The U.S. government has delivered 54 new Humvee (HMMWV) tactical vehicles to Djibouti as part of a $31 million train-and-equip partnership.
The military vehicles arrived in Djibouti City, this week, seven months ahead of schedule, and were delivered to the Armed Forces of Djibouti (FAD) for use by its Rapid Intervention Battalion (RIB), an advanced infantry battalion being trained and equipped by the U.S. military.
“The U.S. offers our partners, like Djibouti, a unique partnership by investing in their security and economy for the people of Djibouti,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Steven deMilliano, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) deputy director of strategy, engagement, and programs.
The $31 million train-and-equip partnership is facilitated by U.S. Embassy Djibouti, U.S. Africa Command (USAFRICOM), U.S. Army Africa (USARAF) and Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA).
The partnership “reflects the strong, enduring and cooperative relationship enjoyed by the United States and the Republic of Djibouti”, according to a statement from AFRICOM.
“The key to maintaining a trusted partner is through transparency and reliability” said deMilliano. “We are committed to strengthening the defense capability of our Djiboutian partners while ensuring timely and desired support. This delivery, seven months ahead of schedule, demonstrates the capacity and the commitment of the U.S to its partners across the world.”
Training provided by the U.S. to the RIB includes, but is not limited to, light infantry tactics, mission planning, weapons training, first aid, land navigation, communication exercises, and additional advanced instruction.
“With the delivery of these vehicles, we will increase the capability of the RIB to conduct mounted patrols and respond quickly to any mission,” said Army Capt. Michael Simpson, the officer in charge of RIB training. “We are excited to continue building the strong partnership between Djibouti and the U.S. with this new level of operational training.”
AFRICOM’s commitment to growing the defense capabilities of its Djiboutian partners includes increasing its naval patrol capacity through logistics, maintenance and seamanship training. Other support arrangements include engineering and construction support to improve base facilities and local roadways.
Strategically located in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is a key U.S. partner on security, regional stability and humanitarian efforts across the region. Djibouti’s strategic location by the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait, which separates the Gulf of Aden from the Red Sea and controls the approaches to the Suez Canal, has made it a desirable location for foreign military bases.
The U.S. operates its only permanent African military base in Djibouti. The Camp Lemonnier is a Naval Expeditionary Base and is situated next to Djibouti–Ambouli International Airport. The country also hosts Chinese (its only overseas support base), Japanese (its only overseas military base), Italian and French bases.