16 May 2013

Pentagon Shuffling Units in the Med - Syria or Libya?

Foreign Policy's E-ring blog has a note about the reshuffling of units in the Med and that they're focused on Libya, not Syria.

With security deteriorating in Tripoli, Libya, the U.S. has shifted several dozen U.S. Marines and assault aircraft of the rapid response force that just arrived in Spain eastward to Sigonella, Italy.

The Pentagon's spokesman called the move a precautionary measure but would not say it was directly tied to Tripoli, which foreign diplomats and oil companies recently have begun evacuating. On Monday a car bomb reportedly exploded outside a hospital in Benghazi, killing 10 people.

The shift to Naval Station Signoella marks the first assignment for the response force -- a group of 550 Marines and six MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, which only arrived at Moron Air Base two weeks ago. A defense official told the E-Ring that the number of personnel moved from Moron totaled "less than 100."

Call them the Benghazi Unit. Officially dubbed Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response, the unit was created specifically as the Pentagon's answer to congressional criticism that troops were not available in Europe or Africa to respond quickly enough to the September 11, 2012, attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi that killed four Americans.

The unit falls under Africa Command's purview and Marine Corps Commandant Jim Amos told Congress to expect they will be moving around Africa.

By: Brant

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