"The United States has a growing strategic interest in Africa at a time when the security landscape there is dominated by a wide range of irregular, nonstate threats. Militia factions and armed gangs are ubiquitous in the continent's civil wars, fighting both for and against African governments. Other security challenges include terrorism, drug trafficking, maritime threats such as piracy in the Indian Ocean, and oil bunkering in the Gulf of Guinea. Organized criminal activities, particularly kidnapping, human smuggling and trafficking in persons, weapons smuggling, and environmental and financial crimes, are increasingly brazen and destructive. [...] Engaging African states as reliable partners to confront irregular security challenges will be a complex process requiring a three-pronged strategy. First, there must be substantial, sustained, and continent-wide investment in capacity-building for intelligence, law enforcement, military, prosecutorial, judicial, and penal systems, not to mention their parliamentary, media, and civil society counterparts. Second, until such African capabilities come online and are properly utilized by political leaders, the United States and other foreign partners will need to deploy more of their own intelligence, law enforcement, and special operations personnel to Africa to address terrorist and criminal dynamics that pose a direct and immediate threat to U.S. strategic interests. Third, further efforts are required to harden the political will of African leaders to actually deploy their maturing security sector capabilities in an aggressive manner that abides by the rule of law."
Strategic Forum No. 255
Institute for National Strategic Studies: http://www.ndu.edu/inss/