A planned reduction to the US military’s footprint in Africa will not affect its operations across the continent, the head of the US Army in Africa said on Tuesday. The Pentagon announced in November it will trim about 10% of the 7,200 US troops in Africa as part of a broader shift in focus towards “Great Power” competitors such as China and Russia. Maj-Gen Roger Cloutier, whose command oversees about 2,000 soldiers working in about 40 African nations, said some partner militaries have expressed concerns when they learnt of what the Pentagon calls “optimisation”. “They’re concerned, when [they] hear that,” Cloutier said. “It could be confused as somehow the United States is withdrawing from Africa, and that’s not the case. I can tell you that we are more involved than we’ve ever been.” Unlike special operations forces that sometimes see combat against jihadist groups, such as in Somalia, soldiers from Cloutier’s command work across Africa to provide training and assistance to partne...

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