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Table of Contents
INTRODUCTION ......................................................................................................................................... 1

BREACH OF TRUST...................................................................................................................................... 2

THE AGREEMENT ....................................................................................................................................... 3

FACTS AND FIGURES ON U.S. MILITARY BASES ............................................................................................ 4


What is a Military Base? .................................................................................................................................4
How Many Bases Does the U.S. Have? ...........................................................................................................6
Why So Many Bases? ......................................................................................................................................6

GROWING U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN AFRICA ........................................................................................... 7

THE U.S. AND REALISM............................................................................................................................... 8

UNRESTRICTED WARFARE .......................................................................................................................... 9

POLITICS WITH HOST NATIONS ................................................................................................................. 10

IMPACT OF U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE ON HOST NATIONS .......................................................................... 12

BENEFITS OF HOSTING MILITARY BASES? .................................................................................................. 12

CAN THE AGREEMENT BE RESCINDED? ...................................................................................................... 13

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INTRODUCTION

A U.S. Army War College study titled, “The Impact of Missile Threats on the Reliability of US
Overseas Bases” bluntly declares that, “U.S. national security strategy requires access to
overseas military bases” (Wuthnow, 2005). To this end, the U.S. has been working overtime
to establish bases all over the world.

Captain Jeffrey J. Draeger of the U.S Navy penned the paper, “Overseas Military Bases:
Understanding Host Nation Support” in which he explains that the reason for establishing
bases is about “exerting strategic influence, enable global access and project power when
necessary” (Draeger, 2012). This is why the U.S. wants a base in Ghana—plain and simple.
But what impact does basing have on a host nation? We will look at that later in this piece.

On 19 March 2018, there was an information breach. A confidential document was leaked to
the general public from the Office of the President in Ghana dated 12 March 2018.

Joy News intercepted the document which revealed Cabinet has approved an agreement to
allow the US military an unrestricted access to a host of Ghanaian facilities and wide-ranging
tax exemptions. The deal will permit the U.S. military to use Ghana as a base for staging and
deploying forces. The agreement is titled, “Agreement between the Government of the United
States of America and the Government of the Republic of Ghana on Defence Co-operation, the
status of the United States Forces and Access and Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas in the
Republic of Ghana”. The document defined the United States Forces as the United States
Department of Defence. In Ghanaian parlance, this is equivalent to the Ghana Ministry of
Defence. One of the things this document is about is the establishment of a United States
Military Base within Ghana. The U.S. Embassy responded by saying that the U.S. is not
requesting to build a base in Ghana. However, this only borders on semantics. What is a base?
The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (short title: Joint Pub
1-02 or JP 1-02), defines a base and we’ll compare their definition with the articles in the
Agreement in subsequent sections of this report and see if the Agreement is truly about a base
or not.

The main issue is that the U.S. Department of Defence (DoD) which already has military assets
and personnel in Ghana as per the leaked document, wants to expand its influence and
operations within and from Ghana. This Agreement is to supersede the previous ones with the
Government of Ghana. In subsequent sections, we shall examine different types of bases. AT
that time, shall see if the definition of a base matches the content of the Agreement.

American National Security investigative journalist and historian Nick Turse’s book, “The
Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret Bases, and
Cyberwarfare”, sheds light of U.S. military operations within the continent of Africa. The
book states that the “U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), the Pentagon’s regional military
headquarters that oversees operations in Africa, planned 13 such major joint training exercises
in 2011 from Uganda to South Africa, Senegal to Ghana, including African Lion” (Turse,
2012). The book adds that, “According to 2011 Pentagon documents, the U.S. has personnel

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— some in token numbers, some in more sizeable contingents — deployed in 76 other nations
sometimes counted in the arc of instability: Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad,
Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana…”(Turse, 2012). The books also states that,
“there may, in fact, not be a single nation within the arc of instability, however defined, in
which the United States is without a base or military or intelligence personnel, or where it is
not running agents, sending weapons, conducting covert operations — or at war.” This is
problematic when one considers that the U.S. wants Ghana to sign an agreement that allow
them access and forbids Ghana from knowing what they import or do while within Ghana’s
borders.

Nick Turse is a national security investigative Journalist who holds a PhD from Columbia
University, the recipient of a Ridenhour Prize for Investigative Reporting at the National Press
Club, James Aronson Award for Social Justice Journalism from Hunter College, Guggenheim
fellowship as well as fellowships at New York University’s Center for the United States and
the Cold War, and Harvard University’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

BREACH OF TRUST

Since the leak, there has been a public outcry which has forced the U.S. Ambassador to Ghana
as well as the Ghanaian Minister for Defence to grant public interviews but the media outreach
has not quelled the outcry from the public. The public is still outraged about a number of things
including:

• Why this document and decision was hidden from the public until there was a leak? If
the policy is good for the Ghanaian public, why hide it?
• The Agreement seems to be one sided win-win for the USA and lose-lose for Ghana.
What would Ghana gain from this exchange?
• Is this document not the beginning of the seeding away of national sovereignty?
• Would such a policy not put Ghana, a relatively peaceful and stable economy in the
sub-region, on a collision course with Islamic extremist terrorist organizations?

The situation has also brought up greater governance issues such as the penchant of recent
government administrations to cut deals on the blindside of the public either with the U.S.
government or their companies—springing them up on the public at the last moment. Examples
include:

• when the former government administration cut a deal with the U.S. Government to
resettle former Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detainees in Ghana. The public found out
through a leak of documents similarly to the current ongoing saga
• when the current government administration cut a deal with ExxonMobil which gave
away 85 percent of national assets to this company while retaining 15 percent for the
nation

The current saga with the attempt to set up a U.S. military base is the latest. Democracy comes
from the fusion of two words—“Demos or the public” and “Kratia or power”. In Kingdoms,

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dominion and sovereignty resides in the King but in democracies, they reside in the public or
the people. In democracies, government officials are not Lords but servants of the public.
This is why the preamble of nations 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana reads:

“IN THE NAME OF THE ALMIGHTY GOD, We the People of Ghana, IN


EXERCISE of our natural and inalienable right to establish a framework of
government…” (Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992)

This tells us that government does not exist on its own. It is established by the people and the
people can dissolve it if the people deem the government unfit or treacherous. The constitution
further adds in article 1(1) (Chapter one) that:

“The Sovereignty of Ghana resides in the people of Ghana in whose name and for
whose welfare the powers of government are to be exercised in the manner and within
the limits laid down in this Constitution” (Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, 1992).

It is thus a bit disconcerting when governments take major posterity impacting decisions
without recourse to the people. One may retort that, this is the essence for the existence of
parliament. Parliament has evidently not always been the voice of the masses. The current
president upon assuming office told both the legislature and judiciary how far they had fallen
below what is required of them and asked that they reform themselves while he also
championed the reform of the executive. There are MPs who seldom visit their constituents to
know their thoughts on issues. The point is, the Ghanaian public would have liked to be
onboard from the start and not have such sensitive decisions made on their blind side. What is
the point in being a servant if the servant does not serve the interests of the majority of the
sovereign i.e. the public. Strategic Management teaches that to make certain decisions without
adequate stakeholder consultation will result in discontent. Is it that the government of Ghana
does not care about what the public thinks or it simply made a mistake? No one can tell for
sure, but it will do the government good to be reminded that their appointment is by the people
and that the people can remove them if they act in a way perceived as incompetent or
treacherous by their appointing authority.

Backtracking to the issue of establishing a U.S. Military base in Ghana, much of the discourse
is now on sentiments. This article will attempt to introduce some facts.

THE AGREEMENT

The U.S. Ambassador says the agreement is not about the establishment of a base. But it
amounts to that. The Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms
(short title: Joint Pub 1-02 or JP 1-02), defines a base as:

1. A locality from which operations are projected or supported.


2. An area or locality containing installations which provide logistic or other support. See
also establishment.
3. (DOD only) Home airfield or home carrier

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(Joint Publication 1-02: Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated
Terms, As Amended Through 15 June 2015, 2015)

The third edition of the Dictionary of Military Terms defines a base as, “a secure location from
which military operations can be conducted”(Bowyer, 2005).

The Agreement between the Government of the United States of America and the Government
of the Republic of Ghana on Defence Co-operation, the status of the United States Forces and
Access and Use of Agreed Facilities and Areas In the Republic of Ghana asks for facilities and
areas from which the U.S. DoD and its forces and contractors can launch operations. At these
locations, they will have installations which provide logistic or other support. This is the
definition of a base. Let us have a closer look at the Agreement.

The leaked Agreement among other things is requesting Ghana to grant the U.S. DoD, its
constituent organizations, property, equipment, personnel rights so they can undertake the
following: training; transit; support and relative activities; refueling of aircraft; landing and
recovery of aircraft; accommodation of personnel; communications; staging and deploying of
forces and materiel; exercises; humanitarian and disaster relief; and other activities as
mutually agreed. The Agreement also requires diplomatic immunity for the military and
civilian personnel who will work at the base. A problem is they are not diplomatic staff in the
real sense of the word. The Agreement seeks unimpeded access to facilities and areas for the
civilian and military personnel as well as U.S. contractors. The U.S. forces get to make
constructions on the areas and fully control access. This definitely fits the definition of a base.

All imports and exports are exempt from inspections, other restrictions, license, customs
duties, taxes or any other charges. The Ghanaian side is simply to expect that the U.S. would
not import or export anything that could endanger Ghanaian lives or security.

Aircrafts, vehicles and vessels used by the U.S Forces may exist, enter and move freely within
the territory of Ghana—Air, Land and Waters. These shall not be subject to landing, parking
or port fees, compulsory pilotage [this may be a clause for UAVs], navigation or overflight
charges, or tolls or other use charges including. These aircrafts, vehicles and vessels shall be
free from boarding or inspection without consent of the U.S. forces authorities. Ghana must
waive all claims to damage or loss or destruction of property or death or injury to military or
civilian personnel. Claims by third parties will be resolved by U.S. Government using U.S.
laws and regulations.

FACTS AND FIGURES ON U.S. MILITARY BASES

We will look at the positive and negative impact of military bases on host countries later in this
piece but for now, lets us acquaint ourselves with what bases are and their numbers.

What is a Military Base?


David Vines, professor of Anthropology, and author of “Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases
Abroad Harm America and the World” writes that, “Definitions and terminology vary widely,
and each of the military’s services has its own preferred vocabulary, including “post,”

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“station,” “camp,” and “fort.” The Pentagon defines its generic term base site as a “physical
(geographic) location”—meaning land, a facility or facilities, or land and facilities— “owned
by, leased to, or otherwise possessed” by an armed service or another component of the
Department of Defense. To avoid linguistic debates and because it’s the simplest and most
widely recognized term, I generally use “base” to mean any place, facility, or installation used
regularly for military purposes of any kind. Understood this way, bases come in all sizes and
shapes, from massive sites in Germany and Japan to small radar facilities in Peru and Puerto
Rico. Other bases include ports and airfields of all sizes, repair facilities, training areas,
nuclear weapons installations, missile testing facilities, arsenals, warehouses, barracks,
military schools, listening and communications posts, and drone bases. While I exclude
checkpoints from my definition, military hospitals and prisons, rehab facilities, paramilitary
bases, and intelligence facilities must also be considered part of the base world because of their
military functions. Even military resorts and recreation”(Vine, 2015).

There are different types of bases. According to an article titled, “American Military Bases in
Africa” the following types of bases exist:

Main Operating Base (MOB) is an overseas, permanently manned, well protected base, used
to support permanently deployed forces, and with robust sea and/or air access.

Forward Operating Location (FOL) is a scalable, "warm" facility that can support sustained
operations, but with only a small permanent presence of support or contractor personnel. A
FOS will host occasional rotational forces and many contain pre-positioned equipment.

Cooperative Security Location (CSL) is a host-nation facility with little or no permanent


U.S. personnel presence, which may contain pre-positioned equipment and/or logistical
arrangements and serve both for security cooperation activities and contingency access (Global
Security, 2017).

In 2015, Nick Turse, disclosed that there are dozens of US military installations in Africa,
besides Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti (Global Security, 2017). These numerous Cooperative
Security Locations (CSLs), Forward Operating Locations (FOLs) and other outposts have been
built by the US in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti,
Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan,
and Uganda. According to the American journalist, US military also had access to locations in
Algeria, Botswana, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Zambia and other
countries.

As per the forgoing, the U.S. does already have military and intelligence presence and
operations in Ghana. What they now want is an expansion and strategic unfettered access. As
to whether they would like to scale up to Main Operating Base (MOB), Forward Operating
Locations (FOS) or Cooperative Security Location (CSL), that is what is yet to be known. But
whatever the case, the U.S. DoD already has a presence in Ghana as attested to by Nick Turse’s
book, “The Changing Face of Empire: Special Ops, Drones, Spies, Proxy Fighters, Secret
Bases, and Cyberwarfare”.

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How Many Bases Does the U.S. Have?
Depending on which author you consult, the U.S. has between 800 to 900 military bases in
over 70 nations of the world. According to David Vine in “Base Nation: How U.S. Military
Bases Abroad Harm America and the World”, using information from the Pentagon, “there are
… 174 U.S. bases in Germany, 113 in Japan, and 83 in South Korea. There are hundreds more
dotting the planet in Aruba and Australia, Bahrain and Bulgaria, Colombia, Kenya, and Qatar,
to name just a few. Worldwide, we have bases in more than seventy countries…At the height
of the U.S. occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the total number of bases, combat outposts,
and checkpoints in those two countries alone topped one thousand. With American troops
largely withdrawn, almost all of those have been shut down. Yet officially, according to the
most recent publicized count, the U.S. military currently still occupies 686 “base sites” outside
the fifty states and Washington, D.C. While 686 is quite a figure, that tally strangely excludes
many well-known U.S. bases, such as those in Kosovo, Kuwait, and Qatar. Less surprisingly,
the Pentagon’s count also excludes secret (or secretive) American bases, such as those reported
in Israel and Saudi Arabia. There are so many bases…By my count, eight hundred is a good
estimate” (Vine, 2015).

He adds, “The Pentagon says that it has just sixty-four “active major installations” overseas
and that most of its base sites are “small installations or locations.” But it defines “small” as
having a reported value of up to $915 million. In other words, small can be not so small” (Vine,
2015).

In a separate article from Global Research titled “The US Military Is Occupying 53 of 54


African Nations” by Rachel Blevins dated October 26, 2017, Former Texas Congressman Ron
Paul remarked that the U.S. is engaged in a war that includes the presence of U.S. troops in
53out of the 54 nations in Africa. “Now, when the Pentagon and the administration have had
some pressure on them, you know, instead of having 100 people there, they’re admitting we
have 6,000 people in Africa, and they even put a number on it. They say ‘we have some military
in 53 of the 54 countries in Africa.’ That’s pretty expansive,” Paul said.” (Blevins, 2017).

Why So Many Bases?


The U.S. has adopted the idea that its foreign posture can deter potential foes. Some call it a
forward posture. A RAND report titled, “Overseas Basing of U.S. Military Forces An
Assessment of Relative Costs and Strategic Benefits” notes that, “An important strategic benefit
often attributed to forward military presence is its contribution to contingency response by
enabling military forces to respond quickly to a wide range of situations and geographic
regions” (Lostumbo et al., 2013). Basing whether on a small or large scale enables the U.S. to
exert strategic influence, enable global access to the U.S. and project U.S. power when
necessary. In summary it is about the protection of U.S. power and hegemony as well as other
strategic national, economic or geostrategic interests. This is what the dominant paradigm in
international relations—realism—champions. More of that in the next two sections.

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GROWING U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE IN AFRICA

According to Nick Turse, “More recently, the headline story, when it comes to the expansion
of the empire of drone bases, has been Africa. For the last decade, the U.S. military has been
operating out of Camp Lemonier, a former French Foreign Legion base in the tiny African
nation of Djibouti. Not long after the attacks of September 11, 2001, it became a base for
Predator drones and has since been used to conduct missions over neighboring Somalia. For
some time, rumors have also been circulating about a secret American base in Ethiopia. In
2011, a U.S. official revealed to the Washington Post that discussions about a drone base there
had been underway for up to four years, “but that plan was delayed because ‘the Ethiopians
were not all that jazzed.’” Now construction is evidently complete.” Turse adds that, the U.S.
has another “base on the Seychelles in the Indian Ocean. A small fleet of Navy and Air Force
drones began operating openly there in 2009 to track pirates in the region’s waters. Classified
diplomatic cables obtained by Wikileaks, however, reveal that those drones have also secretly
been used to carry out missions in Somalia. “Based in a hangar located about a quarter-mile
from the main passenger terminal at the airport,” the Post reports, the base consists of three or
four “Reapers and about 100 U.S. military personnel and contractors, according to the cables”
(Turse, 2012).

The US is building drone bases in locales throughout Africa (Global Security, 2017). A report
from the Washington Post on 20 September 2011 revealed that the United States is expanding
its controversial drone program into Africa, building bases throughout the continent in order to
run unmanned planes over al-Qaeda territories in the ongoing War on Terror”. It adds that,
“U.S. troops are deployed in Lamu, Kenya. The US has built a military air base at Manda Bay
in Kenya. Bases were also said to be either in operation or under construction in Ethiopia, and
another on the island of Victoria in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of Seychelles in
operation since September 2008. According to the BBC, as of 2007 the US was building a
naval base in Sao Tome and Principe to protect its oil interests” (Global Security, 2017).

In a chapter titled, Shadow Wars in Africa in Nick Turse’s book “The Changing Face of
Empire”, Nick explains that there is what is known as the New Spice Route, connecting Europe,
Africa, and Asia. The book defines it as a superpower’s superhighway, on which trucks and
ships shuttle fuel, food, and military equipment through a growing maritime and ground
transportation infrastructure to a network of supply depots, tiny camps, and airfields meant to
service a fast-growing U.S. military presence in Africa … In East African ports, huge metal
shipping containers arrive with the everyday necessities for a military on the make. They’re
then loaded onto trucks that set off down rutted roads toward dusty bases and distant outposts…
[T]he Pentagon and the CIA have been spreading their forces across the continent. Today —
official designations aside — the U.S. maintains a surprising number of bases in Africa. And
“strengthening” African armies turns out to be a truly elastic rubric for what’s going on. Under
President Obama, in fact, operations in Africa have accelerated far beyond the more limited
interventions of the Bush years: a war in Libya; a regional drone campaign with missions run
out of airports and bases in Djibouti, Ethiopia, and the Indian Ocean archipelago nation of
Seychelles; a flotilla of 30 ships in that ocean supporting regional operations; a multi-pronged

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military and CIA campaign against militants in Somalia, including intelligence operations,
training for Somali agents, a secret prison, helicopter attacks, and U.S. commando raids; a
massive influx of cash for counterterrorism operations across East Africa; a possible old-
fashioned air war, carried out on the sly in the region using manned aircraft; tens of millions
of dollars in arms for allied mercenaries and African troops…“Africa … remains a growth area
for the Pentagon … Surveillance planes used for spy missions over Mali, Mauritania, and the
Sahara desert are also flying missions from Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, and plans are
reportedly in the works for a similar base in the newborn nation of South Sudan” (Turse, 2012).

THE U.S. AND REALISM

Modern international diplomacy is still often based on Realist theory and this is true for the US
as well. This theory makes the following assumptions:

1. States are most important actors


2. Unitary-Rational Decision-making
3. International system is anarchic and conflict-prone: often zero-sum situations
4. All States must pursue power to survive
5. States balance against threats
6. Morality has no place in international politics
7. International politics more important than domestic politics.
8. Value Relative over Absolute Gains

These ideas are at the core of the current diplomatic debacle between the USA Government,
Ghana’s Government and its public. Realist thinkers include: Sun Tzu (Ancient China),
Machiavelli (Medieval Italy), Thomas Hobbes (civil war-torn England), Mao Tse Tung
(Communist China) and Hans J. Morgenthau (USA 1950s). Morgenthau is seen in some
academic circles as the father of the international relations field. His views greatly influence
the way the U.S. relates with the world. We cannot exhaust all the 8 assumptions therefore we
will select one and use it to analyze the situation under review.

Let us focus on number 4 i.e. power assumption. Power is a central concept in international
relations. The assumption is that the international system with main actors within this system
being states is anarchic which means, not ordered. To survive states must demonstrate or use
power. Level of power affects state strategies and outcomes of various contests (military
conflicts, economic conflicts, and other negotiations).

Power leads to influence. Power helps a country win international contests. How does this
power manifest or what are its attributes? What must the U.S. have in order to be known as a
power-ful state?

Attributes of Power

• Military capabilities (troops, technology)


• Size of economy (GDP),
• Sophistication of economy and technology

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• Population,
• Geography (few borders, mountains, location)
• Internal cohesion (stability)
• Patriotism
• Natural resources (oil, minerals, food)
• Reputation
• Education, information
• Alliances (sometimes unpredictable).

Some of these attributes are tangible, such as military capabilities and natural resources,
while others are intangible such as patriotism and reputation.

By power projection we mean the ability to deploy troops around the world as well as
deliver a full-scale nuclear attack.

UNRESTRICTED WARFARE

The U.S. had a rude awakening on September 11, 2001 in what is known as 9/11. Whiles their
guard was down because they limited their view of national Defence to traditional means,
terrorists used their blind side to hit them. Since then they have been on a path to either crush
extremists or fend off attacks on national soil by taking the fight out into the world—depending
on how you view it. The Agreement with Ghana is framed as though they would like to help
provide security for states within this region but the truth is it is about the zero-sum game of
protecting U.S. interests. Islamic Jihadist have only two main enemies—The U.S. and Israel—
and those who they believe support them.

Multiplying bases may not be the best way of winning the war on terror.

In the book Unrestricted Warfare written by two Chinese Army colonels, the U.S. was warned
of a possible attack on the twin towers by Islamic terrorists but the warning like others went
unheeded. They explained why such an attack could happen and the unpreparedness of the U.S.
Defence forces for it. The Colonels Steven Maizi and Thomas Kaiweite of the Strategic
Institute of the Army War College brought forth the problem of "the frequency band width of
the new military revolution" (Liang & Xiangsui, 1999). They discovered there was a gap
between the American military in terms of military thought and the real threat facing national
security. Upon realizing the threat after the fact, one strategy has been to shut down some bases
while opening others.

Here is what the colonels had to say:

Whether it be the intrusions of hackers, a major explosion at the World Trade Center,
or a bombing attack by bin Laden, all of these greatly exceed the frequency band widths
understood by the American military. The American military is naturally inadequately
prepared to deal with this type of enemy psychologically, in terms or measures, and
especially as regards military thinking and the methods of operation derived from this.
This is because they have never taken into consideration and have even refused to

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consider means that are contrary to tradition and to select measures of operation other
than military means. This will naturally not allow them to add and combine the two
into new measures and new methods of operation. In actuality, it only requires
broadening one's outlook a little and being uninhibited in thought to be able to avail
oneself of the lever of the great volumes of new technology and new factors springing
up from the age of integrated technology, thus prying loose the wheel of the military
revolution rusted as a result of lagging behind in terms of thinking. We can here
appreciate the deep significance of the old saying, "a stone from other hills may serve
to polish the jade of this one." It would be well if we were somewhat bold and
completely mixed up the cards in our hand, combined them again, and saw what the
result would be (Liang & Xiangsui, 1999).

Basically, the colonels are saying the U.S. sees traditional military power as the major tool to
deter or combat threats. However, there are other “means that are contrary to tradition” and
“measures of operation other than military means”. The combination of these with some
military may be where the answer to the threats lies. The U.S. of course thinks military
dominance is the key—hence the proliferation of bases.

POLITICS WITH HOST NATIONS

With regards to establishing bases or strategic locations from which U.S. forces operate,
Captain Jeffrey J. Draeger of the U.S Navy has written on the “Overseas Military Bases:
Understanding Host Nation Support”. He knows about host nations interests. He assumed
command of VP-26 in 2010 while deployed in support of U.S. Africa, Central, European and
Southern Commands. The squadron completed a homeport change and supported Operation
Odyssey Dawn before he relinquished command in 2011 and reported to the Air War College.

His paper is the property of the U.S government. It states, “While basing requirements have
changed in the wake of the Cold War, it is clear that a forward U.S. defense posture, including
overseas bases and security partnerships, will remain essential to exert strategic influence,
enable global access and project power when necessary…Therefore, understanding host nation
interests and concerns when it comes to the presence of U.S. forces is critically important…The
investigation shows that economics can play an influential role in host nation decision-making.
Moreover, it finds that the greatest threat to establishing and maintaining overseas bases may
be U.S. policies and deliberate or unsanctioned behavior as interpreted within the political
context of host nations” (Draeger, 2012).

From his paper we deduce basing is about exerting strategic influence, enable global access
and project power when necessary.

He concludes the paper thus, “Based on observations of globalization’s effects and takeaways
from an operational experience highlighting the intricacies of basing agreements, I concluded
that host nation economic considerations and political interpretation of U.S. policies and
behavior have become the principal factors in determining foreign support for U.S. bases.
Considering the situations analyzed here, it appears that economic interests can apply

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significant pressure in some cases, though not necessarily overriding influence on nations
wrestling with the sovereign imposition that comes with base sponsorship. What all three cases
do suggest is that the aggregate impact of U.S. presence, policies and conduct – as it resonates
in the political context unique to each host nation – prevails in cases where opposition amasses
to the point of threatening a previously agreeable hosting relationship tied to national security,
economic or other objectives” (Draeger, 2012).

This is the exact situation Ghana has on its hands right now. Though the leaked document did
not contain the economic incentive GIVEN to apply pressure on the Ghanaian government,
after the public outcry the U.S. ambassador came out to state that it is 20 million dollars. The
paper also cites the arguments flying around in the Ghana media space even though it was
written a while back. It states the host nations will wrestle with the “sovereign imposition” that
comes with base sponsorship, an argument which the likes of Mr. Kwesi Pratt have made. The
paper also explains the opposition to the base sponsorship that amasses to the point of
threatening a previously agreeable hosting relationship tied to national security, economic or
other objectives. This is what is transpiring in Ghana now. I dare say the U.S. embassy has
failed in allaying the fears and opposition of the masses.

The U.S. diplomats working on expanding the reach of its DoD in Ghana would do well to
heed some of the recommendations in Captain Jeffrey J. Draeger’s paper. They include:

Seek the fullest possible contextual understanding of current and prospective host
nations, suggesting that another nation’s willingness to host U.S. forces should not be
taken for granted. [A new base] should a base be hastily established and built up at
great expense without fully considering its ability to pay national security dividends
under anticipated circumstances, especially those that may require resilient host nation
support (Draeger, 2012).

The willingness does not rest in the political elite but the people. It does not appear the
diplomats of the U.S. in Accra understand this. The paper made mention of situations like with
Saudi Arabia and others where “intense anti-American sentiment tied to U.S. policies and
behaviors fueled domestic political opposition that eclipsed the national security value of
hosting U.S. forces as well as near term consequences for the relationship. The royal family’s
political sense eventually required the departure of U.S. personnel”. The ambassador may not
understand that he must work towards the public’s willingness.

Find ways to minimize the perceived presence associated with U.S. overseas bases and
convey respect for host nation sovereignty will be increasingly important in the future
(Draeger, 2012)

Find ways to synchronize U.S. and host nation objectives within an evolving context
reflecting both nations’ perspectives (Draeger, 2012).

The entire agreement and the process through which it is being pushed does not create a
perception of respect for host nation sovereignty. The agreement is lopsided in the favor of
U.S. military forward posture and interests.

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IMPACT OF U.S. MILITARY PRESENCE ON HOST NATIONS

The Okinawa Prefectural Government authored a report titled, “US Military Base Issues In
Okinawa”. The report complained that the base was located “in the midst of a densely
populated area and does not have established clear zones, which are necessary for safety in the
areas near the runway. Schools, hospitals and other public facilities surround the Air Station,
together with a great number of private homes”. It adds, “On August 13, 2004, a US Marine
CorpsCH-53D helicopter crashed into the Okinawa International University” (Okinawa
Prefectural Government, 2011).

The report continues:

• In Sept. 1995, three US service members abducted and raped an elementary school girl.
• Another incident involving a minor occurred in Feb. 2008. A Marine Corps Staff
Sergeant was court-martialed and convicted for sexual abuse.
• Average of 23 incidents or accidents per month, including traffic-related.
• In addition, there are daily aircraft noise emissions (at times exceeding 100db!) and
other adverse environmental impacts associated with US Forces training.
• For 66 years since the end of WWII, the excessive weight of the vast US military bases
on Okinawa, and the numerous issues associated with them, continue to weigh down
heavily on the shoulders of the citizens

The above are some of the negatives. Are there positives? It is possible if the U.S. was willing
to transfer skills, knowledge and abilities to host nations.

BENEFITS OF HOSTING MILITARY BASES?

Why do host nations allow the U.S. to set up military bases on their soil when they can never
be allowed to set up one on U.S. soil? There are multiple perceived benefits. Let us consider
the one that politicians are likely to go for the most—economic benefits. It is assumed that if a
military base come into a nation, that comes with economic benefits because they may buy
from within the state or community.

Researchers at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB), Department of Economics wrote a paper


titled, “The Regional Economic Effects of Military Base Realignments and Closures in
Germany” in which they sought to investigate the economic impact of base closures on the
immediate communities. The paper states that, “econometrics-based research such as Krizan
[1998], Hooker and Knetter [2001], and Poppert and Herzog Jr. [2003] for the US and
Andersson, Lundberg and Sjostrom [2007] for Sweden have been quite unambiguous in their
findings: that the base closures had either no significant regional impact or a small impact
that quickly vanishes over time”. The Ruhr study’s own conclusion was, “We find that in
Germany, base closures hardly made a dent on the local economy. Base closures that happened
as part of the modernization of the German armed forces beginning in 2003 have had no
significant socioeconomic impact on its surrounding community” (Lee, 2016). If closing a base

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had little or no impact on surrounding economy, then the base base’s contributing to that
community was not anything to write home about.

What then does Ghana gain from this Agreement? The U.S. Ambassador alludes to that in the
following statement: “20 million dollars being invested in the Ghanaian Armed Forces in one
year is a pretty significant return”. First, it’s not for him to tell Ghana what is good or not. And
giving the Ghanaian Armed Forces this sum in training, equipment or however The U.S.
decides to remit it does not put the citizenry, the actual sovereign of this republic at ease.

Better stakeholder consultation and consensus building should have been done. The
Government of Ghana should depart from the opaque way in which it takes decisions of major
importance to the public which employ them. At present, until further facts and figures are
available, this Agreement does not serve Ghana’s national interest. It does however serve the
U.S.’ Going ahead with it could also potentially impact negatively on the relative peace and
stability Ghana currently enjoys. All of the above notwithstanding, the Parliament of Ghana
has ratified the agreement.

CAN THE AGREEMENT BE RESCINDED?

The U.S. used to have a base in Ecuador. When the lease was coming to an end, “U.S.
unwillingness to negotiate more agreeable terms and perceived U.S. meddling encouraged anti-
American sentiment that necessitated lease termination” (Draeger, 2012). In Saudi Arabia,
“intense anti-American sentiment tied to U.S. policies and behaviors fueled domestic political
opposition that eclipsed the national security value of hosting U.S. forces as well as near term
consequences for the relationship. The royal family’s political sense eventually required the
departure of U.S. personnel” (Draeger, 2012). In Japan, the “inhabitants of Okinawa and the
GOJ express economic concerns pertaining to the future of Futenma, Local opposition seems
to stem primarily from resentment of the prolonged and disproportionate U.S. presence that
involves various operational impacts and occasional behavioral incidents. This has fostered a
degree of anti-Americanism on Okinawa that is likely to grow if not addressed and increasing
tensions may jeopardize the larger U.S.-Japan alliance. The recent agreement to move several
thousand Marines off the island despite an impasse over relocation of the base is likely intended
to avert that costly outcome” (Draeger, 2012).

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