March 12, 2019

Plan to charge allies for US troop presence carries risks for Americans in North Africa

Featuring Jim Townsend

Source: Al-Monitor

Journalist Jack Detsch

President Donald Trump’s reported plan to charge allies for US military bases could jeopardize access agreements that were set up after the September 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, to protect US facilities in Africa, former US officials warn.

The administration’s scheme, first detailed by Bloomberg on Friday, would demand Germany and Japan pay the full cost of keeping US troops there — plus another 50%. The requirement could eventually extend to all American allies.

But the proposal casts doubt on US deals negotiated with NATO allies to base special Marine units that could rapidly deploy into Africa as unrest spread throughout Libya after the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, which claimed the lives of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans and sparked several probes in Congress.

“If we lose access to bases in Europe over time, if nations start getting bills, if we lose these bases, it dismantles the base structure … that helps us respond to emergencies,” said Jim Townsend, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for Europe who helped broker the deal to base the Marine Air-Ground Task Force at Moron Air Base in southern Spain. “They’ve really attacked something that’s critical to US national security.”

Read the full article and more in Al-Monitor.

  • Jim Townsend

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    James Joye Townsend Jr. is an adjunct senior fellow in the CNAS Transatlantic Security Program. After eight years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense (DASD) for European ...