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Thread: Africom Stands Up 2006-2017

  1. #61
    Council Member wierdbeard's Avatar
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    Default Africa Command in Ethiopian paper

    this article appears on the allafrica.com site today.
    Africa: Bush Approves U.S. Army for Africa
    here is an interesting excerpt.

    UNITED States President George Bush has approved the formation of a U.S. army to permanently operate in Africa, a move viewed by many as part of a wide plan to increase American hegemony on Africa.

    The U.S. would have wanted to place the base in Algeria but the government of that country vehemently refused and the U.S. is now scouting for another country, especially one with access to the sea.

    Mohamed Bedjaoui, the Algerian Foreign Affairs Minister was yesterday reported in the People's Daily Online as having strongly questioned the motive behind the military venture.

    "He questioned why no one had ever proposed for any anti-terror co-operation with Algeria in the 1990s when terrorist violence went rampant and wrought havoc?"
    link:
    http://allafrica.com/stories/200704030206.html

  2. #62
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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  3. #63
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    Default U.S. Force Aims to Secure Africa

    30 April Washington Times - U.S. Force Aims to Secure Africa by Jason Motlagh.

    The United States hopes by year's end to establish an Africa Command that will anchor military operations across a continent seen to be of increasing strategic importance and threatened by transnational terrorists.

    The new force, known informally as AfriCom, will preside over all countries on the continent except Egypt and is expected to be operational by the fall, according to Pentagon officials. They say it is needed to secure vast, lawless areas where terrorists have sought safe haven to regroup and threaten U.S. interests.

    "Part of the rationale behind the development of this command is clearly the growing emergence of the strategic importance of Africa from a global ... security and economic standpoint," Rear Adm. Robert Moeller, head of the Africa Command Transition Team, said earlier this month. "This allows us to work more closely with our African partners to ... enhance the stability across the continent." ...

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    CRS Report, 16 May 07: Africa Command: US Strategic Interests and the Role of the US Military in Africa
    ...A transition team has begun establishment of the new command, which is expected to begin as a sub-unified command under EUCOM by October 2007 and achieve full capability as a stand-alone command by October 2008. DOD has signaled its intention to eventually locate AFRICOM on the continent, and US officials are consulting with strategic partners in the region to identify a suitable location for the commandís headquarters. The transition team and the new command will operate from Stuttgart, Germany until a location on the continent is secured. The Pentagon has stressed that there are no plans to have a significant troop presence on the continent....

  5. #65
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    Default U.S. Africa Command Brings New Concerns

    28 May Washington Post - U.S. Africa Command Brings New Concerns by Walter Pincus.

    The creation of the Defense Department Africa Command, with responsibilities to promote security and government stability in the region, has heightened concerns among African countries and in the U.S. government over the militarization of U.S. foreign policy, according to a newly released study by the Congressional Research Service.

    The Africa Command (AFRICOM) was announced in February by the Bush administration and is scheduled to begin operations in October with temporary headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. AFRICOM would have traditional responsibilities of a combat command "to facilitate or lead [U.S.] military operations" on the continent, but would also include "a broader 'soft power' mandate aimed at preemptively reducing conflict and would incorporate a larger civilian component to address those challenges," according to the CRS study...

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    Unhappy Interagency conflict

    The essence of the Pincus story (and, presumably, the CRS report) is that there is interagency conflict and resentment over the establishment of AFRICOM and DOD's greater resources. So, what's new?

    As I see it, there are 2 problems here: 1) We inadequately fund State and USAID and related efforts. 2) We do not create effective unity of command where we should. The latter is more of a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan than in AFRICOM's AOR where the American ambassador to a country is legally and clearly in charge. The problem there comes from #1 where the Combattant Commander may have inordinate influence because of his control of resources. Given this disparity he can often provide the funds needed to ensure an ambassador's success or, by witholding them, guarantee failure.

  7. #67
    Small Wars Journal SWJED's Avatar
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    Default Subtle Difference...

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    The essence of the Pincus story (and, presumably, the CRS report) is that there is interagency conflict and resentment over the establishment of AFRICOM and DOD's greater resources. So, what's new?

    As I see it, there are 2 problems here: 1) We inadequately fund State and USAID and related efforts. 2) We do not create effective unity of command where we should. The latter is more of a problem in Iraq and Afghanistan than in AFRICOM's AOR where the American ambassador to a country is legally and clearly in charge. The problem there comes from #1 where the Combattant Commander may have inordinate influence because of his control of resources. Given this disparity he can often provide the funds needed to ensure an ambassador's success or, by witholding them, guarantee failure.
    ... and in the absence of unity of command, it would be nice to at least have unity of effort. Sometimes I think that our cultural intelligence efforts should focus on our interagency partners - at least then we might lower our expectations of who does what and when.

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    Cool How could I forget!

    You are so right. Unity of command is a subset of unity of effort. I despair of ever getting unity of command in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Unity of effort, however, is possible and often achieved especially when combattant commanders define their mission as supporting the ambassadors in their AOR. Unfortunately, when they don't (and sometimes even when they do) their control of resources may thwart unity of effort.

  9. #69
    Council Member wm's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by John T. Fishel View Post
    You are so right. Unity of command is a subset of unity of effort. I despair of ever getting unity of command in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Unity of effort, however, is possible and often achieved especially when combattant commanders define their mission as supporting the ambassadors in their AOR. Unfortunately, when they don't (and sometimes even when they do) their control of resources may thwart unity of effort.
    One wonders how we could achieve either unity of effort or unity of command on the African continent. DoS is divided into a number of petty fiefdoms worldwide (AKA Ambasadorships). USAID seems (from the outside anyway) to be rather autonomous within State, and each of of its various funding activities often seem responsible only to themselves. AFRICOM may appear to have the advantage of internal unity of command, but one wonders how true this is. It will still need to draw on the resources of other U&S commands (like JFCOM, SOCOM, and TRANSCOM) to get much done. Does the JS J3 shop have another 3-star who can be detailed as another "czar" to manage US interagency efforts in Africa.

    Seriously, though, we seem to be working with an outmoded concept to some degree. The notion of the "country team" has been overcome by globalization. Perhaps we ought to think about "region teams" instead. Forming AFRICOM may well be a step by DoD towards recognizing the need to readress American organization for international relationship building. But, are the other elements of US government involved in international affairs working towards an organization to support the same type of regional focus?

  10. #70
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default Proconsul

    There was talk at the begining of the establishment of JTF HOA, when AFRICOM started looking like a possibility, of establishing the senior position in AFRICOM as a psuedo-proconsul. This position would be the senior Civilian Ambassador for the continent, to subordinate all the other Ambassdors to the one. It was/is a radical idea that the DoS would most likely have trouble digesting. BUT it would lend Unity of command and much needed credibility to the AFRICOM combined DoD-DoS concept.

    And talking of Unity of Effort, I have always thought Unity of Effort was developed by those folks out there who have never been in command, who want to protect fiefdoms, turf, and who do not want to be subordinate to anyone. Unity of Command is what it is, the best method to organize a unified action in any and all environments. The argument of complex situations never held water with me. There always has to be a single position of command to break impasses and to ensure a unified methodology, a single intent.

  11. #71
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Default Find a Fire Hydrant and Mark It

    There was talk at the begining of the establishment of JTF HOA, when AFRICOM started looking like a possibility, of establishing the senior position in AFRICOM as a psuedo-proconsul. This position would be the senior Civilian Ambassador for the continent, to subordinate all the other Ambassdors to the one. It was/is a radical idea that the DoS would most likely have trouble digesting. BUT it would lend Unity of command and much needed credibility to the AFRICOM combined DoD-DoS concept.
    That would be a radical step and one that would run up against the reality of political appointee ambassadors versus career foreign service officers very quickly. The closest we came to having a "pro-consul" in the Rwandan saga was the appointment of Ambassador Richard Bogosian as the "Presidential Envoy to the Great Lakes Region," much like Phillip Habib to the Middle East in the Reagan years. Ambassador Bogosian was able to get some cross-border cooperation going between embassies but it was often a tough sell. Burundi was a problem with the Ambassador there a political appointee. He by the way has a book out this year from University of Texas Press with a chapter dedicated to my behavior as a conspirator envoy of the US Department of Defense. Zaire (Congo) was another problem but in this case a career foreign service officer ambassador who had been chief of mission elsewhere.

    I offer all of this because while I believe strongly that Africa Command is a great idea and one long overdue, I have no expectations that a sudden spirit of cooperation is going to blossum between the agencies. To the contrary, there will be (and already is) a backlash of suspicion/angst and general urinating on fire hydrants behavior by the various players because DoD has long minimized its interest in the continent. Creating a command signals a change in attitude and that creates tensions.

    Best

    Tom

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    Default It really is an old idea...

    The notion of a DOS counterpart to a combattant commander has been around a long time. I remember it well from the 1980s in Central America. Seemed logical to all of us DOD types. Unfortunately, it runs counter to the desires of both the host country governments and the American ambassadors. No host government is going to do business with the US Regional Ambassador; it will expect to do business with the US through the President's personal rep to the country ie the Ambassador.

    You can only get interagency unity of command if the President names a commander with the authority to hire and fire his interagency subordinates. (He also needs to be willing to exercise that authority.) In the absence of that authority, the only thing left is coordination to, hopefully, achieve unity of effort. I would like to see commanders named so that unity of command could be achieved but I have yet to see a President willing to impose that kind of authority - except to ambassadors through the post -JFK appointment letter.

  13. #73
    Council Member bourbon's Avatar
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    Default related

    Esquire, 6/11/2007: The Americans Have Landed, By Thomas P.M. Barnett
    A few years ago, with little fanfare, the United States opened a base in the horn of Africa to kill or capture Al Qaeda fighters. By 2012, the Pentagon will have two dozen such forts. The story of Africa Command, the American military's new frontier outpost.

  14. #74
    Council Member SteveMetz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tom Odom View Post
    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



    The ebird link is http://ebird.afis.mil/ebfiles/e20060118411954.html

    Tom,

    Have you had any involvement in the creation of AFRICOM? I have a Yale grad student working with me over the summer doing some research on it, and I'm trying to figure out who to link him up with. He's contacting Mike Smith who is now at State, and he and I are going to try to get to EUCOM and JTF-HOA over the summer (who could pass up a visit to Djibouti in August!!).

  15. #75
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    Tom,

    Have you had any involvement in the creation of AFRICOM? I have a Yale grad student working with me over the summer doing some research on it, and I'm trying to figure out who to link him up with. He's contacting Mike Smith who is now at State, and he and I are going to try to get to EUCOM and JTF-HOA over the summer (who could pass up a visit to Djibouti in August!!).
    Steve,

    Dr, Hans Pawlisch at the Joint History Office, Office of the Chairman, was wanting me to put in for the command historian position. I can send you an email address for him next week when I go back to work.

    Best

    Tom

  16. #76
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    Default North Africa Reluctant to Host U.S. Command

    24 June Washington Post - North Africa Reluctant to Host U.S. Command by Craig Whitlock.

    A U.S. delegation seeking a home for a new military command in Africa got a chilly reception during a tour of the northern half of the continent this month, running into opposition even in countries that enjoy friendly relations with the Pentagon.

    Algeria and Libya separately ruled out hosting the Defense Department's planned Africa Command, known as AFRICOM, and said they were firmly against any of their neighbors doing so either. U.S. diplomats said they were disappointed by the depth of opposition, given that the Bush administration has bolstered ties with both countries on security matters in recent years.

    Morocco, which has been mentioned as a possible site for the new command and is one of the strongest U.S. allies in the region, didn't roll out the welcome mat, either. After the U.S. delegation visited Rabat, the capital, on June 11, the Moroccan foreign ministry strongly denied a claim by an opposition political party that the kingdom had already offered to host AFRICOM. A ministry statement called the claim "baseless information."

    Rachid Tlemcani, a professor of political science at the University of Algiers, said the stern response from North African governments was a reflection of public opposition to U.S. policies in the predominantly Muslim region...

  17. #77
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Default

    As much as I understand the apparent imperative to have Africa Command in North Africa, I suspect that the answer is going to be very similar all over the place in any of the Islamic North. Notwithstanding that, I think that collocation with the OAU in Addis would make the most sense in terms of the mission and role of the command.


    Nor, do I think that it will be that different in West Africa.

    Ultimately I still think that (barring some massive, unforeseen act of influence) the Command might end up somewhere in Anglophile sub-saharan Africa. (RSA, Botswana (at least then it would be collocated with the SADC) etc... Would also address some basic force protection issues and perhaps meet an administration preference for a democracy.

  18. #78
    Council Member Tom Odom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
    As much as I understand the apparent imperative to have Africa Command in North Africa, I suspect that the answer is going to be very similar all over the place in any of the Islamic North. Notwithstanding that, I think that collocation with the OAU in Addis would make the most sense in terms of the mission and role of the command.


    Nor, do I think that it will be that different in West Africa.

    Ultimately I still think that (barring some massive, unforeseen act of influence) the Command might end up somewhere in Anglophile sub-saharan Africa. (RSA, Botswana (at least then it would be collocated with the SADC) etc... Would also address some basic force protection issues and perhaps meet an administration preference for a democracy.

    Mark,

    I concur on southern Africa. It would also help with infrastructure issues that would cripple a HQs effectiveness in Western Africa.

    Best

    Tom

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark O'Neill View Post
    As much as I understand the apparent imperative to have Africa Command in North Africa, I suspect that the answer is going to be very similar all over the place in any of the Islamic North. Notwithstanding that, I think that collocation with the OAU in Addis would make the most sense in terms of the mission and role of the command.


    Nor, do I think that it will be that different in West Africa.

    Ultimately I still think that (barring some massive, unforeseen act of influence) the Command might end up somewhere in Anglophile sub-saharan Africa. (RSA, Botswana (at least then it would be collocated with the SADC) etc... Would also address some basic force protection issues and perhaps meet an administration preference for a democracy.
    I absolutely cannot imagine the South Africans allowing it. They remain almost pathologically leery of being seen as an American proxy. For a long time, they refused assistance from the African Crisis Response Initiative.

    I would think Ghana would be the most likely choice--they're reasonably close to the U.S., a functioning democracy, and sort of centrally located. Uganda also might be a possibility. You're right about Botswana but it's harder to get in and out of Gabarone than Accra or even Kampala. I would also think that Senegal might make the short list. I'd like to see that simply because it would make heads explode in France.

  20. #80
    Council Member Mark O'Neill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SteveMetz View Post
    I absolutely cannot imagine the South Africans allowing it. They remain almost pathologically leery of being seen as an American proxy. For a long time, they refused assistance from the African Crisis Response Initiative.

    I would think Ghana would be the most likely choice--they're reasonably close to the U.S., a functioning democracy, and sort of centrally located. Uganda also might be a possibility. You're right about Botswana but it's harder to get in and out of Gabarone than Accra or even Kampala. I would also think that Senegal might make the short list. I'd like to see that simply because it would make heads explode in France.

    I think that your perceptions of the current South African administration are probably right. However, I think the next one, particulalry as some of the ANC 'old and bolds' from the old days retire and drop off the twig, might be a different scenario. I think that guys like Ramaphosa, who had quite a different (and later generation) experience of the struggle will not necessarily subscribe to some of the old prejudices to the USA.

    I agree with you about Ghana.

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