"The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), led by Joseph Kony, is a small, dispersed armed group in central Africa that originated 24 years ago in Uganda. Its infliction of widespread human suffering and its potential threat to regional stability have drawn significant congressional attention. Campaigns by U.S.-based advocacy groups, using social media and other methods, have also spurred policymakers' interest. Despite its Ugandan origins, the LRA currently operates in remote regions of the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic, and South Sudan. When the LRA was based in northern Uganda, the United States provided humanitarian relief and other aid for the war-torn region. As the LRA has moved across central Africa, the United States has taken on a more expansive role in countering its impact. […] The U.S. approach to the LRA raises a number of policy issues, some of which could have implications far beyond central Africa. A key question, for some, is whether the response is commensurate with the level of threat the LRA poses to U.S. interests, and whether the deployment of U.S. military personnel could lead to unintended consequences. More broadly, decisions on this issue could potentially be viewed as a precedent for U.S. responses to similar situations in the future. Other issues for Congress include the timing and rationale for U.S. action; the role and likely duration of U.S. deployments in the region; the benchmarks for success and/or withdrawal of U.S. forces; funding levels for counter-LRA activities and for potential future humanitarian aid and related commitments; and the relative priority of counter-LRA activities compared to other foreign policy and budgetary goals. Other possible policy challenges include regional militaries' capacity and will to conduct U.S.-supported operations, and these militaries' relative level of respect for human rights."
CRS Report for Congress, R42094