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Joint Special Operations Task Force - Horn of Africa (JSOTF-HOA)

In December 2005, Joint Special Operations Task Force - Horn of Africa (JSOTF-HOA) was transformed into Special Operations Command and Control Element - Horn of Africa (SOCCE-HOA), as part of an increase in the element's overall force size, though the unit's mission remained the same.

Established in December 2002, Joint Special Operations Task Force - Horn of Africa (JSOTF-HOA) was concerned primarily with supporting various special operations elements, conducting foreign internal defense with host nation units across the Horn of Africa, supporting theater security cooperation, monitoring terrorist groups, and supporting other elements as required. The unit was assigned to Special Operations Command Central (SOCCENT).

JSOTF-HOA grew out of a Crisis Response Element (CRE) established in the region by SOCCENT in Spring 2002. This unit was known either as CRE-HOA or JSOTF-CRE. This unit's mission was mission was to conduct Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) with countries in the Horn of Africa. In addition it performed the CRE function as a quick reaction force. When CJTF-HOA was established in late 2002 and the JSOTF-HOA was subsequently established, the CRE became a part of the new element.

During December 2002 and January 2003, Special Operation Detachment Central (SOD-C) arrived to augment JSOTF-HOA. The special operations detachment concept was new and consisted of experienced National Guard Special Forces Officers and NCOs who served as the JSOTF's core staff. Besides the SOD-C, JSOTF-HOA included an Air Force Special Operations Detachment-Alpha (AFSOD-A), an SF detachment, a SEAL platoon, and a Naval Special Warfare (NSW) rigid inflatable boat (RIB) detachment. The AFSOD-A included 4 MH-53J helicopters and 2 MC-130P fixed-wing aircraft.

JSOTF-HOA planned to increase engagement in CJOA-HOA. However, the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 shifted theater priorities, and in November 2003, JSOTF-HOA's CRE assets were reallocated within the theater. The JSOTF-HOA commander successfully retained command and control capability and a bare bones JSOTF, reduced 87 percent from the original size.

Following the reallocation of resources, JSOTF-HOA focused on the development of long-term operational preparation of the environment. JSOTF-HOA executed theater security cooperation events in the Horn of Africa area of operations and supported personnel recovery operations. JSOTF-HOA devoted its resources to "indirect" operations designed to improve host nation security and counterterrorist capacities.




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