Source: Defense News
Just weeks after the deadly assault on the U.S. consulate and CIA station in Benghazi, Libya, the head of the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was for the first time given operational control over a dedicated special operations company that could be tasked with handling similar incidents in the future.
The commander’s in-extremis force (CIF) was stood up on Oct. 1, AFRICOM chief Gen. Carter Ham revealed during a talk at George Washington University’s Homeland Security Policy Institute on Dec. 3.
Until now, AFRICOM had been alone among the six U.S. geographic combatant commands without its own CIF. Before this, AFRICOM relied on the CIF assigned to the commander of the European Command.
One of the reasons given for the lack of military response during the attack on the American consulate and CIA station in Benghazi on Sept. 11 was that the special operations quick reaction unit staged in Europe was unable to get there in time.
The European-based CIF was on a training mission in Croatia when the call from the Pentagon came in, but within hours they had positioned to Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, where they gathered up pre-positioned stocks and prepared to fly the 500 miles to Libya.
“Those forces worked as advertised, and they were in position,” Special Operations Command (SOCOM) deputy commander Lt. Gen. John Mulholland told a special operations conference in Washington Nov. 28. “I’ll leave it at that because other decisions came into play that perhaps aren’t privy to SOCOM.”
Coming back to the subject later in his talk, Mulholland would only say that once the CIF landed at Sigonella, “other decisions took place subsequent to that that other commanders can speak to.”
The unit designation and location of the AFRICOM CIF is unclear, but the 10th Special Forces Group is assigned to Africa and operates out of Stuttgart, Germany, and Fort Carson, Col0.
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