Defense Department Commends Egyptian Military

Defense Department Commends Egyptian Military

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On February 8, 2011, two weeks after protests erupt in Egypt against President Hosni Mubarak, Defense Secretary Robert Gates holds a press conference and praises the Egyptian military for their handling of the situation.

U.S. Relations With Egypt

The United States established diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1922, following its independence from protectorate status under the United Kingdom. The United States and Egypt share a strong partnership based on mutual interest in Middle East peace and stability, economic opportunity, and regional security. Promoting a stable, prosperous Egypt, where the government protects the basic rights of its citizens and fulfills the aspirations of the Egyptian people, will continue to be a core objective of U.S. policy.

U.S. Assistance to Egypt

U.S. assistance to Egypt has long played a central role in Egypt’s economic and military development and in furthering the strategic partnership and regional stability. Since 1978, the United States has provided Egypt with what now totals over $50 billion in military and $30 billion in economic assistance.

Bilateral Economic Relations

Total two-way trade in goods between the United States and Egypt was $8.6 billion in 2019. U.S. exports to Egypt include wheat and corn, mineral fuel and oil, machinery, aircraft, and iron and steel products. U.S. imports from Egypt include apparel, natural gas and oil, fertilizers, textiles, and agricultural products. Under the Qualifying Industrial Zone agreement, the United States waives duties on imports from Egypt if the value includes 10.5% Israeli content this program promotes stronger ties between the region’s peace partners. Egypt and the United States signed a Bilateral Investment Treaty in 1982 to promote and facilitate investment between our countries. Egypt and the United States have signed a trade and investment framework agreement, a step toward creating freer trade and increasing investment flows. American firms are active in most sectors of the Egyptian economy, including oil and gas exploration and production, financial services, manufacturing, construction, telecommunications and information technology, and the restaurant and hospitality industry. Flows of U.S. direct investment to Egypt were $1.37 billion in 2019, bringing the accumulated long-term stock of U.S. FDI to nearly $24 billion.

Egypt’s Membership in International Organizations

Egypt and the United States belong to a number of the same international organizations, including the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, and World Trade Organization. Egypt also is a Partner for Cooperation with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, an observer to the Organization of American States, a partner in the NATO Mediterranean Dialogue, and a non-party state to the International Criminal Court. Cairo hosts the headquarters of the League of Arab States

Bilateral Representation

Principal embassy officials are listed in the Department’s Key Officers List.

Egypt maintains an embassy in the United States at 3521 International Court NW, Washington, DC, 20008 (tel. 202-895-5400).

Information about Egypt is available from the Department of State and other sources, some of which are listed here:

The military’s top officer schools congressmen on critical race theory, ‘white rage’ and communism

By the time a third member of the House of Representatives laid into the Pentagon’s top civilian and uniformed officials about the Defense Department’s efforts to root out extremism and promote diversity and inclusion, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff had had enough.

Earlier, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin smacked down Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., after he asserted that an Austin advisor is a “critical race theorist,” and that his sources told him Austin’s efforts to educate the force on extremism were sowing more division than unity.

And then Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Fla., a National Guard colonel and Green Beret, went off about the discussion of critical race theory at West Point, in an academic setting. He said cadets had recently attended a voluntary talk on “white rage.”

In response, Army Gen. Mark Milley delivered a monologue, colored by his meticulous enthusiasm for U.S. history, that will no doubt be etched in his legacy.

“A lot of us have to get much smarter on whatever the theory is, but I do think it’s important, actually, for those of us in uniform to be open-minded and be widely read.

The United States Military Academy is a university. And it is important that we train, and we understand ― and I want to understand white rage. And I’m white, and I want to understand it.

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U.S. Military Spending/Defense Budget 1960-2021

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Egypt’s transition away from American weapons is a national security issue

Egypt announced an agreement this month with France to purchase 30 French-made F3-R Rafale fighter jets in a deal reportedly worth $5 billion. The agreement is part of a larger trend in which Egypt is purchasing fewer weapons from the United States and more from Russia and France.

To be sure, from an American perspective, Russia is an adversary while France is a NATO ally (and economic competitor). However, if those two countries continue to displace the United States in the Egyptian arms market, Washington’s influence in Cairo could wane. That would undercut core U.S. national security interests. At the center of this challenge is Washington’s longstanding efforts to balance security interests with human rights concerns when it comes to arms sales.

The sale, announced on May 4, brings the total Egyptian Rafale fleet to 54 aircraft, building upon a 2015 sale in which Egypt became the first foreign customer for the Rafale. The Rafale is a fourth-generation multirole fighter manufactured by Dassault Aviation, and has been ordered by the French, Egyptian, Qatari, Indian and Greek militaries. In addition to advanced sensors, targeting systems and weapons, the F3-R model gives Egypt access to capabilities the United States has refused to sell Cairo in the past, such as long-range air-to-air missiles.

Egypt’s purchase of French-made fighters alone does not necessarily constitute a major development or concern, but the deal’s significance grows when understood as part of Cairo’s larger shift away from American arms. In fact, the last major U.S. aircraft sale to Egypt came in 2010 with the transfer of 20 F-16Cs.

How is the Egyptian Air Force able to operate its fleet of mixed origin?

It’s rare to witness an air force flying fighter jets and helicopters of different origins, but Egypt operates aircraft from Russia, China, the United States and European nations.

The following year, Arab Spring protests led to the election of President Mohammed Morsi. In 2013, then-Defense Minister Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi deposed Morsi and took the presidency for himself. In response, the Obama administration froze a significant quantity of aircraft, tank and missile sales to Egypt for two years until relations improved.

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The Space Command differs from the U.S. Space Force, launched in December 2019 as the first new military service since the Air Force was created in 1947. The Space Command is not an individual military service but a central command for militarywide space operations. It operated at Peterson from 1985 until it was dissolved in 2002, and it was revived in 2019.

The Air Force accepted bids from locations for the command when it was revived and was considering six finalists, including Huntsville, when Trump hinted it’d stay in Colorado Springs.

Pentagon’s anti-extremism moves now part of a larger national strategy

The White House on Tuesday announced a national effort for countering domestic extremism, which includes moves the Defense Department put into action earlier this year.

Among them are initiatives to better screen potential recruits, monitor extremist activity while in uniform and better educate new veterans about the possibility of being targeted for recruitment into an extremist group. The White House strategy would like to see those measures extended to law enforcement, according to a Tuesday release.

“While domestic law enforcement agencies take the lead, the Department of Defense will do our part to support this important strategy,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement. “That includes maintaining the Department’s robust relationship with federal law enforcement as well as refining our policies to better address this issue within the Department.”

The strategy builds off of a study released to Congress in March, a senior administration official told reporters on Monday.

“. it found that domestic violent extremists, motivated by a range of ideologies, pose an elevated threat to our country in 2021, with racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists — and specifically those who espouse the superiority of the white race — and anti-government militia violent extremists posing the most lethal threat,” the official said.

A government-wide anti-extremism push has been in the making since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. DoD took much of that lead earlier this year, after multiple reports that service members and veterans made up as much as 20 percent of the people charged for participating.

“. obviously, the Defense Department has really shown a lot of leadership on this, starting early in this administration, to ensure that those critical and sensitive positions — positions of trust that service members and others within the Defense Department hold — can’t be abused or exploited for the sort of nefarious purposes that domestic terrorists would like to see them exploited for,” the official said.

DoD’s work, including its Countering Extremism Working Group, is basically one arm of a larger strategy across the federal government, the official added.


Origins Edit

Prior to the creation of AFRICOM, responsibility for U.S. military operations in Africa was divided across three unified commands: United States European Command (EUCOM) for West Africa, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) for East Africa, and United States Pacific Command (PACOM) for Indian Ocean waters and islands off the east coast of Africa.

A U.S. military officer wrote the first public article calling for the formation of a separate African command in November 2000. [8] Following a 2004 global posture review, the United States Department of Defense began establishing a number of Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs) and Forward Operating Sites (FOSs) across the African continent, through the auspices of EUCOM which had nominal command of West Africa at that time. These locations, along with Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, would form the basis of AFRICOM facilities on the continent. Areas of military interest to the United States in Africa include the Sahara/Sahel region, [9] over which Joint Task Force Aztec Silence is conducting anti-terrorist operations (Operation Enduring Freedom - Trans Sahara), Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, where Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa is located (overseeing Operation Enduring Freedom - Horn of Africa), and the Gulf of Guinea.

The website was launched by USEUCOM in 2004 to provide news about North Africa in English, French and Arabic. [10] When AFRICOM was created, it took over operation of the website. [11] Information operations of the United States Department of Defense was criticized by the Senate Armed Forces Committee and defunded by Congress in 2011. The site was closed down in February 2015. [12] [13]

In 2007, the United States Congress approved $500 million for the Trans-Saharan Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI) over six years to support countries involved in counterterrorism against threats of Al Qaeda operating in African countries, primarily Algeria, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal, Nigeria, and Morocco. [14] This program builds upon the former Pan Sahel Initiative (PSI), which concluded in December 2004 [15] and focused on weapon and drug trafficking, as well as counterterrorism. [16] Previous U.S. military activities in Sub-Saharan Africa have included Special Forces associated Joint Combined Exchange Training. Letitia Lawson, writing in 2007 for a Center for Contemporary Conflict journal at the Naval Postgraduate School, noted that U.S. policy towards Africa, at least in the medium-term, looks to be largely defined by international terrorism, the increasing importance of African oil to American energy needs, and the dramatic expansion and improvement of Sino-African relations since 2000. [17]

Creation of the command (2006–2008) Edit

In mid-2006, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formed a planning team to advise on requirements for establishing a new Unified Command for the African continent. In early December, he made his recommendations to President George W. Bush. [18] [19]

On 6 February 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced to the Senate Armed Services Committee that President George W. Bush had given authority to create the new African Command. [20] U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, the director of the AFRICOM transition team, arrived in Stuttgart, Germany to begin creating the logistical framework for the command. [21] [22] The creation of the command was introduced to African military leaders by General William E. "Kip" Ward who traveled to various African countries. [7] On 28 September, the U.S. Senate confirmed General Ward as AFRICOM's first commander and AFRICOM officially became operational as a sub-unified command of EUCOM with a separate headquarters. [23] On 1 October 2008 became a fully operational command and incorporated pre-existing entities, including the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa that was created in 2002. [7] At this time, the command also separated from USEUCOM and began operating on its own as a full-fledged combatant command.

In 2007, the White House announced that Africa Command "will strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa. Africa Command will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa." [24]

General Carter F. Ham said in a 2012 address at Brown University that U.S. strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa is to strengthen democratic institutions and boost broad-based economic growth. [2]

The U.S. Africa Command is currently operating along five lines of effort:

  1. Neutralize al-Shabaab and transition the security responsibilities of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS)
  2. Degrade violent extremist organizations in the SahelMaghreb and contain instability in Libya
  3. Contain and degrade Boko Haram
  4. Interdict illicit activity in the Gulf of Guinea and Central Africa with willing and capable African partners
  5. Build peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance and disaster response capacity of African partners [25]

On 18 March 2019, AFRICOM conducted an airstrike over Mogadishu, Somalia with the stated aimed at "the terrorist network and its recruiting efforts in the region", specifically referencing al-Shabab. AFRICOM reported that the number of terrorists killed by this airstrike was 3, but this fact, as well as how many civilian casualties there were is still under dispute. [26]

The territory of the command consists of all of the African continent except for Egypt, which remains under the responsibility of Central Command, as it closely relates to the Middle East. USAFRICOM also covers island countries commonly associated with Africa:

The U.S. military areas of responsibility involved were transferred from three separate U.S. unified combatant commands. Most of Africa was transferred from the United States European Command with the Horn of Africa and Sudan transferred from the United States Central Command. Responsibility for U.S. military operations in the islands of Madagascar, the Comoros, the Seychelles and Mauritius was transferred from the United States Pacific Command.

The AFRICOM headquarters is located at Kelley Barracks, a small urban facility near Stuttgart, Germany, and is staffed by 1,500 personnel. In addition, the command has military and civilian personnel assigned at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti RAF Molesworth, United Kingdom MacDill Air Force Base, Florida and in Offices of Security Cooperation and Defense Attaché Offices in about 38 African countries. [2]

Selection of the headquarters Edit

It was reported in June 2007 that African countries were competing to host the headquarters because it would bring money for the recipient country. [28] Liberia has publicly expressed a willingness to host AFRICOM's headquarters, and in 2021 Nigeria expressed a similar interest. [29] The U.S. declared in February 2008 that AFRICOM would be headquartered in Stuttgart for the "foreseeable future". In August 2007, Dr. Wafula Okumu, a research fellow at the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa, testified before the United States Congress about the growing resistance and hostility on the African continent. [30] Nigeria announced it will not allow its country to host a base and opposed the creation of a base on the continent. South Africa and Libya also expressed reservations of the establishment of a headquarters in Africa. [31] [32]

The Sudan Tribune considered it likely that Ethiopia, a strong U.S. ally in the region, will house USAFRICOM's headquarters due to the collocation of AFRICOM with the African Union's developing peace and security apparatus. [33] Prime Minister Meles Zenawi stated in early November that Ethiopia would be willing to work together closely with USAFRICOM. [34] This was further reinforced when a U.S. Air Force official said on 5 December 2007, that Addis Ababa was likely to be the headquarters. [35]

On 18 February 2008, General Ward told an audience at the Royal United Services Institute in London that some portion of that staff headquarters being on the continent at some point in time would be "a positive factor in helping us better deliver programs." [36] General Ward also told the BBC the same day in an interview that there are no definite plans to take the headquarters or a portion of it to any particular location on the continent. [37]

President Bush denied that the United States was contemplating the construction of new bases on the African continent. [38] U.S. plans include no large installations such as Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo, but rather a network of "cooperative security locations" at which temporary activities will be conducted. There is one U.S. base on the continent, Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, with approximately 2,300 troops stationed there having been inherited from USCENTCOM upon standup of the command.

In general, U.S. Unified Combatant Commands have an HQ of their own in one location, subordinate service component HQs, sometimes one or two co-located with the main HQ or sometimes spread widely, and a wide range of operating locations, main bases, forward detachments, etc. USAFRICOM initially appears to be considering something slightly different spreading the actually COCOM HQ over several locations, rather than having the COCOM HQ in one place and the putative "U.S. Army Forces, Africa", its air component, and "U.S. Naval Forces, Africa" in one to four separate locations. AFRICOM will not have the traditional J-type staff divisions, [ clarification needed ] instead having outreach, plans and programs, knowledge development, operations and logistics, and resources branches. [39] AFRICOM went back to a traditional J-Staff in early 2011 after General Carter Ham took command. [40]

In the summer of 2020, U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper directed AFRICOM leadership to study a possible headquarters relocation outside of Germany after plans were announced that neighboring U.S. European Command would relocate to Belgium. [41]

On 20 November 2020 a new Army service component command (ASCC), U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) consolidated USAREUR and USARAAF. [42] The U.S. Army Africa/Southern European Task Force is now the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa (SETAF-AF). [42]

U.S. Africa Command completed fiscal year 2010 with approximately 2,000 assigned personnel, which includes military, civilian, contractor, and host nation employees. About 1,500 work at the command's main headquarters in Stuttgart. Others are assigned to the command's units in England and Florida, along with security cooperation officers posted at U.S. embassies and diplomatic missions in Africa to coordinate Defense Department programs within the host nation.

As of December 2010, the command has five Senior Foreign Service officers in key positions as well as more than 30 personnel from 13 U.S. Government Departments and Agencies serving in leadership, management, and staff positions. Some of the agencies represented are the United States Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Coast Guard.

U.S. Africa Command has limited assigned forces and relies on the Department of Defense for resources necessary to support its missions.

On 1 October 2008, the Seventeenth Air Force was established at Ramstein Air Base, Germany as the United States Air Force component of the Africa Command. [43] Brig. Gen. Tracey Garrett was named as commander of the new USMC component, U.S. Marine Corps Forces Africa (MARFORAF), in November 2008. [44] [45] MARFORAF is a dual-mission arrangement for United States Marine Corps Forces, Europe.

On 3 December 2008, the U.S. announced that Army and Navy headquarters units of AFRICOM would be hosted in Italy. The AFRICOM section of the Army's Southern European Task Force would be located in Vicenza and Naval Forces Europe in Naples would expand to include the Navy's AFRICOM component. [46] Special Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA) is also established, gaining control over Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara (JSOTF-TS) and Special Operations Command and Control Element – Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA). [47]

The U.S. Army has allocated a brigade to the Africa Command. [48]

U.S. Army Europe and Africa (USAREUR-AF) Edit

Headquartered on Caserma Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, U.S. Army Europe and Africa — Southern European Task Force - Africa (SETAF-AF), in concert with national and international partners, conducts sustained security engagement with African land forces to promote peace, stability, and security in Africa. As directed, it can deploy as a contingency headquarters in support of crisis response. [49] The commander of SETAF-AF is DCG for Africa.

As of March 2013, the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, the "Dagger Brigade", is being aligned with AFRICOM. [50]

U.S. Naval Forces, Africa (NAVAF) Edit

U.S. Naval Forces Europe - Naval Forces Africa (NAVEUR-NAVAF) area of responsibility (AOR) covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean, from the North Pole to Antarctica as well as the Adriatic, Baltic, Barents, Black, Caspian, Mediterranean and North Seas. [51] NAVEUR-NAVAF covers all of Russia, Europe and nearly the entire continent of Africa. It encompasses 105 countries with a combined population of more than one billion people and includes a landmass extending more than 14 million square miles.

The area of responsibility covers more than 20 million square nautical miles of ocean, touches three continents and encompasses more than 67 percent of the Earth's coastline, 30 percent of its landmass, and nearly 40 percent of the world's population. [52]

Task Force 60 will normally be the commander of Naval Task Force Europe and Africa. [ citation needed ] Any naval unit within the USEUCOM or USAFRICOM AOR may be assigned to Task Force 60 as required upon by the Commander of the Sixth Fleet.

U.S. Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) Edit

Air Forces Africa (AFAFRICA) is located at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, and serves as the air and space component to U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) located at Stuttgart, Germany. Air Forces Africa shares a headquarters and units with United States Air Forces in Europe, and its component Air Force, 3AF (AFAFRICA) conducts sustained security engagement and operations as directed to promote air safety, security and development on the African continent. Through its Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) events, Air Forces Africa carries out AFRICOM's policy of seeking long-term partnership with the African Union and regional organizations as well as individual nations on the continent. [53]

Air Forces Africa works with other U.S. Government agencies, to include the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), to assist African partners in developing national and regional security institution capabilities that promote security and stability and facilitate development. [54]

3AF succeeds the Seventeenth Air Force by assuming the AFAFRICA mission upon the 17AF's deactivation on 20 April 2012. [55]

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) Edit

U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Africa conducts operations, exercises, training, and security cooperation activities throughout the AOR. In 2009, MARFORAF participated in 15 ACOTA missions aimed at improving partners' capabilities to provide logistical support, employ military police, and exercise command and control over deployed forces.

MARFORAF conducted military to military events in 2009 designed to familiarize African partners with nearly every facet of military operations and procedures, including use of unmanned aerial vehicles, tactics, and medical skills. MARFORAF, as the lead component, continues to conduct Exercise AFRICAN LION in Morocco—the largest annual Combined Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) exercise on the African continent—as well as Exercise SHARED ACCORD 10, which was the first CJCS exercise conducted in Mozambique. [56]

In 2013, the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Africa was formed to provide quick response to American interests in North Africa by flying marines in Bell Boeing V-22 Osprey aircraft from bases in Europe. [57]

U.S. Special Operations Command Africa Edit

Special Operations Command Africa was activated on 1 October 2008 and became fully operationally capable on 1 October 2009. SOCAFRICA is a Subordinate-Unified Command of United States Special Operations Command, operationally controlled by U.S. Africa Command, collocated with USAFRICOM at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart-Möhringen, Germany. Also on 1 October 2008, SOCAFRICA assumed responsibility for the Special Operations Command and Control Element – Horn of Africa, and on 15 May 2009, SOCAFRICA assumed responsibility for Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans – Sahara (JSOTF-TS) – the SOF component of Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans Sahara.

SOCAFRICA's objectives are to build operational capacity, strengthen regional security and capacity initiatives, implement effective communication strategies in support of strategic objectives, and eradicate violent extremist organizations and their supporting networks. SOCAFRICA forces work closely with both U.S. Embassy country teams and African partners, maintaining a small but sustained presence throughout Africa, predominantly in the OEF-TS and CJTF-HOA regions. SOCAFRICA's persistent SOF presence provides an invaluable resource that furthers USG efforts to combat violent extremist groups and builds partner nation CT capacity. [58]

On 8 April 2011, Naval Special Warfare Unit 10, operationally assigned and specifically dedicated for SOCAFRICA missions, was commissioned at Panzer Kaserne, near Stuttgart, Germany. [59] It is administratively assigned to Naval Special Warfare Group 2 on the U.S. East Coast.

Organizations included in SOCAFRICA include: [60]

  • Special Operations Command Forward—East (Special Operations Command and Control Element—Horn of Africa)
  • Special Operations Command Forward—Central (AFRICOM Counter—Lord's Resistance Army Control Element)
  • Special Operations Command Forward—West (Joint Special Operations Task Force—Trans Sahara)
  • Naval Special Warfare Unit 10, Joint Special Operations Air Component Africa, and SOCAFRICA Signal Detachment
  • Commander SOCAFRICA serves as the special operations adviser to commander, USAFRICOM.

Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa Edit

Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) conducts operations in the East Africa region to build partner nation capacity in order to promote regional security and stability, prevent conflict, and protect U.S. and coalition interests. CJTF-HOA's efforts, as part of a comprehensive whole-of-government approach, are aimed at increasing African partner nations' capacity to maintain a stable environment, with an effective government that provides a degree of economic and social advancement for its citizens. [61] [62] [63]

The programs conducted by AFRICOM, in conjunction with African military forces focus on reconnaissance and direct action. However, AFRICOM's directives are to keep American military forces out of direct combat as best as possible. Despite this, the United States has admitted to American troops being involved in direct action during missions with African military partners, namely in classified 127e programs. [64] [65] As of 2019, there have been at least 139 confirmed drone strikes from AFRICOM operations in Somalia. Estimates place the total number of deaths at least 965, with at least 10 civilians killed. [66] Each AFRICOM operations has a specific mission. Some of the operations in North and West Africa target ISIS, and Boko Haram. In East Africa, missions focus on targeting terrorist group Al-Shabaab and piracy. [65]

Programs Edit

Joint Exercise Programs [7] Edit

African Lion Edit

Training exercises sponsored by the United States through AFRICOM and Morocco. Participants of this program came from Europe and Africa to undergo training in various military exercises and skills. Exercises conducted during African Lion included "command-and-control techniques, combat tactics, peacekeeping, and humanitarian assistance operations". Reported by AFRICOM to have improved the quality of operations conducted between the North African and United States military. [7]

Western Accord Edit

Training exercises sponsored by AFRICOM, European, and Western African countries for the first time in 2014. The goal of this exercise was to improve African forces' skills in conducting peace support operations. An ebola epidemic occurring from 2014 to 2015 resulted in the exercises being hosted by the Netherlands. During this exercise the mission command for the "United Nation’s Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission" in Mali was replicated. Name of exercise changed to United Accord some time later. [7]

Central Accord Edit

Training exercises conducted with the goal of increasing both the military knowledge and efficacy of collaborative interactions of the participating groups. Emphasis placed on crisis response tactics and fostering strong partnerships between participating groups. Forces came from Africa, the United States, and Europe. The Lake Chad Basin is an example of a regional mission conducted by The Multi-National Joint Task Force. [7]

Eastern Accord Edit

Series of training exercises originally began in 1998 with a series of exercises titled "Natural Fire". The Justified Accord was a further continuation of the large group of exercises conducted under the name Eastern Accord. Participating forces came from the United States and various African allies. Conducted with the goal of improving coordinated operations in East Africa. Notable aspects of the training included discussion-based modules focused on peace-keeping endeavors. [7]

Southern Accord Edit

Annual training exercise sponsored by AFRICOM in conjunction with allied African forces over several years. In 2014 partners also included the United Nation Integrated Training Service and U.S. Army Peacekeeping and Stability Operations Institute. Exercises focused around the goal of peacekeeping. In 2017, Southern Accord was renamed as United Accord. [7]

Cutlass Express Edit

Series of training exercises held at sea off the coast of East Africa. The Cutlass Express series was conducted by the United States Naval Forces Africa, a group within AFRICOM. Exercises performed at this time focused on maritime security, piracy countermeasures and interception of prohibited cargo. Express series included operations Obangame Express, Saharan Express, and Phoenix Express. [7]

How is the Egyptian Air Force able to operate its fleet of mixed origin?

Three French-made Rafale fighter jets, front, fly with other Egyptian Air Force warplanes above the great pyramids in Giza on July 21, 2015. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images) ( AFP via Getty Images )

EGYPT-FRANCE-ARMAMENT-WEAPONRY-DIPLOMACY Three French-made Rafale fighter jets fly with other Egyptian Air Force warplanes, unseen, above Cairo on July 21, 2015. (Khaled Desouki/AFP via Getty Images) (KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images)

Corrections: A previous version of this story misidentified the Mirage 2000 inventory of the Egyptian Air Force. It operates 15 of the fighter jets.

BEIRUT — Egypt’s fleet of military aircraft are able to share data and coordinate activity despite their mixed origins, thanks to a locally made command center, according to an Egyptian armed forces expert.

It’s rare to witness an air force flying fighter jets and helicopters of different origins, but Egypt operates aircraft from Russia, China, the United States and European nations.

“When it comes to the Egyptian Air Force in particular, it is definitely not possible for [American-made] E-2C Hawkeye 2000 early warning aircraft in service, for example, to direct the [Russian-made] MiG-29 fighters and exchange data with them, as is the case with the [American-made] F-16 and [French-made] Rafale fighters,” said Mohamed al-Kenany, a military affairs researcher and defense analyst at the Arab Forum for Analyzing Iranian Policies in Cairo.

“However, data is being shared between the different-origin aircraft through the command-and-control centers that are equipped with dedicated systems capable of linking the various radar, aircraft, sensors, reconnaissance and electronic warfare systems, and integrating all the information and data they receive into a unified system named RISC2.”

The Radar Integration and Surveillance Command Center was made by the Egyptian military’s Research and Development Department Benha Electronics, which is affiliated with the Ministry of Military Production the Military Technical College and the Egyptian Air Defense Forces.

RISC2 The RISC2 is an Egyptian-made system that was introduced during EDEX 2018. (Courtesy of Mohamed al-Kenany) (MO'MEN ESMAT)

RISC2 was introduced during the 2018 Egypt Defence Expo and is meant to automate control-and-command tasks. The platform is equipped with tools for flight planning, control systems for radars and various monitoring sensors (including models from the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Egypt), an automatic flight-tracking system, a network management system, and cybersecurity.

Al-Kenany said in addition to linking aircraft, the system allows the military’s land and sea combat platforms to share data.

“This system enables the dynamic exchange of integrated data with various command-and-control centers, with the next generation of cyber protection systems and firewalls . as well as the Egyptian surface-to-air missile command center to analyze and assess the risks and air threats, and [determine] the type of air defense systems needed to deal with these threats,” he added.

EGYPT-SISI-POLITICS Egyptian Air Force acrobatic jets perform aerial maneuvers with colored smoke as they fly past an Egyptian AH-64 Apache attack helicopter over the capital Cairo on June 2, 2018. (STR/AFP via Getty Images) (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

He hasn’t observed any problems with Egypt’s air defense systems differentiating enemy aircraft from friendly ones. “The various types of IFF [identification friend or foe systems] produced by different companies for Egypt’s armed forces are designed to be compatible with all the systems and equipment operational in the country, and hence identifying their specific frequencies and codes as friendly, which prevents friendly fires,” he explained.

To overcome delays in data sharing, the Air Force looked to the Rafale "to link aircraft of different origins during the flight, since it is equipped not only with Link 16 data links but also with other solutions for non-NATO countries to operate in integrated operational [environments] with all platforms and with friendly combat assets, and airborne command and control, which allows it to operate in harmony with modern Russian fighters operating for the Egyptian Air Force,” al-Kenany explained.

He also pointed to Egypt’s TIBA-1 communications satellite, which was launched onboard an Ariane 5 rocket in November 2019 for government communications and military purposes. He said the satellite will facilitate data sharing between Air Force fighters and helicopter of different origins.

In terms of Western systems, the Egyptian Air Force currently operates 24 Rafale fighter jets (and wants to double that number), 20 F-16 Block 52 fighters, 10 AH-64D Apache Longbow helicopters (with plans to double its inventory), 15 Mirage 2000 jets, and eight early warning E-2C Hawkeye planes.

From the East, the service operates 46 MiG-29M fighter jets, 46 Ka-52 Alligator armed reconnaissance helicopters, and an unknown number of Mi-24 combat multirole helicopters, which first appeared in Egyptian service in 2018. The Air Force also ordered 24 Su-35S Super Flanker jets but has only received five so far, according to Russian media.

RUSSIA-HISTORY-WWII-ANNIVERSARY Russian Kamov Ka-52 Alligator attack helicopters fly over the Kremlin and Red Square in downtown Moscow on May 9, 2020. (Kirill Kudryavtsev/AFP via Getty Images) (KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)

Egypt turned to Russia after the U.S. did not approve its request to acquire roughly two dozen F-35 fighter jets, an Egyptian military official told The Associated Press in 2019. The Russian deal for Su-35s was meant to diversify Egypt’s weapon suppliers because the U.S. has previously stopped military assistance over human rights concerns, said another official.

“Moving to diversify sources of military equipment and especially fighter jets is a direct consequence to embargos from specific countries, or monopoly of technology and refraining from technology transfer,” Lebanese Member of Parliament Wehbe Katicha, a retired Army general, told Defense News.

But the mixed fleet hasn’t significantly impacted training between Egypt and NATO members, al-Kenany said.

“Drills have been going on as scheduled between Egypt and NATO countries, but it is worth noting that I’ve never noticed a Russian aircraft in the drills with Western countries, or a Western aircraft in the drill with Russia. The only exception to this was the presence of Ka-52 with the mistral trainings.”

Egyptian Deal For Rafale Fighters Boosts Data Sharing

BEIRUT: Egypt’s $4.5 billion for 30 new Rafale jets will buy not just more of the French jets, but should improve data sharing across the Mideast powerhouse’s fleet.

Egypt and France’s contract to provide additional jets to Cairo’s Rafale fleet makes it the second-biggest fleet in the world after France, with 54 of the fighters.

Egypt will receive the F3-R version of the Rafale. Its updated software will allow integration of advanced systems including Thales’ Talios new-generation laser designator pod, MBDA’s impressive Meteor long-range air-to-air missile and the laser homing version of the Safran AASM air-to-ground modular weapon.

This may not be the last Rafale purchase. Egyptian sources tell Breaking Defense that Egypt is now eying the F4. “We are looking to increase the number to 72 or 100 units, depending on Egypt’s financial capacity,” they told me. “The new F4 version will have enhanced radar capabilities, and new weapon systems including smart gliders, heavier versions of the AASM Hammer precision-guided munitions and updated MICA NG missiles.”

Validation of the F4 standard is planned for 2024, with some functions coming in 2022. The F4 will include a new predictive maintenance tool known as the prognosis and diagnostic aid system. Other maintenance optimization features are scheduled, particularly with solutions based on big data and artificial intelligence.

“This new order is proof of the unfailing bond that unites Egypt, the first foreign user of the Rafale, as it was for the Mirage 2000, with Dassault Aviation for nearly 50 years,” Eric Trappier, Chairman and CEO of Dassault Aviation said in a statement on May 4. “It is also a tribute to the Rafale’s operational quality, as this is the second time an export customer has chosen to order additional aircraft.”

The order will be financed through a 10-year loan, with the first aircraft delivered three years after the contract takes effect. The estimated cost is $4.5 billion, including associated equipment from French companies MBDA and Safran worth another $240 million, according to the “Disclose” investigative website.

Data Sharing

Military experts believe the new Rafale will improve data sharing with American, Russian, and other European aircraft in service with the Egyptian Air Force.

Military researcher and defense analyst at the Arab Forum for Policy Analysis in Cairo Mohammad Al-Kenany noted that Dassault Aviation provides the ability to integrate different data links, including for Non-NATO allies, an important aspect for Egypt who operates platforms from different origins.

Things do not look complicated for Russian Mig-29 and Su-35 aircraft either.

“The process of linking, exchanging, and sharing data will happen through the ground command and control centers, by receiving and indirectly sharing data between the fighters, various combat platforms and the command-and-control system,” he said, given that these platforms operate within the scope of the ground command and control network.

“If this happens, data sharing between Western and Eastern aircraft will highly increase,” he told me. “Not only will this improve jam resistance and situational awareness, but also increase data throughput and capacity of information exchange.”

The F3R Rafale aircraft has a new and more advanced data link able to exchange information and images with different types of fighters and aircraft. “The aircraft will also be fitted with a new satellite link that increases the operational range of data transfer with the ground command and control stations and monitor all changes through long-range air operations,” he added.

For Western-made fighters, data sharing for Egypt is easy as fighters “carry unified Link-16 tactical data links or connect through early warning platforms currently in service with the Egyptian Air Force, such as E2C Hawkeye AEW & C.

To do so, Egypt relies on its indigenous Radar Integration and Surveillance Center (RISC2), an integrated system that jointly undertakes the tasks of battle management, command and control of air defense and air force units as well as gathering, analyzing and sharing data.

Also, Egypt recently launched Tiba-1 satellite that will be serving both the military communications network and armed forces command and control network while facilitating the process of exchanging data for analysis.

What The Deal Represents

The deal clearly represents a huge leap ahead for Dassault Aviation’s Rafale production line.

“This agreement heavily supports the French military industry in general, and the Rafale’s production line till after 2026 in specific” Al-Kenany said, creating the equivalent of 7,000 jobs in France over three years.

To the Egyptian army, the new fighters will add unique features to the Air Force deterrence capabilities on both tactical and strategic levels.

“The new number of Rafale jets gives the Air Force a bigger capacity to perform precise surgical strikes and access hostile depths, enhancing air sovereignty and reinforcing the Egyptian deterrence system,” Mohamad Hassan, researcher and defense analyst at the Egyptian Center for Strategic Studies explained. “With an operational range of 1,850 km, the Air Force will now be able to counter bigger threats within its strategic field,” he added.

The deal is also a clear message to the US.

“After the US rejected Egypt’s request to acquire 20 F-35 jets back in 2019, Cairo had to look for a fighter with technologies closer to the fifth generation,” Al-Kenany said. “The Air Force still needs to complete its development plans, and with the lack of any American imminent action to develop the existing F-16 fleet, the new fighters will compensate for what we need.”

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