Kenya: Working to Preserve Peace and Stability
Kenya, with the help of allies, has strengthened its military and counter-terrorism units in efforts to prevent the spread of conflict over its borders and into the county. Surrounded by conflict-ridden countries, Kenya has developed military taskforces dedicated to monitoring borders and preventing terrorist attacks. More recently, Kenya has increased its counter-terrorism efforts in the wake of al-Qaeda- linked insurgent uprisings in neighboring Somalia.
Confronting Terrorism in the Region
- Counterterrorism efforts were strengthened after two Al-Qaeda operatives carried out attacks on U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in 1998.
- The rising power of a militant group called al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia has also added a new security challenge in the region.
- Al-Shabab was founded by Al-Qaeda-trained Somali radicals. It currently has a strong presence in southern and central Somalia.
Counter-Terrorism Resources and Training
- The Kenyan Army worked with the United States to develop a Ranger Strike Force, which includes operations against infiltrators and armed groups.
- The Kenyan Air Force has F-5 fighter aircraft to conduct maritime and counterterrorism surveillance and strike operations.
- The Kenyan Navy received training and equipment from the United States for maritime interdiction operations in territorial waters.
- The United States provides equipment and training to Kenyan security forces, both civilian and military;
- The U.S. military’s Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) collaborated with Antiterrorism Assistance program on maritime operations training. IT also helped form the Regional Maritime Center of Excellence, designed to deal with terrorism and other maritime security issues. Next up, CJTF-HOA will install a Maritime Security and Safety Information System (MSSI);in key positions along the Kenyan coast2
- In April 2009, Kenya signed a deal to allow the United States to install radiation sensors at Mombasa seaport, as part of the U.S.-supported Megaports Initiative of 2003. The sensors would detect nuclear or radiological materials that could be used to build a weapon.2
- Kenya and the United States have strengthened their ties and efforts to meet challenges of al-Qaida and al-Qaida-supported militants in Somalia. Specifically, Kenya is focused on preventing terrorists from smuggling bomb materials.
- Counter-terrorism efforts were strengthened after two al-Qaida operatives carried out attacks on U.S. Embassies in Nairobi and in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania in 1998. The attackers were not detained, likely due to an al-Qaida’s support network in the coastal region of Kenya and in parts of Nairobi.
- The rising power of a militant group called al-Shabab in neighboring Somalia has also added a new security challenge in the region. Al-Shabab was founded several years ago by al-Qaida-trained Somali radicals and now has a strong presence in southern and central Somalia. Kenyans fear an increase in roadside and suicide bomb attacks.2
Military Resources and Training:
- The Kenyan Air Force has F-5 fighter aircraft in order to conduct maritime and counterterrorism surveillance and strike operations;
- The Kenyan Navy received training and equipment from the United States for maritime interdiction operations in territorial waters;
- The Maritime Police Unit and other agencies received equipment and training for coastal security from the State Department’s Antiterrorism Assistance program (ATA).2
Military Strength by Numbers
- Manpower available for military service:
- Males age16-49: 9,044,685
- Females age 16-49: 8,805,736
- Manpower fit for military service:
- Males age 16-49: 5935,480
- Females age 16-49: 5,66,755
- Military expenditures: 2.8% of GDP (2006)1
1 CIA Factbook: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/KE.html
2 Department of State: http://www.state.gov/s/ct/rls/crt/2008/122412.htm
3 Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kenya_%E2%80%93_United_States_relations