Camp Lemonnier Case Study


Monica Giannone and Lara SanPietro

Camp Lemonnier is a two-party negotiation over a land lease for a military installment (“Camp Lemonnier”) in the country of Djibouti between the Djiboutian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and the United States Defense Attaché.

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In the spring of 2014, representatives from the United States of America and the Republic of Djibouti were in the midst of renegotiations over Camp Lemonnier, the only permanent U.S. base on the continent of Africa. Djibouti, bordering Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, has been home to Camp Lemonnier since the September 11, 2001 attacks prompted the United States to seek a temporary staging ground for U.S. Marines in the region. Since then, Camp Lemonnier has expanded to nearly 500 acres and a base of unparalleled importance, in part because it is one of the busiest Predator drone bases outside of the Afghan warzone.

The U.S. is not alone in recognizing the strategic importance of Djibouti. France and Japan have well-established military presences and launch operations from the Djibouti-Ambouli International airport, as well. As of spring 2014, Russia was also reportedly vying for a similar land lease in the country.

Tensions between the United States and Djibouti have flared in recent years, due in large part to a string of collisions and close calls because of Djiboutian air-traffic controllers’ job performance at the airport. Americans have complained about the training of air-traffic controllers at the commercial airport. Additionally, labor disputes have arisen at the base where the United States is one of the largest non-government employers within the country.

Major lessons of this case study include:

  • Defining BATNA: what is each party’s BATNA?
  • Understanding the Zone of Possible Agreement (ZOPA): what is the ZOPA in this case?
  • The impact of culture in negotiation.
  • Uncovering interests.
  • Principal-agent dynamics.
  • Uncovering sources of power in negotiation.

This case can be paired with the Camp Lemonnier Simulation, available for purchase separately from the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center (TNRC). The simulation is a two-party, multi-issue, fictionalized version of these negotiations.


  • Case Study Part A
  • Case Study Part B
  • Teaching Notes