Five years after the Marine Corps stood up a new land-based unit to respond to threats at U.S. embassies and other emergencies across Africa, the Pentagon’s top watchdog wants to make sure the force has what it takes to carry out its mission.
The Defense Department Inspector General’s office announced last week that it will immediately begin evaluating whether Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa can meet its operational requirements. The study comes months after the unit’s former commander recommended the land-based force be moved back to Navy ships.
The task force, which was created after the deadly 2012 attack on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya, was meant to fill a gap since budget cuts left the Navy and Marine Corps without enough amphibious assault ships to regularly patrol the Mediterranean Sea. But the special-purpose unit was “not designed to be something in perpetuity,” said Col. Sean Salene, who led the response force for seven months last year.