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AFRICOM's Libyan Expedition

How War Will Change the Command's Role on the Continent

Courtesy Reuters

Until Operation Odyssey Dawn began in Libya on March 19, U.S. Africa Command -- the United States’ newest combatant command, established in October 2008 -- was largely untested. There was reason to worry that AFRICOM, which would lead the operation, was too green, and its mandate too soft, for it to perform up to U.S. standards.

Yet in launching the U.S. intervention in Libya, AFRICOM, led by its commander, General Carter Ham, acquitted itself well. On the first day of the operation, it coordinated the combat operations of 11 American warships and dozens of aircraft, fired 110 Tomahawk cruise missiles, and delivered 45 Joint Direct Attack Munitions to ground targets. By March 23, AFRICOM-led coalition forces had steadily expanded the no-fly zone from northwest Libya and parts of central Libya to the entire coastline. And on March 26, AFRICOM began coordinating operations to destroy armored vehicles, effectively (if not with specific intent) providing close

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