations where contractors could assist U.S. Special Operations Command-Africa.
In the latest contracting action, vendors must be able to transport personnel and, likewise, must be willing to carry “hazardous” cargo, including small arms ammunition, signal flares, smoke grenades, blasting caps, rockets, mines and explosive charges.
According to a Request for Information that WND located through routine database research, much of the activity will take troops in and out of Uganda’s Entebbe International Airport, which is considered a U.S. military Cooperative Security Location, or CSL.
Travel in and out of remote and undeveloped sites also will be required.
“The contractor will be asked to routinely take off/land on improved and unimproved dirt airfields of a minimum of 1800 feet in length to support resupply and personnel transportation requirements,” the RFI said.
Routine locations could include airfields such as Obo and Djema in the Central African Republic, it said.
AFRICOM separately is teaming up with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration to train counter-narcotics law enforcement agencies from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Niger, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Togo, Guinea and Mali.
AFRICOM and the DEA are arranging to carry out the training next month in Accra, Ghana.
A largely redacted “limited-source justification” document identified the contractor – Commonwealth Partners Inc. – who will provide logistics support such as booking hotels and providing translation services for students.
The cost and other details, however, were blacked out.
The following is a list of other recent Africa-related U.S. ventures unrelated, or at least not directly connected, to the AFRICOM contracting actions. Rather than being comprehensive, the list offers a snapshot of additional Obama administration spending on the continent:
The U.S. Agency for International Development will conduct an 18-month research project into how Africans view USAID’s provision of education assistance programs in conflict zones.
The agency seeks answers to questions about stages of conflict and their impact on student perceptions of the quality of educational interventions. It did not disclose the estimated cost.
The Millennium Challenge Corporation is hiring a consultant to help it assess possible funding considerations for a road project in Benin, where that nation’s government wants to improve the competitiveness of its agribusiness sector. MCC did not disclose estimated costs.
The U.S. Trade & Development Agency is providing a $220,000 grant to the Lagos Deep Offshore Logistics, or LADOL, enterprise zone to hire a contractor that will provide technical assistance for its IT upgrade plan.
USAID awarded a $16 million contract to QED Group LLC to help the agency improve its performance in administering aid in Uganda, where it anticipates spending $1 billion “in the areas of HIV/AIDS, social services, improved governance as well as economic development” through 2015.