Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Monday ordered an Army review of an investigation into a January 2020 militant assault on the Manda Bay military base in Kenya that killed three Americans and wounded three others.
In a written statement announcing Austin’s decision, his press secretary, John Kirby, did not pinpoint what Austin found lacking in the initial investigation, which was conducted by U.S. Africa Command. By apparent coincidence, Austin plans to meet with Africa Command officials Tuesday in Stuttgart, Germany, as part of a broader tour of Europe to consult with allies and talk to U.S. commanders. He also will meet separately with officials at U.S. European Command, also in Stuttgart.
“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,” Kirby said.
Kirby said that after considering the results of Africa Command’s investigation, which have not been released publicly, Austin decided to order the Army to pick a four-star general to conduct the review. The Army chose Gen. Paul Funk, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command. Funk is an experienced combat veteran who served six deployments in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“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,” Kirby said. “The families impacted deserve nothing less.”
The attack by al-Shabab militants at the Manda Bay base destroyed six aircraft in addition to killing three Americans and wounding three others.
The base, in the Kenyan seaside resort, was overrun by 30 to 40 of the al-Qaida-linked insurgents on Jan. 5, 2020, marking al-Shabab’s first attack against U.S. forces in the East African country. The predawn assault triggered a lengthy firefight and daylong struggle for U.S. and Kenyan forces to search and secure the base.