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Old 01-18-2006   #1
Tom Odom
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Thumbs up U.S. Africa Command?

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

Quote:
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

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Old 04-30-2006   #2
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Default Counterterrorism in African Failed States

Counterterrorism in African Failed States: Challenges and Potential Solutions
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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 10:40 PM. Reason: Merged into this thread
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Old 08-08-2006   #3
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Default U.S. Africa Command?

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

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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...
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Old 08-08-2006   #4
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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.

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Old 08-09-2006   #5
Tom Odom
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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.

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Old 08-25-2006   #6
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Default Update...

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

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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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Old 08-26-2006   #7
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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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Old 08-26-2006   #8
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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.

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Old 08-26-2006   #9
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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.

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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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Old 08-26-2006   #10
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Default A CINC for Sub-Saharan Africa?

A CINC for Sub-Saharan Africa? Rethinking the Unified Command Plan - Commander Richard G. Catoire, US Navy. Parameters article, Winter 2000-01.

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... To date, US foreign policy for Africa, and specifically Sub-Saharan Africa, has been reactive rather than proactive--generally driven by events rather than shaping events. Because of this tentative approach to the region, African problems have obliged the US military to undertake a continuing series of contingency operations, and the prospect for future interventions is high. If any region of the world warrants the kind of "shaping" now prescribed by US strategic doctrine, surely that region is Africa.

While US security interests in Africa are minimal and economic interests are currently limited (excepting the importation of oil and strategic minerals), the developed world does not ignore humanitarian tragedy. With its prominent position in the post-Cold War world, the United States will at times accede to international pressures to take the lead in addressing the problems of Sub-Saharan Africa. For the immediate future, such initiatives will require the capacity to intervene militarily when appropriate. US reluctance to accept this responsibility would undermine important international relationships and ultimately could require a far greater commitment and involvement of resources when events finally force the US hand.

It is in the best interests of the United States to stay actively involved in the region to ensure that strategic objectives are accomplished and that diplomatic and political goals are achieved. The Department of Defense already plays some role in US efforts in Africa to promote democratization, to increase respect for human rights, to promote conflict resolution, and to generate economic prosperity. Those efforts could be more effectively managed by structural change within the Unified Command Plan.

If any region of the world warrants careful US attention to potential coalitions to alleviate greater reliance on US resources, surely that region is Africa. This is a key unified command role which can best be accomplished by creating a unified or sub-unified command exclusively for Sub-Saharan Africa. The advantages of creating "an area-oriented senior US military command," even if it is only an "economy of force" command headquartered in the United States, would far outweigh any perceived disadvantages...
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Old 08-30-2006   #11
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Default DoD mulls proposed ‘Africa Command’

29 August Marine Corps Times - DoD mulls proposed ‘Africa Command’ by Gordon Lubold.

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... The proposed command, aptly called “Africa Command,” would include most of Africa, but would leave countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya and Djibouti to fall under the U.S. Central Command umbrella. Africa is currently divvied up between Central Command and U.S. European Command. Defense officials and observers have long considered the value of adding a new combatant command to the Pentagon’s list of five, but the issue has yet to take hold.

Now, however, it appears the Pentagon is making headway. The plan would require redrawing the lines of the Unified Command Plan, or UCP, which delineates U.S. Northern, Southern, Central, European and Pacific commands. Now add to that the possibility that there would be an “AfCom.

The outlines of a command for Africa appeared on a PowerPoint slide handed out at a briefing in the Pentagon on Tuesday. That briefing, about a major reorganization of the Pentagon’s policy branch, included a slide of a UCP Model that included the command, shown in orange. The map shows that several countries in eastern Africa would remain with Central Command, effectively creating the new command with all of what now belongs to European Command in Africa.

The briefing was led by Eric S. Edelman, undersecretary of defense for policy. Edelman is leading an effort to make his branch better reflect the way other government agencies are organized for global operations. The Pentagon’s policy branch will reorganize in a number of ways, but also restructure the way its offices are organized for dealing with operations around the world. The slide with the map of Africa Command appeared by way of explaining how the building’s new policy areas would better mirror the way other U.S. agencies organize themselves across the world...
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Old 08-30-2006   #12
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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.

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... 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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Old 09-14-2006   #13
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Default Africa Key to Pentagon Counterterrorism Strategy

14 September Reuters - Africa Key to Pentagon Counterterrorism Strategy by David Morgan.

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Nearly five years after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, Africa has emerged as a leading front in a U.S. military campaign to deny al Qaeda a new safe haven in the continent's vast, hard-to-govern regions.

Small groups of special forces, known as A-teams and often numbering less than a dozen soldiers, have begun traversing the hinterlands of more than a dozen countries in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel and Sahara regions.

Pentagon officials say the main aim is to help African governments from Sudan to Senegal and Nigeria train and equip local troops to combat Islamist militants in swathes of open country, already known as havens for smugglers and bandits.

Meanwhile, even smaller units of U.S. civil affairs troops have traveled to remote villages to dispense medical care, dig wells and build schools, hoping to make militancy less attractive...
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Old 09-22-2006   #14
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Default Update...

21 September Reuters - Rumsfeld Favors U.S. Military Command for Africa by Will Dunham.

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Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said on Friday he favors creating a new U.S. military command responsible for Africa, as the Pentagon aims to guard against potential threats to U.S. security arising from the continent.

Rumsfeld said he and Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have pressed the military for six months for a proposal on setting up a command focused solely on Africa. Pace said Rumsfeld is due to receive a formal recommendation within a couple weeks...
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Old 11-13-2006   #15
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Default Pentagon Imperative: A Spotlight on Africa

14 November Christian Science Monitor commentary - Pentagon Imperative: A Spotlight on Africa by Rep. Ed Royce (R), California.

Quote:
Moving away from a strategic posture that has placed Africa on the bottom rung of priorities, the Pentagon is "fast tracking" the creation of a regional command dedicated exclusively to the continent, likely to be tagged "Africa Command."

This is a big step for the US military, which has long held this troubled continent at arm's length. While an Africa Command is overdue, it must be pursued with care and caution.

Africa's growing strategic importance is clear. Within a decade, 25 percent of US oil imports will come from Africa, mainly from Nigeria, Algeria, and Angola. Several African countries are potential terrorist havens or targets, as demonstrated by the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Radical Islam is spreading in Africa, in part due to the efforts of Sudan, a state sponsor of terrorism. Somalia is also under the sway of Islamist extremists.

The US military has intervened in Africa more than 20 times in the past 15 years, including in Liberia in 2003, when it helped end a brutal factional war. Today the US is providing airlift and other aid to African peacekeepers in Sudan's Darfur region. The need for such operations will continue.

Meanwhile, China is rapidly laying down stakes in Africa. China's commerce is mushrooming throughout Africa, and it is seeking to secure Africa's natural resources and markets. China is second only to the US as an importer of African oil. African governments generally favor China for its dogmatic opposition to external "interference" in their affairs. Closer US-Africa military cooperation, spurred by an Africa Command, would help offset this bias. Why concede Africa to Beijing, which undermines democracy, human rights, and transparency?

The Pentagon currently splits Africa among three regional commands: European Command, Central Command, and Pacific Command. European Command's responsibility for 45 African countries reflects colonial and cold war legacies. The Pentagon's Unified Command Plan, which establishes areas of responsibility, has been revised 20 times since 1946. Another change is overdue.

The core function of a combatant command is to plan for military contingencies in the region. Yet Central Command has its hands full fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan - and watching Iran. While the European Command has been increasing its African activities, its key focus has followed the eastward expansion of NATO. The Pacific Command, meanwhile, is headquartered more than 10,000 miles from Madagascar. These commands are challenged to closely monitor Africa's troubled states and vast ungoverned areas.

A command dedicated to Africa would improve US intelligence in the region, which withered after the cold war and is now desperately needed. It would also enhance planning for future US involvement in Africa and would probably decrease associated costs...

Properly designed, a dedicated military command would give US ambassadors in Africa added leverage, not a bureaucratic competitor. The State Department, though generally lacking the military's can-do spirit, must remain the lead policymaker. The Pentagon's forte isn't human rights, democracy-building, and similar concerns. An Africa Command should keep a small footprint, much like the current Southern Command for South America. Another caveat: improved capacity to work with African nations in a crisis should not predestine an American intervention...
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Old 12-06-2006   #16
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Default Officials Weigh Need for Africa Command

6 December AFPS - Officials Weigh Need for Africa Command by Jim Garamone. Posted in full per DoD guidelines.

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Defense Department officials continue to examine the idea of establishing a U.S. Africa Command, a top DoD official said here this week.

A team of DoD officials is looking at all options in examining the need for a new combatant command, Theresa Whelan, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs, said in an interview.

Responsibility for U.S. military operations in Africa is currently divided among three combatant commands. The area from Kenya to Egypt is part of U.S. Central Command. The rest of the continent falls under the auspices of U.S. European Command. The eastern island nations are in U.S. Pacific Command’s area of operations.

“We are looking at different ways of organizing DoD for doing business in Africa,” Whelan said. “The different circumstances and threats have caused us to take a step back and look at the way we’re doing business.”

There is no set date for a decision on establishing a new command or finding another means for handling operations in Africa, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said today. Officials are working to decide on the best course of action: to stick with the status quo, to establish a subordinate command, or to stand up a full out combatant command, on par with European Command and Central Command.

The group will make its recommendations through the Joint Chiefs of Staff before presenting them to the chairman and the secretary for a decision.

Whelan said the security environment in Africa has changed fundamentally in the last decade. “You have a situation where the threats are not confined to state actors or geographically confined,” she said. “You don’t have to look to a state that has a large military to find an entity that can threaten U.S. security in a serious way.”

She said the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, brought that home in a very stark and tragic manner. “Africa is an environment that has the potential to be used by these non-state actors to achieve or at least move closer to their ends,” she said.

Africa has seen its own attacks. Al Qaeda attacked the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, killing hundreds of innocent people, most of them local citizens. Other terrorist organizations have been regionally focused in the past, but now are expanding their interests and jumping on the al Qaeda bandwagon, Whelan said.

The United States military always has paid attention to the continent. In the past, the U.S. military has had bases in Ethiopia, Libya, Liberia and Morocco.

Poor governance, wars and population pressures are some of the human-caused problems on the continent, but natural threats need to be dealt with as well, Whelan said. “There are clearly challenges in terms of disease -- AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis -– are major threats,” she said. “Your issue is you have these major demographic changes caused by disease and the untimely death of the working-age population. The African population in many countries is now very young or very old, Whelan said.

A U.S. Africa Command would work at “preventing problems from becoming crises and crises from becoming catastrophes,” Whelan said. “Instead of the United States being reactive, … we want to be more proactive in promoting security, to build African capacity to build their own environments and not be subject to the instability that has toppled governments and caused so much pain on the continent.”

She likened it to a fire department. Instead of waiting until a fire breaks out, U.S. Africa Command would be like firefighters who work with the community to promote fire safety or help businesses install sprinklers. “It may prevent a fire or lessen the magnitude of damage,” she said.

If officials decide to go ahead with a U.S. Africa Command, “you would clearly want to have it based on that continent.” But, she said, there are a lot of ways to “skin that cat.”

The command may have its main headquarters in the United States, but forward operating bases in Africa.

The command would not necessarily have a large number of people. The needs are so great in Africa that a little can go a long way, she said. The command would coordinate training teams, advisory teams, civil affairs teams, medical and veterinary aid to the continent. It would also help interface with other government agencies and non-governmental aid groups in efforts on the continent.

In short, it would not look like other U.S. combatant commands. “Africa Command will not be a cookie-cutter organization,” Whelan said. “If we go this way, it will be something different.”
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Old 12-07-2006   #17
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I am still not sold on the need for an Africa Command. The proponents like to point out that AQ is moving into Africa but it is not that simple. The character of Islam in Africa is different than in the ME. Even when AQ does get in it is a different and more complex relationship. Furthermore I just don't think that we can do a lot to save Africa from itself. It is one thing to save one corrupt/inept crushingly poor country but this is a whole continent of them. Certainly we need to maintain a presence there but I just don't think it needs as much focus as other areas where we are engaged. That being said I can certainly see placing all of Africa under EUCOM. Since the fall of the USSR EUCOM hasn't been doing much other than pining after GWOT budget and OER bullets and screwing over 1/10 SF. I can honestly see no reason not to give it to them. They are already focused on it anyway.

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Old 12-09-2006   #18
Bill Moore
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First, I think it is undeniable that AQ is pushing into Africa (nor is this a new development). The character of Islam varies in every region of the world just as the character of communism varied throughout the world, but regardless there are several Islamic extremists throughout Africa, especially in the North, but also in Northern Nigeria where they are enforcing a form of Sharia law. How can anyone deny the radical threat from Tunisa, Algeria, and Morocco to Europe? Additionally a great number (if not the majority) of foreign fighters going to Iraq to fight our coalition are from various parts of Africa (both the Horn and EUCOM's area).

Second, the next "major" war could be very well be over natural resources ranging from water to uranium to various metals to fossel fuels. Africa will be play a role, a role that China already foresees. China is investing heavily in Africa to gain influence, and they probably have a more realistic strategic outlook than we do in Africa (while we have the most talented strategic thinkers in the world, their influence is muted by our election cycles, it is hard to explain how important Africa "might" be our economy 20 years from now, when many voters can't afford health insurance today).

Third, the war against AQ is a war of ideas, if we're not there to show another way of life, we're handing a "future" bread basket to AQ. Yes, much of African now a basket case, but the potential there is limitless. As we all know Africa consists of several different nations, and several of them are developed and others are developing successfully. Africa is not a continent without hope, and I believe I'm being a realist when I state that.

The bottomline is that Africa is important now and will gain in importance in the out years. Does that mean we need a separate command? While I think a command solely focused on Africa with its own pots of money (that won't get diverted to Eastern Europe, Russia, etc.) is definitely a step in the right direction, I do have concerns on who the bill payers will be. That is a lot of senior officers, contractors, and enlisted personnel. It will become another regional command competing for money and forces in a time where both are getting harder to come by.

I don't necessarily think we should bite off on this unilaterally, but perhaps look at forming something along the lines of a NATO south like entity (Europe should be an equal bill payer for forces and dollars with the exception of France which continues to cause harm and resentment throughout much of Africa). This organization should incorporate the numerous African Regional organizations, with a focus on enabling them. This has been one of our strategies for some time (it isn't something I invented), but it has been grossly underresourced, and not popular enough politically in the U.S. or Europe to get the resources needed. Of course in the meantime China continues to increase its influence in the region. I'm not looking at China as an enemy, but as a serious economic competitor. If we don't have the political will, then we shouldn't waste our resources trying, but I hope we're not asleep at the wheel.
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Old 01-10-2007   #19
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The current issue of Strategic Insights, from NPS's Center for Contemporary Conflict:

Jan 07 special issue focused on Africa’s Security Challenges and Rising Strategic Significance; includes the article Africa Command: Forecast for the Future
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Old 01-11-2007   #20
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Default US National Interests in Sub-Saharan Africa

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

Quote:
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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