In the aftermath of the deadly ambush that killed four American soldiers near Tongo Tongo, Niger, we outlined the context and background of U.S. Special Forces in Africa and specifically in Niger, examined what happened during the ambush to the best of our ability, and detailed the attempted rescue mission to repatriate La David Johnson. With new information released by the Department of Defense based upon their 6,000-page investigation into the ambush we now know much more and can examine this firefight in far greater detail.

First, it must be noted that the following analysis has the benefit of hindsight, a massive DOD investigation, and other previous reporting on what happened in Niger on October 4th, 2017. ODA 3212 was on the ground that day and had to make difficult decisions under fire based on what information they had on hand at that moment. Today, we have the luxury of looking at the situation from 20,000 feet while examining all available data. This article bases its commentary around the following video while making additional observations.

From the onset it is worth noting how much of AFRICOM and SOCAFRICA‘s command structure is actually based in Germany rather than on the African continent. Would it make a difference if these structures were located in Africa? Perhaps not, but this demonstrates how far removed they are from the cultures and battlefields that these commands preside over are as they are not even in the same theater of operation.