Oct. 25, 2022
Information Suppressing Fire: Repositioning Forces in Somalia
For most Americans, the film Black Hawk Down is the first thing that comes to mind when they think about Somalia. Images of destroyed helicopters and dead U.S. Servicemembers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu are now part of our national memory. Almost three decades later, the Battle of Mogadishu remains one of the most memorable information operations (IO) defeats of the modern U.S. military. Today, America works with the federal government of Somalia to promote stability and to prevent al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliate, from conducting attacks against American interests and the homeland. When Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFRICA) received orders in mid-November 2020 to move all forces out of Somalia by January 15, 2021, the risk of another Black Hawk Down incident was at the forefront of senior leader considerations. Therefore, the main objective of what became Operation Octave Quartz (OOQ) was to safely reposition all U.S. forces in Somalia. Deterrence was critical to mission success.