Black People : What is AFRICOM?

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  1. OldSoul

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  2. OldSoul

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    AFRICOM UPDATE

    US to get Africa command centre (Published: 2007/02/06)

    President George W Bush has approved a Pentagon plan for a command centre for Africa to oversee US military activities on the continent.
    "This new command will strengthen our security co-operation with Africa," President Bush said. Mr Bush said he had asked Defense Secretary Robert Gates to get the new command, known as Africom, up and running by the end of September 2008. He said the US would consult African leaders on the command's base. Mr Gates said the new Africa Command would allow the US to better co-ordinate action and counter potential threats.
    The US gets more than 10% of its oil from Africa and is worried about increased economic and diplomatic competition from China, the BBC's defense and security correspondent Rob Watson reports. There are also a variety of US security and humanitarian concerns ranging from the potential rise of militant Islam to the threat of failed states and the spectre of future genocides, our correspondent says.
    The Pentagon has voiced concern about potential threats, including terrorist threats that could emerge in war-torn areas such as Somalia. US forces carried out at least two air strikes in Somalia last month, targeting suspected al-Qaeda militants. Africa Command would be the fifth regional operations base for the US.
    Unlike other regional US commands, the Africa command will not be about preparing troops for major combat operations, as no African nation poses a direct military threat. Rather, US officials say, it will focus on military training operations designed to help local governments.
    Responsibility for Africa operations is currently divided among three regional commands. It was unclear whether the new command centre would be located in Africa or the United States, as are the US Central Command, the Southern Command, and the Pacific Command. The US currently has an anti-terror task force based in Djibouti.
    Mr Gates revealed the new plans as he addressed the Senate Armed Services Committee on the defense spending President Bush proposed in his 2008 budget, submitted to Congress on Monday. "This command will enable us to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current arrangement... an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War," Mr Gates said. He said the Africa command centre would "oversee security, co-operation, building partnership capability, defense support to non-military missions, and, if directed, military operations".
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/americas/6336063.stm

    Commander, United States Africa Command General William E. "Kip" Ward
    [​IMG]
    General William E. (Kip) Ward became the first commander of US Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on October 1, 2007. AFRICOM is a sub-unified command under US European Command.
    General Ward was commissioned into the Infantry in June 1971. His military education includes the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, US Army Command and General Staff College, and US Army War College. He holds a Masters of Arts Degree in Political Science from Pennsylvania State University and a Bachelors of Art Degree in Political Science from Morgan State University. His military service has included overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany, and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
    His command and troop assignments include: Platoon Leader, 3d Battalion (Airborne), 325th Infantry, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Rifle Company Commander, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 17th Infantry, 2d Infantry Division, Camp Howze, Korea; S-4 (Logistics), 210th Field Artillery Brigade, VII Corps, US Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Executive Officer, 1st Battalion (Mechanized), 7th Infantry, 3d Infantry Division, US Army Europe and Seventh Army, Germany; Commander, 5th Battalion, 9th Infantry, 2d Brigade, later G-4 (Logistics), 6th Infantry Division (Light), Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Commander, 2d Brigade, 10th Mountain Division (Light), Fort Drum, New York and Operation Restore Hope, Mogadishu, Somalia; Assistant Division Commander (Support), 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Commanding General 25th Infantry Division (Light) and US Army, Hawaii, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and Commander, Stabilization Force, Operation Joint Forge, Sarajevo, Bosnia.
    Prior to assuming his current position, Ward was Deputy Commander, Headquarters US European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. He previously served as the Deputy Commanding General/Chief of Staff, US Army Europe and Seventh Army. While in this capacity he was selected by the Secretary of State to serve as the United States Security Coordinator, Israel - Palestinian Authority where he served from March through December 2005.

    US Africa command starts work, faces hostility (Oct 2, 2008)​
    JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - The U.S. military's new Africa command went into action on Wednesday, but hostility and cynicism have forced it to shelve plans to be based on the continent. The command, known as Africom, was carved out of three other commands previously responsible for Africa, but it will remain for now based in Stuttgart, using facilities previously occupied by the European headquarters. President George W. Bush first announced plans for the command, including a base in Africa, in February 2007 but since then officials have backpedaled following hostile African reaction, including from regional heavyweights South Africa and Nigeria. Washington is now at pains to deny plans for new bases and reject widespread suspicion that the real motive is to counter growing Chinese influence and control oil supplies from the Gulf of Guinea, expected to supply 25 percent of U.S. needs by 2015.
    "There is no hidden agenda," Africom commander General William Ward told the BBC, adding that it was a "myth" that Washington wanted to build new bases in Africa. Bush called the idea "baloney" during an African tour earlier this year.
    Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Theresa Whelan said: "The fact that we created a new organizational structure to implement security strategy in Africa hasn’t changed any of the rules that governed the old organizational structures." She said Africom's leadership, half of it civilian agencies including the State Department, will be "more cautious about looking for military solutions to problems in Africa."
    The stated aim of Africom is to build the capacity of African countries to face everything from disasters to terrorism and make the continent more stable. "Unlike traditional Unified Commands, Africa Command will focus on war prevention rather than war fighting," Africom's website says. A spokesman said the command was expected to reach its full strength of 1,300 by the end of 2009, from 1,000 at present. The only major U.S. base on the continent is in Djibouti, where a force of between 1,500 and 1,800 is based in the strategic and unstable Horn of Africa. But the Americans have for years also trained African forces in the vast and remote Sahel region where myriad armed groups operate including nomadic Tuareg rebels and al Qaeda's North African wing, which has staged a growing number of attacks from Mauritania to Algeria since 2006.
    Jackie Cilliers, director of South Africa's Institute for Security Studies, said the original debate on Africom was politicized because of the U.S. war on terror, provoking negative reaction that was aggravated by heavy-handed and unsuccessful American policy in Somalia. Washington first backed discredited Somali warlords who were defeated by an Islamic Courts movement, then supported an invasion by Ethiopia that overthrew the Islamist forces and installed a weak interim government. That government and the Ethiopians are now bogged down in an Iraq-style insurgency while Somali suffering has increased. Cilliers said that on an operational level there was close cooperation between several African countries and the Pentagon particularly in the Sahel and the Horn. "There seems to be a bit of a disconnect between the political statements that have come from South Africa and a few others and the reality of collaboration," he told Reuters.
    He said that since the negative initial reaction Washington had "changed the whole focus of Africom so that it is much more orientated to support of the African (Union) Standby Force and so on and that is a step in the right direction."
    Mark Schroeder of the Stratford geopolitical analysis company also said Africom was currently intended to consolidate existing Pentagon activities rather than taking bold new initiatives. He said Washington had not had the capacity this year to overcome African resistance to basing Africom on the continent. "A lot of other more pressing issues have arisen. Most immediately we have the financial crisis but beyond that there is Russian resurgence, trying to scale down in Iraq and boost operations in Afghanistan and trying to keep a handle on what is going on in Pakistan," he told Reuters. "There just isn't the bandwidth for Africa right now."
    http://africa.reuters.com/top/news/usnJOE491043.html
    Full articles can be downloaded here: http://whgbetc.com/Africom-update.pdf
     
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