US Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF)
US Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) is responsible for coordinating Marine Corps related operations and exercises, to include civil affairs and, when requested, military support to humanitarian assistance. MARFORAF was responsible for the Marine Corps portion of US military support to US foreign policy in all of Africa, except Egypt, where military coordination will remain the responsibility of US Central Command. Activities include senior-leader visits, military exercises, military-to-military contact, and military support, when appropriate and when requested, to humanitarian and civil affairs events throughout Africa. These activities are focused on enabling Africans to provide their own security and stability, which in turn contributes to regional stability and sustained security in Africa and the international community. Additionally, MARFORAF is focused on improving peacekeeping and supporting counter-terrorism capabilities to reduce the threat from organizations committed to violent extremism.
On 1 October 2008, stood up the Marine Corps Forces, Africa (MARFORAF) as a service component command to the newly established United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). Prior to the establishment, MARFORAF Marines, whose headquarters was then based in Panzer Kaserne, had been in the process of integrating responsibilities and missions previously carried out by three separate commands: Marine Corps Forces, Europe (MARFOREUR); Marine Corps Forces, Central Command (MARCENT); and Marine Corps Forces, Pacific (MARFORPAC). At the time of its activation, the commander of MARFOREUR additionally became the commander of MARFORAF.
In June 2009, approximately 400 US military personnel began arriving in Bembereke, Benin to take part in Exercise Shared Accord 09. Exercise Shared Accord was a AFRICOM-sponsored, MARFORAF-planned exercise that supported AFRICOM's Theater Strategic Objectives. The exercise was scheduled to conclude on 25 June 2009, at which time all US forces would return to their home bases at the end of the exercise.
Twenty-three officers from 9 African nations, along with one US officer, graduated from a 12-week introductory intelligence course at the Gendarmerie Academy in December 2009. The course was focused on equipping junior officers with the basic skills to operate a battalion-level military intelligence staff. The Military Intelligence Basic Officer Course Africa (MIBOC-A), which provided training on the basic intelligence cycle, analytic processes, functional staff integration, and how to share information in a multinational environment, was sponsored by AFRICOM and supported by MARFORAF.
A class of 22 students graduated from the first intelligence staff training course taught by personnel from MARFORAF during the work-up to a command post exercise in Morocco on 13 May 2010. The course took place during the early days of Exercise African Lion 2010, a combined US-Moroccan exercise designed to promote interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation's military tactics, techniques and procedures. Exercise African Lion 2010 was an annually scheduled, joint, combined US-Moroccan exercise, coordinated by MARFORAF. It was also the largest exercise in US Africa Command's area of responsibility at that time.
An intelligence team with MARFORAF began sharing intelligence application tactics with about a dozen officers and senior enlisted members of the Armed Forces for the Defense of Mozambique on 29 July 2010. The shared tactics were part of a 5-day course designed to serve as a primer for a command post exercise taking place the following week as part of Exercise Shared Accord 2010, a 10-day event coordinated by MARFORAF, and designed to increase partner nation capacity for peace and stability operations.
In early 2011, MARFORAF received the first wave of new mentors bound for Liberia to participate in Operation Onward Liberty, a Department of State-funded, AFRICOM program aimed at rebuilding the Armed Forces of Liberia. This group represented the first of a batch of what would be about 50 service members, assembled based on their individual talents and experience, tasked with providing Security Force Assistance in support of Liberian Security Sector Reform initiatives. Essentially, the service men and women would provide training and mentorship to the Armed Forces of Liberia.