On January 5 2012, the secretary of state together with president Obama released the blueprints of the ten-year strategic plan of the DOD. This is after recognizing the fact that the US has been to war for the last decade in Iran and Afghanistan. It is, therefore, vital that the US government comes up with a new Joint Force that will be able to handle and deal with all the threats that the country will face in the next ten years. The focus is in making the Joint Force leaner and smaller but at the same time highly capable and efficient. The Joint force task is to deal with any future threats. To achieve this objective, the government has to invest in its population and ensure that it has a solid industrial base.
To achieve this goal, the President, and the secretary of defense identified the following strategies as the core to achieving its defense objectives (DOD 2012).
Stop terrorism and other irregular warfare- in line with this, the government plans to keep AL Qaeda under constant pressure to achieve a minimization of its terror activities. The government is also to keep an eye on other terrorism groups such as Hezbollah. The other objective is to make Afghanistan a safe country. The Force will also stop any aggression against the United States at all times. This is irrespective of whether the Force has other security obligations.
Worldwide expansions of its power base- the United States government will in the coming years come up with ways of projecting its power to anti-access environments. These efforts are towards penetrating states such as Iran and China that continuously try to deter US invasion in their countries. In line with this, the defense forces must improve its sea and air capabilities, and improve their missiles and stealth bombers.
Stop the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction- force, in conjunction with other elements of the government must stop the use of biological, nuclear and chemical weaponry. The force will do its best to stop Iran from achieving its nuclear goals.
Improvement of its space and cyberspace activities- the defense forces will only be effective, if they have the right information and communication. The government must collaborate well with other nations to ensure the safety of its communication equipment in space.
Support of civil authorities and protection of its borders- the force will ensure the safety of the homeland from internal and external attacks. In line with this, the force must ensure the safety of the United States borders. This is especially critical at times when the US is at war with another country. The force must also help to civil authorities in times of natural and national disasters. Also, the force has capabilities such as airlifts, sea lifts and surveillance equipment, which can provide help domestically and abroad. The defense forces must also ensure that its citizens abroad are safe. The forces should evacuate any of its citizens facing any threats abroad.
Stability and counterinsurgency operations- the government must collaborate with other nations and try to come up with nonviolent ways of achieving peace in war-torn nations. The force will be at bay, but ready to act if dialogue fails. The Department of defense must categorize its activities according to urgency. The department must minimize its overall cost of doing its activities. The department must resize its workforce to ensure cost reduction while at the same time, achieving maximum capability of the force (DOD-1 2012).
Somalia has been a war zone for the past twenty years. The country has not had any stable government for the past two years. Somalia is slowly becoming a lawless community, and unless the United States and the international community intervene, the humanitarian crisis in the country will continue deepening. Although the government of the US provides close to 700,000 Somalis with food and other basic needs, it is still far away from achieving its goal for Somalia. The goal is to have a stable government in Somalia (GAO 2008). In line to achieving this goal, the US needs to set its priorities right. These priorities include among others:
Pile pressure on the Transitional Federal Government
The TFG is the current governing body in Somalia. However, the government has repeatedly failed in putting its house in order. It is overly dependent on the help of the International community. The number one priority for the United States policy to Somalia is the establishment of internal governing structures. These structures must be sound, strong and capable of maintaining a stable country. Because of this, the US support of TFG lies on TFG’s willingness to initiate reconciliation among the warring factions in the country. The TFG should start a dialogue with all the fighting groups in order to get a lasting peace.
Support any African Union peace talks
The United State military has the power and capability to thwart all activities of the rebel groups in Somalia. However, dialogue is more superior to use of force in establishing peace in any nation. Somalia’s peace lies on the ability of clans and businesses to maintain peace among them. The people of Somalia must accept the efforts of African Union troops. If the people oppose the presence of these troops, the likelihood of failure is high. There must be a balance in withdrawal of Ethiopian troops and the emergence of the AU troops. The mandate of these AU troops must be clear, to avoid any conflict.
Urge the UN council to prioritize on Somalia
The situation in Somalia is a pressing one and the UN Security Council should lay an emphasis on achieving security in this region. The council should re-energize the Panel of Experts on Somalia. The UN should also make clear the role of TFG in peace mission, in the country. The US government will also encourage the formation of a group of countries that will keep a keen eye on the security situation in Somalia. These countries are Tanzania, Qatar, UAE, and Saudi Arabia.
The government’s initial pledge of $40 million is far from being adequate to cater for the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. Formation of a Somalia trust fund is vital to ensure a continued flow of funds for achievement of its aims. For full reconstruction of infrastructure and job creation, a constant flow of funds into Somalia is paramount.
Senior policy coordinator of US efforts in Somalia
The two US officials with heavy involvement in Somalia are Michael Ranneberger, the US ambassador to Kenya, and Jendayi Frazer, the assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. However, the job descriptions of these officials are not in Somalia. Therefore, they have divided attention to the situation in Somalia. The US should have an officer whose sole job is to coordinate and report on the situation in Somalia.
The United States Somali Diaspora
There are many Somali citizens living in the United States of America. Estimates of international remittances to Somalia stand at $1 billion every year. The commitment of the diaspora community to peace and reconciliation in Somalia is under no dispute. The hindrance is that even the diaspora Somalis are along clan lines. The focus, therefore, is to unite the diaspora community (FRD 2004). If the diaspora community, unites towards common goals, they would highly help the United States in Somalia.
The plan of the United States bases on the Transitional Federal government. TFG came into being in the year 2004, with a task of transitioning Somalia into a peaceful country. The government was then under the leadership of President Abdullahi Yusuf. However, the people of Somali do not fully accept this government. Somalia, as earlier stated, is a country full of many clans living together. President Yusuf is from one clan, and many Somalians saw this appointment as a way of enforcing the rule of one clan on other people of Somali.
The TFG, however, soon divided into two groups, the Mogadishu group, and Yusuf supporters. Wrangles between the members of each group, however, led to eruption of war in Somalia in 2005. The emergence of ISU (Islamist Court Union) brought peace in Somalia and Mogadishu especially. However, differences within its ranks leads to further collapse of Somalia. ICU turned the devil, and together with the Al shabaab militia group, have been attacking TFG ever since. This war among these three bodies poses a massive deterrent to the activities of TFG. Unless these three bodies unify their operations for the better of Somalia, the US will hardly achieve its goals.
The humanitarian crisis in Somalia is another hindrance to US achievement of its aims and goals of Somalia. The fight displaced more than one million Somalis from their homes. These people live in the cold, with no clothing and no food. Access to medical services is also inadequate. In addition, food prices have skyrocketed owing to the rise in world fuel and grain prices. Counterfeit of the Somali currency by unscrupulous businesspersons means spiraling of inflation levels in the country. This negatively affects the purchasing power of most Somalis. Humanitarian efforts in Somalia are impossible because of the sporadic fighting in Somalia. To solve the humanitarian crisis fully requires a significant and a large amount of fund flow to Somalia. This is something that lacks in the US policy towards Somalia (Katrine 2009).
There is an overlap in the security forces, in Somali. There at least four different security forces in Somali. One of this is the US forces in Somalia that aim at achieving peace in Somalia from a United States perspective. The second is the Ethiopian forces in Somali. The third focuses at ensuring the security of the humanitarian forces in the country. The fourth is African forces in Somali. The withdrawal of Ethiopian troops to pave the way for AU forces considerably leaves a security breach in the country. This greatly undermines the activities of the US forces in the country (John 2002).
There has been a discussion of replacing the AU forces with UN forces in Somalia. The lapse in time during this transition only serves to support rebel groups in Somali. This is a further hindrance to the efforts of States. The US also lacks a complete call on the Somali conflict. The US has to depend on the work and efforts of other bodies for its Somali policy to succeed. If these bodies fail, the strategies of the US also flop. The security Agenda on its borders is also in contrast with the efforts of all bodies in Somali. The country has to guard its bodies under all costs, and may attack Somali militia at any time to protect its citizens. This is a further blow to the peacekeeping efforts of all the peace personnel in the horn of Africa.