President Barack Obama is proposing about $200 million in new military spending to confront Islamist militants in north and west Africa, U.S. defense officials said ahead of Tuesday’s budget rollouts for the next fiscal year.
U.S. officials declined to specify to which nations the funding would be directed. The disclosure comes as the United States and its allies discuss ways to halt the spread of Islamic State in Libya and elsewhere in Africa from its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The proposed increase in U.S. defense spending for north and west Africa is a component of a larger $7.5 billion Pentagon request for fiscal year 2017 to counter Islamic State.
“The marginal increase is on the order of about $200 million associated with north Africa,” one U.S. defense official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to a small group of reporters.
Another U.S. defense official told Reuters the funds would also be directed to west Africa.
Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Air Force General Paul Selva said the new funding was aimed at addressing threats from militant groups across Africa, including al Shabaab in the east, Boko Haram in the west, and Islamic State in Libya.
“The monies that we’ve put into the budget to address those threats in Africa are to be able to work with indigenous forces as well as partner forces to get at those three particular threats and others that might emerge,” Selva said.
This article was culled from Reuters