Jan 9, 2016

Chabelley Airfield in Djibouti The small airstrip that is the future of America’s way of war

The Pentagon is quietly building up a small airstrip in a remote region of east Africa as part of its war against Islamic militants. More importantly, the airfield is a complex microcosm of how Washington runs military operations overseas — and how America’s way of war will probably look for the foreseeable future.
Chabelley Airfield is less than 10 miles from the capital of the small African nation of Djibouti. The small airport is the hub for America’s drone operations in the nearby hotspots of Somalia and Yemen.
But in spite of all of this, Chabelley isn’t what it might otherwise seem – at least not officially. You see, the site is not technically an American base.
“Chebelley [as the Pentagon likes to spell it] was categorized by the U.S. Global Defense Posture Report to Congress as an enduring Cooperative Security Location based upon the U.S. strategic interests in maintaining access for the foreseeable future.”
In plain English, Washington does not own the site, sometimes referred to by the acronym CSL. In contrast to the big American bases in Europe and Asia during the Cold War, the Pentagon has favored cutting deals with countries for access to existing runways and ports in its fight against militants around the globe something that make sense in an era of shrinking budgets

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