The United States plans to establish a major military
presence in Djibouti.
U.S. officials said the Defense Department wants to convert a task force
presence in the North African state into a major military base that would
include fighter-jets and warships. Djibouti is currently the headquarters of
the Horn of Africa task force, part of Central Command.
The Pentagon has sent a team to Djibouti to examine the feasibility of
deploying F-15, F-16 and F/A-18 fighter-jets. Officials said many of the
aircraft would be relocated from the Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia.
The task force based in Djibouti's Camp Lemonier issued a statement that
said the fighter-jets are being considered for deployment in the North
African state. About 1,800 U.S. military personnel Ñ most of them Special
Operations forces Ñ are already in Camp Lemonier, which has been undergoing
a major facelift over the last year.
The U.S. military in Djibouti has been rapidly expanding over the last
year amid Pentagon efforts to find new military bases outside of the Gulf
region. Officials said the Pentagon has explored relocating troops and
military assets in such countries as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.
Officials said Djibouti could serve as a short-term base for U.S.
fighter-jets that are being withdrawn from Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The U.S.
Air Force will maintain a skeleton presence in Prince Sultan by August.