State Dept-Funded Nonprofit Trains Somali Troops

US Sees Contractor Force as Different From 'Direct' Involvement

The Obama Administration has been ratcheting up its involvement in Somalia in plenty of ways, most notably with the delivery of “tons” of small arms to the self-proclaimed government, many of which wound up on the black market. Still, the mantra for the administration, already involved in so many wars is “we do not want an American footprint or boot on the ground.

Which doesn’t mean that the US won’t lob missiles into the country whenever it feels like it, but for trainers on the ground it gets a little more complicated. Enter “Bancroft Global Development,” a DC non-profit originally started for landmine removal.

But apparently removing landmines isn’t too far afield from teaching the African Union troops responsible for countless civilian deaths in Somalia how to more effectively use sniper rifles, and the US State Department decided to start funding the group for full-scale military training operations.

The distinction between this and actual US military “facilitators” on the ground is a vague one, but enough that it seems to have avoided drawing yet more undesired attention for the US involvement in a disastrous, seemingly interminable AU effort to prop up the “government” nationwide.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.