US military advisory teams from the Army, Navy, and Marines are working to train Somali forces across Somalia with the ultimate goals of defeating al-Shabaab, stabilizing the nation, and extending the control and capacity of the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS).
There have been tremendous advances in the stability and security of Somalia over the past several years and the FGS is extending governance beyond the few population centers it controlled just a few years ago. Leading this effort and the country’s counterterrorism operations are the various elements of the Somali national security forces. Along with their US advisors, they have been able to eject al-Shabaab from areas they previously held, diminish their ability to conduct attacks, and erode popular support for the group.
Despite recent victories, al-Shabaab still operates in many areas of Somalia. In the north, AS recruits, trains, and refits, whereas in the south –the group’s primary operational focus–they conduct complex attacks, control territory, extort funds from local people, and forcibly recruit hundreds of children for training and indoctrination each year. Mogadishu and targets in Kenya are used to build legitimacy, garner international attention, and rally support from the rank and file.
Everywhere AS has a presence, Somali forces are working to counter them. Though US forces provide training and advice, many of these units are ill-equipped and still lack the basic supplies needed to survive on the battlefield, defend against IEDs, protect the local populations they serve, and generally operate effectively. In response to needs identified by US advisors, as well as to complement training provided by US forces, Spirit of America is planning to provide tailored support packages to US partner forces that address their greatest shortfalls: a local police force will get handcuffs, vehicle search mirrors, flashlights, and other police gear; a counterterrorism force will receive GPS, medical supplies, and metal detectors; and a Somali army unit will receive the basic life and hygiene supplies they need to remain healthy and operational throughout a rigorous US-run training cycle.
With your help and generosity, Spirit of America can provide this much-needed support to the brave men and women working to stabilize their country and protect their homes from violent extremists.