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Vignette: Joint Service Operational Capabilities in North Africa

A situation is happening in the north of Africa between Morocco and Algeria. Guerrilla factions in Algeria are fast rising and taking control of the nation following the toppling of former President Bouteflika. There are two groups, the Armed Islamic Front (AIG) and the Islamic Salvation Army (ISA), that are on the agenda of bringing forth a radicalized Islamic government. Morocco has its own Islamic insurgents that are gaining traction by the day. These have energized their counterparts in Algeria and are in the process of pursuing an agenda of making sure the insurgents take control of the government. They are demanding the stepping down of King Mohammed IV. Tensions are high as an imminent invasion is nigh. This has necessitated the Moroccan government to seek military assistance from the U.S against the impending Algerian invasion.

In this scenario, the assistance from the U.S military could come in two forms. One of them is the Army, the second one is the U.S Navy. Morocco would benefit from two services bearing in mind the strength that might come from their opponents. The deployment of these forces might be passive depending on the number to be given the go-ahead from Whitehouse.

This will mean that that Morocco will also seek its integrated local support to launch a successful onslaught in case of an invasion. The strategic physical positioning of America to Morocco provides a perfect positioning on the forces ability to plan its absorption into the country. The deployment of the American army would be best suited to launch underground attacks. This would require a heavy capability to supplement the host nation just in case deterrence fails. The Army BCT especially the armored BCT would be best suited to supplement the host nation in the open terrain on the eastern dessert. A period of 40 days would be appropriate to get them there as a fighting force. This would require security and intel. This will need resupplying and support. It would be possible to do this with the availability of an inland transportation, a port, and shipping services. The risk involved is the reason for choosing the army over the marines because of the in land terrain that might rough and complex in navigation. On the other hand, Morocco would consider the assistance of the U.K Military forces-The Trafalgar (SSN-107) as a coalition partner that has a day’s preparation time. This would provide an underground reinforcement in conjunction with U.S Army.

The positioning of the Algerian Islamic groups along the border of Morocco and Algeria requires an intensive plan. Information has it that they have strategically positioned themselves in hidden firing positions in the company of 300-km range chemical-capable Scud missiles. Intelligence information also indicates that Algeria can launch a 36-hournotice full-scale invasion into Morocco. The army would be effective in launching a counter move on the plan. On the other hand, there is information that the Islamic militants have dispatched four-kilo submarines through Strait of Gibraltar. This one very powerful move would require the Navy to effectively launch a counter attack strategy to pacify the situation. At the same time, the Navy would come in to launch counter attacks from offshore carriers of the air force dispatched to the Moroccan border by Algeria.

The simultaneous combination of these forces would require a very intensive combined command structure to provide a harmonized working relationship with the likely group of coalition partners. This is one of the challenges most likely to be encountered due to the differences in sophistication on machinery equipment and use due to the differences in communication channels that might be present between the coalition partners.

The other challenge could be the shortage of enough personnel against the forces on the other side since there is no guarantee that America or the coalition partner that is the United Kingdom would provide a high number of its military personnel. The priority of the Army in establishing groundwork tactics would be important because the guerrilla tactics of a ground nature would be more effective for the insurgents and should be hence taken care of with maximum accuracy. It is worth noting that these capabilities have the potential of the disengaging when the national policy dictates so. This is because the host country may arrive at such a decision for varied reasons. The implications would be very big due to the investment in personnel and money involved in the process. That flexibility is very important despite the consequences.

In launching the strategy to counter the invasion of the impending invasion, the Army would be the first in setting structures and counter plans on the ground combing every possible route that could be used by the insurgents. This would set the ground for allowing other capabilities to strategically place themselves for reinforcement purposes like Navy. At the same time, the Army would also prove sustainable as compared to Air Force and Marine Corps. This comes with setting proper and firm structures on the ground. The second deployment would require the Navy at the shore of Morocco surveying closely the Strait of Gibraltar.

It would be an effective strategy bearing in mind the four-kilo submarines sent by Algeria at the Strait of Gibraltar. The Navy should be capable of monitoring and predicting possible workings of the Algerian submarines. The Air force would be the last capability that would come into force and would be very good in reinforcing the efforts on the ground to the army and the Marine Corps. The combined efforts of these forces in an orderly sequence ensure that they complement each other in avoiding the likelihood of either of them running out of strength.

As the United States military forces integrate into Morocco together with other coalition partners, there is a need for a command structure central to these efforts. The biggest challenge in deriving a central command structure is the difference in mode of operation, competence, knowledge of the situation on the ground and level of sophistication in equipment. The best command structure would come from the host nation’s top military personnel after consultations with the individual country top military personnel. It will be combined CTJTF. At the grass root level where the sub commanders are stationed, each group should be able to follow their individual commanders who should be in constant communication with the other commanders. There should be absolute harmonization of the instruction to the personnel to avoid any incidences of conflicting reports and information at both ends. The importance of a proper command structure allows for avoiding the duplication of roles that can sometimes be very disastrous especially in such high-level type of operations.

It is important to ensure that at every point of interaction the command structure comes after consultations with the host nation's command structure and the coalition partners. This ensures that the possibility of inferiority complex or dominance of opinion despite the military strength does not occur. It is important to remember that the host nation is the victim here and can understand and establish the right strategies the enemies might be using hence its voice should be as crucial in carrying out the operation. The host nation has the right to ask coalition partners to disengage from the whole activity if it so feels meaning that the command structure should be very sensitive to this fact. This should, however, be handled with utmost military intelligence.

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