Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa

The CJTF-HOA mission is focused on detecting, disrupting, and ultimately defeating transnational terrorist groups operating in the region – denying safe havens, external support, and material assistance for terrorist activity. Additionally, CJTF-HOA will counter the re-emergence of transnational terrorism in the region through civil-military operations and support of non-governmental organization operations – enhancing the long-term stability of the region. Its area of responsibility includes the total airspace and land areas of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Ethiopia in Africa, and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.

CJTF-HOA is comprised of Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, Airmen, civilians and partner nations. In addtion to Civil Affairs missions (drilling wells, medical care, renovation of schools and clinics, etc.), CJTF-HOA also conducts military-to-military training, which includes counterterrorism training

The small country of Djibouti has become an important military hub in the Horn of Africa for the United States over the past several months. Djibouti has allowed the US to build a new command center, as thousands of US troops gather there for the war on terrorism.

In early-November it became clear that the US would send a detachment of Marines to Djibouti to establish Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa. Elements of the 2nd Marine Division and II MEF embarked on board the USS Mount Whitney and began to transit to Djibouti in mid-November 2002.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa passed through the Suez Canal Dec. 8 as they traveled toward northeast Africa. It took approximately 18 hours for the ship to travel through the Suez Canal, and as CJTF -HOA personnel and the ship's crew finished the transit, some of them reflected on their voyage up to this point.

On December 12, 2002, the headquarters for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa arrived on station to oversee operations in support of the global war on terrorism in the Horn of Africa region. Its mission is to detect, disrupt and defeat terrorists who pose an imminent threat to coalition partners in the region. It also works with host nations to deny the reemergence of terrorist cells and activities by supporting international agencies working to enhance long-term stability for the region.

For this operation, the US is defining the Horn of Africa region as the total airspace and land areas out to the high-water mark of Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti and Yemen.

The CJTF headquarters was initiated with about 400 members representing all U.S. armed services, civilian personnel, and coalition force representatives, all aboard the USS Mount Whitney, operating in the Gulf of Aden. The force also includes about 900 personnel at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti, and a small number of liaison personnel working in other parts of the region.

Given organic assets and the capabilities of U.S. Central Command, CJTF-Horn of Africa has the capability and will act upon credible intelligence to attack, destroy and/or capture terrorists and support networks. Command representatives of CJTF-HOA visited all sovereign nations in the region, meeting heads of state in Djibouti, Yemen, Eritrea, and Ethiopia.

While CJTF-HOA did deploy with a relatively small force, Major General Sattler, the then-commander of the task force, stated in January 2003 that if needed the ability to expand the forces used was available by requesting such forces through Central Command.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) began moving all headquarters personnel and equipment from its flagship, USS Mount Whitney in the Gulf of Aden, into facilities at Camp Lemonier in Djibouti on May 6, 2003 in a move expected to take about one week, with completion of the move scheduled for mid-May.

The newly renovated 88-acre camp, a former French Foreign Legion post owned by the Djiboutian government, will now serve as CJTF-HOA's expeditionary headquarters. CJTF-HOA presence in Djibouti and the duration of operations across the region are tied to accomplishment of the counter-terrorism mission, not a fixed period of time.

Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Commander Maj. Gen. John F. Sattler turned over command to Brig. Gen. Mastin M. Robeson, United States Marine Corps, on May 24, 2003 in a ceremony at the CJTF-HOA headquarters in Djibouti.

The CJTF mission will remain focused on detecting, disrupting and defeating transnational terrorism in conjunction with coalition partners across the Horn of Africa.

Along with the arrival of the new commander and the move of the CJTF headquarters to Camp Lemonier, CJTF-HOA has added both personnel and capabilities to the operation in the past month in preparation for future counter-terrorism activities.

More than 300 forces arrived from the 478th Civil Affairs Battalion, Miami, Fla., 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum, N.Y. and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron-461, New River, N.C. in May 2003. As a result, the total CJTF-HOA contingent at Camp Lemonier then numbered more than 1,800, representing all branches of the U.S. armed services, coalition military members and civilian personnel.

As of August 2005, CJTF-HOA was composed of ~1,600 personnel. This included 275 employees of Kellogg, Brown and Root, who provided combat-service support to Camp Lemonier and 400 Soldiers — active-duty, Reserve and National Guard — who composed the bulk of the force.

From September 2003 through March 2005, CJTF-HOA had approximately 1,000 soldiers, many of them in highly specialized units. In addition, it had also renovated 33 schools, eight clinics and five hospitals; dug 11 wells; and conducted nearly 40 medical and veterinary visits.