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  1. #1
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Africom Stands Up 2006-2017

    Moderator's Note

    There is another thread 'AFRICOM and the perception mess' and this was closed 3rd November 2012:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14537 (ends)


    It is about time we did this. Unified Command divisions of Africa have been a long standing cause of operational confusion. I certainly felt its effects during Op Support Hope and studied the same phenomenon in earlier Congo adventures.

    Tom

    Army Times
    January 23, 2006
    Pg. 23

    Officials Look To Put Africa Under One Watchful Eye

    Continent now split between two commands

    By Gordon Lubold, Times staff writer

    As Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld considers how to reorganize the military to address global threats in coming years, defense officials are exploring the possibility of putting Africa, long split between the U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command, under one unified command.

    Such a move has been discussed for years, but as U.S. operations evolve in the Horn of Africa, officials say the time has arrived to do something.

    Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, said the area of responsibility for the Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, could be expanded to include all of Africa. The move could take advantage of the fact that the command structure is already in place in Djibouti, and there would be no need to create additional staffs.

    “It seems to give us an opportunity,” Whelan said from her Pentagon office. “It opens a door for us potentially to look at … and work in Africa in a new and different way, and I think we ought to examine it.”

    Whelan, respected in and outside the Pentagon for her experience of more than a dozen years working African issues, said the joint task force in the Horn of Africa has evolved many times since it was created and, given the situation on the ground in the region, it may be time for it to evolve some more.

    Africa, an operational backwater for the U.S. since the botched operation in Somalia in 1993, is becoming increasingly relevant in the war on terrorism, officials say. Experts say that terrorist groups, squeezed out of places like Iraq and Afghanistan are moving to areas in North and West Africa and elsewhere. Many nations cannot effectively govern themselves, leaving a welcome mat for terrorist groups.
    The ebird link is http://ebird.afis.mil/ebfiles/e20060118411954.html
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 11-03-2012 at 06:53 PM. Reason: Mod's note

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    Default Counterterrorism in African Failed States

    Counterterrorism in African Failed States: Challenges and Potential Solutions
    Failed states offer attractive venues for terrorist groups seeking to evade counterterrorism efforts of the United States and its partners in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). State failure entails, among its other features, the disintegration and criminalization of public security forces, the collapse of the state administrative structure responsible for overseeing those forces, and the erosion of infrastructure that supports their effective operation. These circumstances make identification of terrorist groups operating within failed states very difficult, and action against such groups, once identified, problematic.

    Terrorist groups that are the focus of the current GWOT display the characteristics of a network organization with two very different types of cells: terrorist nodes and terrorist hubs. Terrorist nodes are small, closely knit local cells that actually commit terrorist acts in the areas in which they are active. Terrorist hubs provide ideological guidance, financial support, and access to resources enabling node attacks. An examination of three failed states in Sub-Saharan Africa—Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Somalia—reveals the presence of both types of cells and furnishes a context for assessing the threat they pose to the national interests of the United States and its partners.

    Al Qaeda established terrorist hubs in Liberia and Sierra Leone to exploit the illegal diamond trade, laundering money, and building connections with organized crime and the illegal arms trade. In Somalia, Al Qaeda and Al Ittihad Al Islami established terrorist hubs that supported terrorist operations throughout East Africa. A new organization led by Aden Hashi ’Ayro recruited terrorist nodes that executed a series of attacks on Western nongovernment organization (NGO) employees and journalists within Somalia.

    Analysis of these groups suggests that while the terrorist nodes in failed states pose little threat to the interests of the United States or its GWOT partners, terrorist hubs operating in the same states may be highly dangerous. The hubs observed in these three failed states were able to operate without attracting the attention or effective sanction of the United States or its allies. They funneled substantial financial resources, as well as sophisticated weaponry, to terrorist nodes operating outside the failed states in which the hubs were located. The threat posed by these hubs to U.S. national interests and to the interests of its partners is significant, and is made much more immediate by the growing risk that nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) will fall into terrorist hands.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-07-2013 at 11:40 PM. Reason: Merged into this thread

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    SSI, 27 Aug 08: U.S. Counterterrorism in Sub-Saharan Africa: Understanding Costs, Cultures, and Conflicts
    What is the most effective long-term approach to U.S. counterterrorism in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA)? The purpose of this paper is to lay the framework for answering this central question. The current struggle of the United States and its allies against terrorist groups and individuals motivated by Islamic extremism consumes U.S. military, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies. Never a centerpiece of U.S. foreign and defense policy, SSA is now a front in the conflict to counter global Islamic extremism. As in the past, however, SSA remains largely misunderstood and misperceived in the United States. Yet, the U.S. Government is now embarked on reform of U.S. policy toward the African continent with uncertain consequences.....
    Complete 81-page paper at the link.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-07-2013 at 11:41 PM. Reason: Merged into this thread

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    Council Member AdamG's Avatar
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    Default White House expands covert war in North Africa

    WASHINGTON - Small teams of special operations forces arrived at American embassies throughout North Africa in the months before militants launched the fiery attack that killed the U.S. ambassador in Libya. The soldiers' mission: Set up a network that could quickly strike a terrorist target or rescue a hostage.

    But the teams had yet to do much counterterrorism work in Libya, though the White House signed off a year ago on the plan to build the new military task force in the region and the advance teams had been there for six months, according to three U.S. counterterror officials and a former intelligence official. All spoke only on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the strategy publicly.
    http://www.newsday.com/news/nation/w...rica-1.4066968
    A scrimmage in a Border Station
    A canter down some dark defile
    Two thousand pounds of education
    Drops to a ten-rupee jezail


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  5. #5
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default The Pentagon is wilfully blind to local realities?

    After Mali rightly we should ask what went wrong - for the USA - especially using its agent, the Pentagon (DoD) and AFRICOM.

    The title is shorter version of this comment:
    It’s not DoD’s fault that an officer trained in U.S. military schools led a coup in Mali last March, one more thing which destabilized a weak state, but it is certainly the Pentagon’s fault that it enacts policies which seem wilfully blind to local politico-ethnic realities. Mali is hardly the first place DoD has followed an unwitting own-goal policy, but here the consequences were swift and painful.
    Last fall Paris – which has better connections in its former African colonies than the U.S. ever will – was warning that Mali was on the verge of state collapse, with a jihadistan stretching over the region being a real possibility.

    French concerns, however, were blown off rudely. General Carter Ham, the AFRICOM commander, stated bluntly that military intervention in Mali would fail, while our always tactless UN Ambassador Susan Rice publicly mocked French plans to bolster Mali against the jihad, which had regional African backing, as “crap”. Of course, last week, when American-trained Mali forces fell apart under jihadist assaults, leaving the country vulnerable to takeover by madmen, it was U.S. plans and policy which were revealed to be crap.
    Link:http://20committee.com/2013/01/16/the-lessons-of-mali/

    The author cites another article Adam Garfinkle's article:
    The U.S. counterterrorism training mission in Mali made the stupefying mistake of choosing three of four northern unit commanders to train who were Tuareg. As the article says, when the Tuareg rebellion in Mali gained steam after the denouement of the Libya caper, greatly stimulated by the return of heavily armed Tuareg brethren from that fight, these three Tuareg commanders defected to the rebels, bringing soldiers, vehicles, ammunition and more to the anti-government side. Anyone who was surprised by this is an idiot, or at the very least a terminal ignoramus. And anyone in the U.S. military who failed to understand the ethnic composition of the country’s politico-military cleavages, such that he let U.S. Special Forces training be lavished on Tuareg commanders, was clearly insufficiently trained to do his job. And believe me, that’s about as nice a way to put that as I can summon.
    Link:http://blogs.the-american-interest.c...flogging-mali/

    I do wonder how AFRICOM in particular will respond, given its reputation within Africa; as reflected in the thread: 'AFRICOM and the perception mess':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=14537 Also relevant is
    'Africom Stands Up':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=6167

    On Mali specifically there are two threads, 'Mali mainly, 2012 coup, drugs & more':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=9254 and 'Ripples from Mali: events plus outside Mali':http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=17365
    davidbfpo

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    David,

    Can I put it a bit more bluntly? The US simply lacks the understanding/context to form an effective military partnership with many African states.

    Why is this so? You cannot understand a nation from the comfort of a fortress-like embassy in the capital. The US will either get played or have to depend on the judgement of former colonial powers like Britain and France (who might have their own agenda).

    How does the US break this vicious circle? Don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KingJaja View Post
    David,

    Can I put it a bit more bluntly? The US simply lacks the understanding/context to form an effective military partnership with many African states.

    Why is this so? You cannot understand a nation from the comfort of a fortress-like embassy in the capital. The US will either get played or have to depend on the judgement of former colonial powers like Britain and France (who might have their own agenda).

    How does the US break this vicious circle? Don't know.
    Over the past few decades I have come to believe that our Department of State really doesn't mind driving blind. They're not an organization that habitually questions their assumptions. They push whatever their agenda is and seek the most expedient means to pursue that agenda, and in many cases do so without even trying to understanding of the context and how this will play out over time. Of course even if they wanted to gain understanding, that understanding will remain elusive if they don't navigate outside of diplomatic circles. This is not true for all embassies, but it does reflect the culture of most. The classic book, "The Ugly American" still accurately represents the culture of our country teams in too many cases.

    The military is little better as this particular example points out. We too quickly rush to the easiest path so we take a "by, with, and through" approach. Any willing surrogate will do, and then we'll fool ourselves into believing we're on the legitimate path to victory regardless of how flawed our surrogates eventually prove themselves to be.

    If we continue to rush in without first gaining understanding it is probable that we'll continue to create new problems, sometimes more problems, than the ones we attempted to solve. I think the only way to move beyond this haphazard approach is to make a concerted effort on gaining a holistic understanding of these issues in collaboration with multiple others (our views need to be challenged to see if they stand up to the sniff test). How we organize to do this is the million dollar question. Another issue in my opinion is that we all too often have policy influenced by think tanks in D.C.. They should be voice, but over the years they gained excessive influence.

    The good news for us is that all we're all collectively stupid. I haven't seen any other powerful nations do it any better than we do, so relatively we're not that bad, but that shouldn't be our standard.

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    Default Trained Indifference

    from Bill Moore:
    Over the past few decades I have come to believe that our Department of State really doesn't mind driving blind. They're not an organization that habitually questions their assumptions. They push whatever their agenda is and seek the most expedient means to pursue that agenda, and in many cases do so without even trying to understanding of the context and how this will play out over time. Of course even if they wanted to gain understanding, that understanding will remain elusive if they don't navigate outside of diplomatic circles. This is not true for all embassies, but it does reflect the culture of most. The classic book, "The Ugly American" still accurately represents the culture of our country teams in too many cases.
    Besides full agreement with what you say above, your cite to "The Ugly American" brings back memories of reading it as a serial, starting in the Saturday Evening Post, October 4, 1958. Of course, that was something of a "pastel" world - not yet colored by Vietnam:



    So, one has to "adjust" (refine, tweak) "The Ugly American" to meet current realities.

    But, this point is as valid today as it was then: "Of course even if they wanted to gain understanding, that understanding will remain elusive if they don't navigate outside of diplomatic circles." I was reminded of that not that long ago because of an experience that must remain confidential. Simply stated, Embassy X not only elected not to navigate outside of diplomatic circles, it was unmannerly to boot.

    Of course, as the old saying goes: "Discipline is a matter between officers; manners are a matter between gentlemen."

    Regards

    Mike

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    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default U.S. Africa Command?

    6 August Fayetteville (NC) Observer - Bureaucracy, Turf Battles Slow Progress by Kevin Maurer.

    Senior special operations officers believe that the creation of an African Command would alleviate the cumbersome bureaucracy that is slowing progress on the Horn of Africa.

    Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa was created in 2002 to stop the influence of radical Islamists coming over the border from Somalia. The task force oversees an area roughly a third of the size of the continental United States and has or had forces working in Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tanzania and Yemen on the Arabian Peninsula.

    But much of the Horn of Africa task force’s time is taken up by turf battles with the embassy, host nations and regional commands...

    The creation of an Africa Command would allow one unit to set U.S. military policy for the region and create a cadre of planners who understand the region and have relationships with the host nations and embassies.

    Africa is divided among three regional combatant commands.

    U.S. Central Command, which oversees the Middle East, owns the Horn of Africa and Yemen. European Command controls sub-Saharan Africa, and Pacific Command controls all of the islands in the Indian Ocean...

    Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, said an Africa Command would have some advantages.

    Under a regional command structure, the staff would serve longer tours and “institutional” relationships between the command and the host nations and embassies would be created, Whelan said.

    Unlike deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan where staff officers deploy in one unit, individual soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines deploy to the Horn of Africa staff for tours of six months to one year.

    “This is where people come to check off their war on terror box,” said a senior noncommissioned officer.

    Most of the officers are not trained in aid missions, and they are not around long enough to see projects and programs from start to finish.

    “There is a learning curve with the staffs that go out to these missions,” Whelan said.

    She said many officers have to learn new regulations and missions since most are military officers trained primarily for combat.

    “It is a whole new and different world. If you are brand new to all of that, you have a little ramp-up time. That can complicate things,” she said.

    Rear Adm. Richard Hunt, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, told civil affairs teams in a meeting in July that they will have to win the “hearts and minds” of the embassies first...

  10. #10
    Council Member Uboat509's Avatar
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    Default

    This will be interesting, I think. I doubt that CENTCOM will miss the HOA nor do I think that PACOM wants any part of Africa that they don't have to take. Both of those commands have plenty happening in their AORs to say the least but EUCOM is in a different situation. On the one hand, since the end of the cold war there just isn't a hell of a lot happening in Europe but on the other hand Africa is no dream AOR either. It lacks the resources and infrastructure that have allowed radical Islam to become so powerful in in the middle east and the character of Islam is different in much of Africa. I'm guessing that any command that takes over Africa is going to get last bite at the funding cake and what money they do get will be largely devoted to HA projects and training indig militaries. Not exactly anyone's dream assignment.

    SFC W

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default 'Bout Time

    The Unified Command splits on Africa go back to the day when USCINCSTRIKE/MEAFSA (the CENTCOM grandaddy) covered the AO. The 3-way split today (as it was in my day) divides the area, disrupts command, and diverts funds. Commands are typically loath to give up portions of their AOs regardless of interest because the size of the AO drives allocation of funds.

    As for C2 it really gets interesting in the case of ops like Support Hope where USEUCOM and USCENTCOM controlled portions of the pie--coupled with the issues of working with USTRANSCOM as the supporting command. All of this then works to confuse ops when overlayed against other agency divisions along geographic lines, especially State and AID, with individual country missions underneath.

    As for radical Islam in Africa, the proverbial fat lady has not yet taken the stage. The vast wealth that certain regions on the continent hold have been masked somewhat by the overlay of war, corruption, and crippling poverty. In particular Nigeria with its oil and the Congo with its minerals are relevant examples. Islam is making greater inroads overtime; Somalia is a relevant case. Lebanese connections throughout Africa are strong, especially in the Congo and its diamond/gold sector.

    My take on the idea of a command for Africa is that it would be good for no other reason that it would retain the funding allocated to it rather than have it shifted to other priorities within a larger, broader command.

    best
    Tom

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    Default Update...

    24 August Time Magazine - The Pentagon Plans for an African Command by Sally Donnelly.

    In what may be the most glaring admission that the U.S. military needs to dramatically readjust how it will fight what it calls 'the long war,' the Pentagon is expected to announce soon that it will create an entirely new military command to focus on the globe's most neglected region: Africa.

    Pentagon sources say that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is close to approving plans for an African Command, which would establish a military organization to singlehandedly deal with the entire continent of Africa. It would be a sign of a significant strategic shift in Administration policy, reflecting the need to put more emphasis on proactive, preventative measures rather than maintaining a defensive posture designed for the Cold War...

    A defense source says the new command, which is part of Rumsfeld's ongoing worldwide reassessment of the military's division of labor, may be headed by Gen. William "Kip" Ward, a respected officer who is the Army's only four-star African-American general. Ward has boots-on-the-ground experience in Africa: he was a commander during the U.S.'s ill-fated mission in Somalia in 1993 and also served as a military representative in Egypt in 1998. Ward is currently the deputy commander at European Command, and as such oversees U.S. military relations with 43 African countries.

    But a former military officer who thinks highly of Ward nonetheless says creating an entirely new command compounds an existing problem. "The size and number of headquarters already is skewed too far in favor of 'tail' at the expense of warfighting 'teeth.' Want to increase 'boots on the ground?' Eliminate or downsize some of these staffs, don't create more," says this observer.

    Many military experts have long advocated paying more attention to Africa. While Central Command has had a small military contingent based in Djibouti (called Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa or 'CJTF-HOA') for several years, intelligence agencies and military officers have warned that the US should be spending more time and money in Africa....

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    Default do we need a SE Command also?

    I'm still sitting on the fence on this one. Another HQs, another requirement for personnel and money in a period where both of these resources are harder to come by. On the other hand, Africa in my opinion is a strategic region for the GWOT, and although many recognize that missions in Africa are still sorely underfunded, so a HQs dedicated to Africa with its own pot of money, and furthermore a core of key staff officers that eventually become somewhat expert on Africa's various cultures should help us facilitate our national security objectives there. One could argue using that logic that we need equivalent commands for SE Asia and South Asia, but obviously that is beyond our resourcing ability. I would think another option would be to form a temporary Africa Command with a mandate for 10 years, with the charter to form something along the lines of NATO. This is is a long bridge, but perhaps not one too far, they already have ECOWAS and AO and other regional groups. Admittedly they lack consensus, funding, and capacity, but we could develop that over time, especially with some assistance by partner nations like Canada and Australia. I'm not anti-French, but the fact is their colonial legacy and even recent behavior in the region makes them undesirable in my book. 10 years may not be enough, but at time our government could determine if it was in our interest to extend their mandate. Off the cuff thoughts, but I think something along those lines facilitates a partial exit plan and a much more stable and productive Africa.

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    Default Two Additional Links on 'Africa Command'

    My Prediction on Africa Command Coming True a Bit Faster than I Expected - Thomas P.M. Barnett Weblog

    Africa: Africa Command Not European Command, Says Official - AllAfrica.com

    ---

    On edit - here is another related link - Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) Horn of Africa (HOA). This is the official US Central Command page for CJTF HOA.
    Last edited by SWJED; 08-26-2006 at 09:50 PM.

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    Default The Newest Combatant Command

    African Command: The Newest Combatant Command by Lieutenant Colonel Paul P. Cale, US Army. US Army War College Strategy Research Project, March 2005.

    African Command (AFRICOM) must be established as the newest Combatant Command in the Unified Command System. The Unified Command Plan (UCP) currently divides the Continent of Africa into areas of responsibility served by European Command, Central Command, and Pacific Command. This current division of Africa, within the UCP, has led to the creation of "seams" between the current combatant command boundaries. EUCOM's focus is based on their expansion into the newest NATO countries on their Eastern border. CENTCOM's focus for the indefinite future is on OEF, OIF, and the future of U.S. presence in the Middle East. PACOM's focus has been and remains on the Asian continent. For these and other reasons that will be further developed the UCP must establish AFRICOM as its Combatant Command Headquarters on the African continent...

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    Default U.S. Considers New Military Command for Africa

    30 August Reuters - U.S. Considers New Military Command for Africa by Will Dunham.

    ... With several war-ravaged regions and great expanses of ungoverned territory, Africa presents optimal conditions for extremists aiming to secure a foothold, many experts contend.

    "There is certainly an increasing awareness of the strategic importance of Africa," said U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Joe Carpenter, a Pentagon spokesman, "because in the post 9/11 world we have a much better appreciation for (threats emerging from) ungoverned territories."

    The Horn of Africa region is of particular concern for U.S. counterterrorism officials. The State Department says Somalia and the sparsely populated Trans-Sahara region, especially Mali and Mauritania, offer safe haven for militants.

    Al Qaeda, responsible for the 2001 attacks on the United States, is thought to have a presence in eastern and northern Africa, and Islamic fundamentalism appears to be increasing in some parts of the continent.

    The State Department says a small number of al Qaeda operatives in East Africa, particularly Somalia, continue to pose the most serious threat to U.S. interests in the region.

    Although it is unclear to what extent terrorist groups are present in western and central Africa, the department has said fund-raising, recruiting and other efforts by al Qaeda and its affiliates in South Africa, Nigeria and across the Trans-Sahara region remain a serious worry.

    Carpenter said populations in certain parts of Africa are vulnerable to extremists due to ideology, poverty and disease.

    "Many of the militaries in Africa desire to have interaction with the U.S. so that we can help to improve their capabilities, to defend their borders, to prevent the transit of terrorists, to be able to realize their economic potential," Carpenter added.

    A U.S. military task force in the Horn of Africa, headquartered in Djibouti, has about 1,800 troops. Its mission is "preventive in nature," Carpenter said. The task force aims to detect, disrupt and defeat terrorist groups in the region, denying them safe haven and outside support, officials said.

    Officials offered no timetable for a decision on an Africa Command and said no decisions have been made on where it would be headquartered or how many troops would be devoted.

    "The intent of (creating an Africa Command) is not to put troops in Africa. It would be to streamline the focus and give appropriate undivided attention to the continent," a Pentagon official said.

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    Default US National Interests in Sub-Saharan Africa

    http://www.carlisle.army.mil/USAWC/P...inter/henk.htm

    The novelty of the post-Cold War strategic environment is reflected in the changing jargon of American military professionals. "Humanitarian assistance" and "peace operations" were hardly key concerns of the national military establishment in the mid-1980s, though they have become prominent a decade later. Since the early 1990s, US professional military literature has been increasingly preoccupied, some would say obsessed, with discussions of what are identified as unprecedented roles for the national military establishment.

    Interventions with military forces often figure in discussions of US involvement in Africa; indeed, in the 1990s no part of the world has seen a greater number of such interventions than Sub-Saharan Africa. However, noncombatant evacuations, humanitarian relief operations, and peace support interventions tend to obscure the more enduring and more significant diplomatic and economic links between the United States and African countries. They also obscure routine military-to-military relations in the region, which have expanded in the wake of the Cold War.

    The United States conducts military operations in Africa, just as it exercises diplomacy and provides aid, to further US regional objectives. The demise of the Cold War had an obvious effect on US objectives in Africa, and while each US administration is expected to put its own imprint on the nation's foreign policy, some American activities reflect enduring interests. This article identifies a set of desirable conditions that appear to have become de facto US national interests in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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    Default I Oppose AFRICOM As It Stands Now

    I explained my opposition to this in more detail on my blog earlier.

    Essentially, the US needs to do a lot more on non-military fronts before they set an Africa Command up for failure.

    A secondary point; an Africa command should be considered a test lab for tactics, organization and strategy. Why do we need to have a huge typical command structure? Such a command could be heavily focused on a small number of key personnel who help train African militaries in peacekeeping and stablization operations, develop important relations with governments, NGO's & civic organizations to counter AIDS, rampant crime and terrorism and place a heavy emphasis on developing the capabilities of police and auxilary forces to deal with natural disasters, disease epidemics, refugee crises and urban disorder. Why not focus on light infantry training (i.e. what H. John Poole advocates in "Terrorist Trails")?

    If this command is focused on counterterrorism, it will be a tragic missed opportunity.
    Last edited by Eddie Beaver; 01-11-2007 at 06:46 PM.

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    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Good Points

    Eddie,

    I know you have read my book and my comments on support to Mobutu. I agree with your concerns and you state them well.

    I would also say, however, that barring establishing an Africa Command, the continent will be what it has been to date, a European Command or Central Command after thought--until something like Rwanda or Sudan gets those commands' attention.

    JTFHOA has a broad program and I am encouraged by it. I would--like you--prefer to see much greater emphasis on AIDS as a security issue. But again without that critical unified command with its budget and focus such efforts are very likely to get the chop.

    Again great post on your blog!

    Best

    Tom

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    Default "they will have to win the “hearts and minds” of the embassies first..."

    So well put, and by no means an easy task. Just ask Tom.

    These days, if and when HA funds manage around a continuing resolusion, the fish bowl we know as the country team and eventually an assignments officer (typically the most junior and the least knowlegeable member in country with an already full plate) will or should begin a precious cycle of events that were originally intended to help the host nation. Basically, hopeless and a ton of paper. When the State dude does show, you better have one hell of a good presentation coupled with fresh bodies, mines, and whatever you can come up with for dinner, cause he's staying for that too !

    That was the easy part.

    The idea of an African Command leaves me wondering what kind of experience these good folks are coming with. Language and customs will not be nearly enough. Most have never tasted the games of DOS. Foggy Bottom produces some of the strangest members I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with.

    We sat in one of the most inhospitable places in the world, and although the JTF had some fine soldiers along, things still went tango sierra in less than 45 days. With all that sierra going on, nobody in K/town was home. Tom had assembled a team that could get along in almost any situation, including Goma. By no means a small task. Mind you, these were senior NCOs and Officers with years and years of experience.

    To now assemble a team of African Specialists and simply leave them to the dogs of the country team before they even get started, will be a fate far worse than Goma, Zäire.

    I wish them the best of luck !
    Regards, Stan

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