Operation Observant Compass & the Hunt for Joseph Kony Plussed Up

The Washington Post has reported that President Obama has significantly plussed up the efforts to hunt Joseph Kony of the Lord’s Resistance Army.  In addition to the 100 military advisors already deployed to the region to aid the African Union Regional Task Force, the United States is apparently sending something in the range of four Osprey aircraft (which boast both vertical and short takeoff and landing capabilities) for troop transport, as well as additional refueling aircraft and 150 Air Force Special Operations forces.  The new aircraft, which the U.S. Department of Defense recommended adding to the mission in October 2013, will aid the Task Force in traversing a wider terrain and responding to LRA sightings more quickly.  The U.S. contingent will be governed by the same rules of engagement that allow for the provision of information, advice, and assistance, but only defensive uses of force.  The operation will be launched from Uganda, despite U.S. criticism of the country’s new anti-LGBT legislation (see our coverage here).  More on Observant Compass is available here.

Our backgrounder on the Lord’s Resistance Army fugitives and previous efforts dedicated to their capture is available here.  At the time this backgrounder was written there were rumors of the death of LRA deputy Okot Odhiambo.  Grant Harris, the senior African Affairs Director for the National Security Council, is now on record as saying that those reports are “credible.”  

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About the Author(s)

Beth Van Schaack

Leah Kaplan Visiting Professor of Human Rights, Stanford Law School; Former Deputy to the U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues in the U.S. State Department. All views are her own. Follow her on Twitter (@BethVanSchaack).