What is Operation New Normal and why won’t the U.S. military talk about it?
In my latest investigation of shadowy U.S. military missions in Africa, I try to figure out just that. The article begins:
“What is Operation New Normal? It’s a question without an answer, a riddle the U.S. military refuses to solve. It’s a secret operation in Africa that no one knows anything about. Except that someone does. His name is Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee Magee. He lives and breathes Operation New Normal. But he doesn’t want to breath paint fumes or talk to me, so you can’t know anything about it.
Confused? Stay with me.
“Whatever Operation New Normal may be pales in comparison to the real “new normal” for U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The lower-cased variant is bold and muscular. It’s an expeditionary force on a war footing. To the men involved, it’s a story of growth and expansion, new battlefields, ‘combat,’ and ‘war.’ It’s the culmination of years of construction, ingratiation, and interventions, the fruits of wide-eyed expansion and dismal policy failures, the backing of proxies to fight America’s battles, while increasing U.S. personnel and firepower in and around the continent. It is, to quote an officer with AFRICOM, the blossoming of a ‘war-fighting combatant command.’ And unlike Operation New Normal, it’s finally heading for a media outlet near you.”
A compound in Mali, an airfield in Niger, a string of air bases across the north of the continent and more than two years of “war” in Africa. Read my latest article to know what U.S. officials say behind closed doors about the future of U.S. ops in Africa.
Lion Forward Teams? Echo Casemate? Juniper Micron? In my latest piece for TomDispatch, I decode the the U.S. proxy wars in Africa, explore the “French Connection,” and offer a peek at some previously unreleased U.S. military documents that I obtained in reporting this story.