French soldiers stand guard near a Reaper drone about to take off from the Nigerian military airport Diori Hamani in Niamey in January 2015. On the east coast of Africa, the Defense Department has contracted for “emergency runway repairs” at Camp Baledogle, Somalia. (Dominique Faget/AFP via Getty Images)
The U.S. Defense Department awarded a more than $12 million contract for “emergency runway repairs” at Camp Baledogle, Somalia, last month.
Camp Baledogle was the subject of a Foreign Policy Magazine exclusive this year in which it was described as a training base for Somali Army commandos. The trainers were reported to be U.S. contractors working for Bancroft Global Development.
Now, the new runway repairs appear to be stepping up the capabilities of the airfield there, and could be the harbinger of an expanding U.S. foot print in Somalia.
U.S. Africa Command confirmed to Air Force Times that it operates the facilities at Camp Baledogle alongside African partners, but remained scant on details regarding what aircraft currently, or are planned, to fly from there.
“These repairs are needed due to years of wear and degradation due to inadequate maintenance,” said Mike Andrews, the public affairs director for Naval Facilities Engineering Command Atlantic, which executed the military construction contract for Camp Baledogle.