The US military’s Africa Command (Africom) now has access to a crisis response force in the form of the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force, Crisis Response (SP-MAGTF CR). This will respond to events like the deadly 2012 attack on the US consulate in Libya.
According to the US military, SP-MAGTF CR will provide limited defence crisis response in support of US embassies in the Africom area of responsibility, will support non-combatant evacuation operations, humanitarian disaster relief operations, search and rescue and provide recovery capabilities.
Some of its core assets are six MV-22B Osprey tiltrotor aircraft and two KC-130J air refuelling tankers. These recently deployed from Marine Corps Air Station New River in North Carolina to Moron air base in Spain, on April 27. The Ospreys can carry 20-24 personnel with combat equipment over 325 nautical miles at three times the speed of a helicopter.
SP-MAGTF CR comprises a rotational contingent of approximately 500 Marines, sailors and support elements sourced from a variety of Marine Corps units. It will report to the head of Africom, Army General David Rodriguez.
“The intent for the crisis-response force is just that. … It’s to move in and offset whatever challenges there are to our national interests,” Marine Lieutenant General Richard Tryon, deputy commandant for plans, policies and operations told the Marine Corps Times last month.
The SP-MAGTF CR could respond to events like the September 11, 2012, attack on the US consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
SP-MAGTF CR should not be confused with SP-MAGTF Africa, a unit based at Sigonella in Italy which advises, assists and trains militaries in Africa.
The SP-MAGTF CR may also support Marine expeditionary units and Fleet Anti-Terrorism Support Teams (FASTs).