No-Fly Plan for Darfur “Not Operationally Developed”

The precarious humanitarian situation in the Darfur region has elicited harsh criticism from Obama Administration officials and raised the specter of potential creation of a new multi-lateral “no fly zone.” However, according to Gen. Roger Brady, head of US Air Forces in Europe with administrative control of 17th Air Force (Air Forces Africa), a component of the new US Africa Command, planning for such a contingency has not left the gate yet. “I don’t think that idea is probably well enough developed for us to start counting heads as to who might or who might not [participate],” he told the Defense Writers Group in Washington March 26. Brady said the operation would carry inherent challenges due in no small part to the massive distances involved in the region. “That is an idea that has been expressed, [but] I don’t think it’s an idea that has been operationally developed at this point,” he said. USAFE would be key in any such plan since AFRICOM has no permanent assigned forces. President Obama’s naming of retired USAF Maj. Gen. Jonathan Gration as the special envoy to Sudan was spot on, according to Brady, who said, “He’s kind of a natural guy to put in a place like that; … he’s a guy that knows a lot about Africa.”