A discussion with
Col Scott Benedict
Commander, SPMAGTF-CR
US Marine Corps

Moderated by
Steve Grundman
M.A. and George Lund Fellow
Atlantic Council

How does the US Marine Corps conduct crisis response in the Middle East and North Africa, especially now during such a tumultuous period? Colonel Scott Benedict, commander of the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force – Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CR), will discuss the challenges of rapid response in such a vast and dynamic region.

Due to a rapidly changing security environment, US Africa Command stated a requirement for a self-deployable, self-command and controlled crisis response force capable of protecting US citizens, interests, and other designated missions. While under the command of Colonel Benedict, the SPMAGTF-CR evacuated personnel from the US embassy in South Sudan, deployed around the Mediterranean and into Africa as a contingency force, and engaged in bilateral training exercises with French Legionnaires, the Senegalese military, Spanish Legionnaires, and Spain's Ray Alfonso XIII Brigade.

The SPMAGTF-CR, a force that is land-based at Moron Air Base in Spain, but is maritime-capable, has an expeditionary construct, and is capable of conducting crisis response and limited contingency operations. The SPMAGTF-CR is intended to fill the crisis response gap when a Marine Expeditionary Unit is unavailable.  

Colonel Benedict is an AH-1 Cobra pilot who has also served with the Force and Battalion Reconnaissance units. He has participated in contingency operations in Haiti, Bosnia, the Horn of Africa, and Iraq. Colonel Benedict is a graduate of the US Naval Academy and holds master’s degrees from the US Naval War College and the Marine Corps War College.

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