Just over one year ago—as is now well known—a platoon of Islamist militants ambushed a team of American and Nigerien soldiers near the Mali-Niger border and killed four Green Berets. Later that month the Weekend edition of USA Today featured the front-page headline: Africa is the new front line on terror. What is not so well known is that, months before, the official U.S. Strategy toward Sub-Saharan Africa expired with nothing to replace it. The lapse left gaps in national strategy. The 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS) does little to fill them, and so allows undue risk. Specifically, its ends, ways, and means toward Africa are not in balance. The ways remain unclear. The paradigm shift of the new way of war demands a new way of strategy (Part I), especially for the Sahel (Part II). Complications heighten strategic risk to operations there (Part III). The national security staff must present a clearer way ahead for U.S. policy concerning northern Africa, particularly one that mitigates the risk inherent in the interplay of the use of U.S. Special Operations Forces (USSOF) and the application of law.