The Commanding General of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), General Paul Funk, has been appointed to conduct an independent review of US Africa Command’s investigation into the 5 January, 2020 attack by al-Shabaab on Cooperative Security Location Manda Bay, Kenya that killed a US Army soldier and two American contractors.
The appointment of General Funk to conduct the independent review follows Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin completing his initial review of AFRICOM’s Army Regulation (AR) 15-6 investigation report on the attack. Following the review, Secretary Austin directed the Acting Secretary of the Army to appoint a four-star general officer to conduct an independent review of the AFRICOM investigation, as well as any ongoing inquiries or investigations of AFRICOM’s subordinate commands. In addition to conducting the review, General Funk is tasked with directing any further investigations if they are deemed appropriate, as well as serving as the Consolidated Disposition Authority (CDA) for any appropriate disciplinary actions related to the attack.
In the press statement announcing the review, Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby offered the Pentagon’s condolences for the families of those killed in the attack, saying:
“An independent review will provide added insight, perspective, and the ability to assess the totality of this tragic event involving multiple Military Services and Department of Defense components.
It is the Secretary’s desire to ensure there is a full examination and consideration of the contributing factors that led to this tragic event and that appropriate action is taken to reduce the risk of future occurrence. The families impacted deserve nothing less.”
In addition to killing the three Americans, the al-Shabaab raid destroyed six aircraft, including intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft used to support US special operations in the region, at the cost of eight al-Shabaab fighters confirmed killed. A month after the attack, AFRICOM claimed to have killed the planner of the attack in an airstrike in Somalia.
The Pentagon says that with the start of an independent investigation, it will not issue any public comments on either the findings of the USAFRICOM investigation or the review. However, the next of kin of the deceased will be kept updated, and Congress “appropriately informed” once the investigation is completed.