U.S. weighs how to expand role in Kony hunt
October 29th, 2013
01:26 PM ET

U.S. weighs how to expand role in Kony hunt

By Barbara Starr

In a sign of a potentially expanded role for U.S. special forces in Africa, the Pentagon is considering sending V-22 Osprey aircraft to a base in Uganda for American and African forces to use in assaults on The Lord's Resistance Army, a messianic group led by Joseph Kony, a warlord African forces are trying to capture with the help of the United States.

The V-22, which takes off like a helicopter and flies like an airplane, would increase the distance ground forces can operate, and transport them to targets faster than conventional helicopters, said two U.S. military officials who confirmed details to CNN.

Special forces commanders are making the case the operation needs more mobility than a small number of conventional helicopters can provide currently.

At the same time, the role of U.S. special forces in the Kony hunt has been expanded under a new authorization approved by the White House, both officials said.

This past summer, U.S. troops were authorized for the first time to go on missions in the field with Ugandan and other African forces.

This means after two years of largely advising and assisting African troops where they are based, U.S. forces are now flying on helicopters and providing direct ground support to African units.

But U.S. forces are not allowed to go on patrol where they believe they may see combat and they are only permitted to fire in self-defense.

But as one official said, even with those rules, "you never really know when you are going to encounter combat."

The possibility of sending V-22s was first reported by the Washington Post. No decision has been made, officials said.

Military officials said the Kony mission is just one example of the growing role of special forces in remote or politically sensitive areas of the world where conventional large combat units are impractical.

The recent raids in Libya by the Army's Delta force and in Somalia by Navy SEALs, along with the Kony mission are the most visible indicators of this trend, officials said.

Another option would be to simply send more Army Black Hawk transport helicopters.

Any additional deployments would effectively double the size of the U.S. force already there, which is about 100 troops.

U.S. troops are mainly based in Uganda, although a small number operate out of a remote area in the Central African Republic.

Some V-22 aircraft on their way back to the United States from Afghanistan were expected to be diverted to Africa for the Kony mission, but it was scrubbed due to aircraft maintenance scheduling issues.

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Jim Rome

    War is a business. American defense contractors do these things to make money in the theater of war:

    1) Pour gasoline on foreign conflicts
    2) Politicize foreign conflicts
    3) Incite US involvement either through staged incidents on American soil or abroad. ("A US Marine was killed!")
    4) Send a US "Security Force"
    5) Increase operations until boots are on the ground.
    6) Laugh all the way to the bank.

    Halliburton's stock price has doubled in the last four years alone.

    November 22, 2013 at 4:24 am | Reply
    • Jim Rome

      Quadrupled.

      November 22, 2013 at 4:25 am | Reply
  2. Blasphemer

    We should be hunting for the five dancing Israelis instead.

    November 1, 2013 at 5:40 am | Reply
  3. marcwinger.com

    The LRA has been a problem for a number of years. Considering the limitations of the current situation, I don't see a problem with using superior aircraft. It's just infrastructure support anyway. Locating needles in a haystack for the 2bit African military forces.
    I notice that the article doesn't mention the child soldiers that the LRA employs. This being the reason why the US is involving itself at all. An odd omission of a vital fact.
    Otherwise; it's interesting that these craft can see further deployment.

    October 30, 2013 at 3:27 am | Reply
  4. Centrist

    I would rather someone stump for re election on success against American adversaries than on unaffordable giveaways that had no bi-partisan support and add momentum to the international movement to remove the dollar as the International Monetary Fund reserve currency. I admittedly don't know how the government is structured but I don't think Congressional Tea Partiers make DoD policy decisions at the strategic level. For that I think the credit goes to the Executive Branch and their political appointees and to that end they are to be commended for this one, if it is affordable. Pray for our troops!

    October 29, 2013 at 5:41 pm | Reply
  5. George patton

    Here goes another senseless adventure launched by the right-wing thugs in Washington in order to promote their political careers! The more of these so-called "terrorists" they bag, the more promising their chances of being reelected. In the meantime, they couldn't care less about the everyday problems of the average citizen here in the U.S.!!!

    October 29, 2013 at 4:24 pm | Reply
    • marcwinger.com

      This isn't about the GOP or the Right, Conservatives or the GOP. Didn't you read the article? This is obama & his thugs.

      October 30, 2013 at 3:24 am | Reply
      • George patton

        What do you mean that Obama is not a right-wing thug? Of course he is! His foreign interventionist policies overseas say that!!! Besides, he's those ungodly drones to murder people in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen on a daily basis!

        October 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm |
      • marcwinger.com

        The Left, in the US, is well-known for being able to wage war overseas, for good or bad. This is common knowledge. If you want your left-leaning isolationist views to be understand, maybe it would be a good idea to be able to communicate your opposition to interventions that you don't see as necessary. Lumping things together, in an attempt at forced wit, achieves nothing. I won't be replying further, this in itself is a waste of time.
        Pick up a book.

        October 30, 2013 at 12:40 pm |
    • Really?

      Really? A right wing thug push? Obviously, there is a lack of comprehension and understanding of what your party is doing. This has nothing to do with conservatives. Liberalism at its finest.... always blame some one else without knowing the facts or taking responsibility for your own screw ups.

      October 30, 2013 at 10:08 am | Reply
    • Chris

      I find it funny that you have the Obama haters that call him weak and say he has no backbone and than you have the Obama haters that call him a thug that murders people on a daily basis. Can you people all get together so you can decide if the president is weak or heavy handed cause he can't be both.

      October 30, 2013 at 3:53 pm | Reply
  6. hueycobra6

    Hopefully it'll help them bag his ***.

    October 29, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Reply
    • Blasphemer

      Lets reel in Sharon as well.

      November 1, 2013 at 5:41 am | Reply

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