Statement attributable to U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, U.S. Africa Command commander.
I directed the activation of a joint task force, JTF-Quartz, built around the headquarters of Special Operations Command-Africa, to oversee Operation Octave Quartz, the directed re-positioning of U.S. forces from Somalia to other bases in East Africa.
JTF-Quartz is commanded by the SOCAF commander, Maj. Gen. Dag Anderson. I have just returned from visiting him at his forward headquarters in East Africa where I met with Dag and his commanders to review their posture and plans. JTF-Quartz is ready to go.
To be clear, the U.S. is not withdrawing or disengaging from East Africa. We remain committed to helping our African partners build a more secure future. We also remain capable of striking Al-Shabaab at the time and place of our choosing—they should not test us.