Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon, Gen. David Rodriguez, head of U.S. Africa Command, said the U.S. is planning a 24-week training program to help the Libyans, as part of a broader international effort to shore up security in the country and region in the aftermath of the 2011 fall of longtime dictator Moammar Gadhafi.
More generally, Rodriguez said his biggest concern as he looks at insurgent activity across northern and eastern Africa is the prospect of another massive attack like the siege at Nairobi's Westgate Mall last September that killed at least 67 people and froze the city for four days.
He said the U.S. effort is aimed at working with the U.N., the African Union and other international groups to help beef up the ability of nations' militaries across the continent.
Rodriguez also said that al-Qaida-linked terror leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar still poses a threat to U.S. interests in the region.
Belmokhtarl, once a leader of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, has been linked to the attack a year ago on a Western-owned gas processing facility near Amendas, Algeria.