The Obama administration recently announced that it will sign a new lease to keep a military base in the country of Djibouti, providing a military presence in Africa for the next 20 years. According to The New York Times, this base is the only U.S. military presence on the African continent, and is being pursued to serve as a counter-terrorism bulwark against militancy in Somalia and Yemen. This is further evidence of the far-flung nature of the U.S. military, as life after service for many soldiers brings them back to the U.S. from exotic locations all over the globe. 

Obama administration sees base as a crucial resource in region
"Obviously, Camp Lemonnier is extraordinarily important not only to our work throughout the Horn of Africa but throughout the region," said Obama, as quoted by the news source.

Djibouti is a small East-African country, but many see it as providing strategic value to America's global commitments. For example, All Africa noted that the military installation has been used in the past to coordinate attacks on Al-Qaeda fighters, lending credence to what the source refers to as Obama's view of the installment as "critical" in diminishing militancy in Africa and globally.

"The U.S. has calculated that putting the money into what's seen as a relatively stable country in a very strategic location with access to a lot of unstable countries will pay off both in the near and the long term," said Joe Siegle, research director at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, according to All Africa.

Siegle's comments reflect on the administration's goal to provide more stable environments to countries that have, unfortunately, experienced the devastating effects of war and the lack of the rule of law, inequities that the administration's commitments in Djibouti clearly want to improve. 

Other considerations said to precipitate move to 20-year lease
"More and more oil is being imported there from Africa into the United States, as well as other strategic minerals," said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of Pan-African News Wire, according to the source, "That, in our opinion, is guiding this increased military presence."

Thus, the U.S. seeks to ensure continuity in its military presence in Africa, while also trading resources with the small African country, which may help to expand economic opportunity in the region. This information may be appealing to those involved in providing army benefits, who may desire to see Africa grow, both militarily and economically. 

The Times also noted that the Obama administration's pending 20-year lease came close to encountering awkwardness, as Russia also wanted a small portion of land in the African country, though the Times suggests that the pending agreement between the U.S. and Djibouti seems to preclude any deal with Russia, which has recently drawn the ire of the U.S. and the international community for the kerfuffle in the Ukraine. 

"The Russians came to see us; they wanted facilities in our country," said Mahmoud Ali Youssef, Djibouti's foreign minister, according to the source.

As the U.S. seeks to build solidarity and support in Africa, it also desires to buttress this by providing a significant amount of material aid. The source said that the U.S. plans to invest a billion dollars in the military installation, which may even lead to benefits for veterans who served at the African base. 

"Our relation is a relation of strategic partnership," said Ismail Omar Guelleh, president of Djibouti, according to the source, "The fact that we welcome U.S. forces in our country shows our support for international peace, and for peace in our region as well."

The administration's efforts to burnish the U.S.'s military presence in Africa will be sure to provide interesting commentary in the future, especially regarding U.S. commitments worldwide.