The US Navy has assembled an impressive fleet of ships off the coast of Somalia that will constitute the maritime component of Joint Task Force-Quartz (JTF-Q), whose mission will be to reposition US armed forces in Somalia to elsewhere in East Africa.
The force repositioning is being undertaken as part of operation Octave Quartz. It is still unclear what the goal of the repositioning is, or to which bases in East Africa the troops would move, but Pentagon noted it would carry out the operation while maintaining pressure on violent extremist organizations in the region.
“To be clear, the US is not withdrawing or disengaging from East Africa. We remain committed to helping our African partners build a more secure future,” US Africa Command Commander, US Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, said. “We also remain capable of striking Al-Shabaab at the time and place of our choosing—they should not test us.”
US Navy ships that are supporting the repositioning include the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), which is led by amphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). The group includes amphibious transport dock ships USS San Diego (LPD 22) and USS Somerset (LPD 25).
”This is a great example of how the United States can rapidly aggregate combat power to respond to emerging issues. We will look to leverage this inherent flexibility of the US military in support of our future engagements in East Africa,” US Air Force Maj. Gen. Dagvin Anderson, JTF-Q commander, said.
“Our Navy and Marine Corps forces afloat off the coast of East Africa represents a premier crisis response force in the region,” said JFMCC Commander US Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Farrell Sullivan. “Together, alongside the Hershel ‘Woody’ Williams, the JFMCC is postured to provide a full spectrum of combat and logistics capabilities in support of the JTF-Quartz mission.”