U.S. Africa Command Assumes Responsibility for Military Relations with 53 Countries

US AFRICOM Public Affairs
U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, left, and U.S. Africa Command Commander Army Gen. William E. Ward, right, stand next to the flag during the activation ceremony of U.S. Africa Command in the Pentagon, October 1, 2008. (DoD photo by U.S. Petty Officer 2nd Class Molly A. Burgess)

Stuttgart, Germany, Oct 2, 2008 — The Department of Defense announced October 1, 2008, that United States Africa Command has become the sixth unified geographic command within the Department of Defense unified command structure.

Based in Stuttgart, Germany, with select personnel assigned to U.S. Embassies and diplomatic missions in numerous African nations, U.S. Africa Command is responsible for coordinating military-to-military relationships between the United States and 53 African nations, as well as African military and security organizations.

This reorganization reflects the Defense Department's recognition of the political and economic importance of Africa, the African Union, its member states, and African security and economic organizations. Until now, these military-to-military relationships were coordinated by three separate geographic commands -- U.S. European Command, U.S. Central Command, and U.S. Pacific Command -- under an outdated organizational structure that divided Africa into three separate and arbitrary regions.

"I am confident that in the years to come, people will see an Africa that is secure, stable and developed in ways meaningful to its people and our global society," said U.S. Army General William "Kip" Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command. "U.S. Africa Command will make positive contributions in this important endeavor."

About U.S. Africa Command

Africa Commandds staff of approximately 1,000 personnel -- half military and half civilian -- is dedicated to closely working with U.S agencies, African nations and organizations, and the international community to promote security and prevent conflict in support of U.S. government policies in Africa.

U.S. Africa Command is pioneering closer cooperation between government agencies by embedding members of other agencies into U.S. AFRICOM's military chain of command. These officials are not liaisons. They are fully integrated members of the staff. Senior leaders from the Departments of State, USAID, Treasury, Commerce and others bring new insights and viewpoints so that the U.S. military can more effectively support the whole of the U.S. government effort in Africa. In the years ahead, the command plans to seek international partners to join the headquarters staff, including members of African militaries.

Established in October 2007 as a sub-unified command under U.S. European Command, U.S. AFRICOM's focus during its first year was to build a unique organization dedicated to long-term partnerships. Beginning in October 2008, U.S. Africa Command is focused on synchronizing hundreds of activities inherited from three regional commands that previously coordinated U.S. military relations in Africa.

These programs include:

Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA)
-- More than 2,300 U.S. personnel based in Djibouti, working with 12 partner nations.
-- Builds partner security capacity and infrastructure through regional cooperation, improved maritime security and safety, and professional military education programs.

Operation Enduring Freedom Trans-Sahara (OEF-TS)
-- Military support to U.S. governmentts Trans-Sahara Counter-Terrorism Partnership, OEF-TS enables military-to-military exercises, training in cross-border cooperation, security and information sharing, infrastructure development and support to public diplomacy.

Africa Contingency Operations Training & Assistance (ACOTA)
-- Department of State-led programs have trained approximately 100,000 African peacekeepers for U.N. and African Union missions since 1997. Training under this program is coordinated and augmented by U.S. AFRICOM.

Theater Security Cooperation (TSC) and Military-to-Military (M2M) Engagement
--Includes more than 250 events over the next year that allow U.S. forces to familiarize African partners with U.S. operational and training techniques.
-- Events range from a few U.S. soldiers/sailors/Marines/airmen to aircraft and ship visits, to African forces coming to the United States. This is the centerpiece for U.S. AFRICOMMs capacity and sustainment program for African forces.

Africa Partnership Station (APS)
-- Maritime training, collaboration, infrastructure-building and cross-border cooperation to assist African nations in securing maritime regions and sovereign waters.
-- Addresses criminal activity, piracy, environmental and fisheries violations, resource theft, arms smuggling, and narcotics and human trafficking.

Civil-Military Assistance, Health Programs
-- U.S. forces serve as examples of military professionalism while supporting State Department and USAID programs and activities.
-- Projects include schools and clinics, health programs, well-digging, clothing and food donation.
-- In countries with high HIV/AIDS rates, the United States works at the military-to-military level to fund and coordinate awareness, treatment programs and clinics, enabling African troops to participate in UN and African Union missions.

State Partnership Program (SPP)
-- Connects a U.S. statees National Guard with an African nation for training and relationship-building.
-- Strengthens civil ties National Guard members are primarily part-time troops who also have civilian professions.

International Military Education & Training (IMET)
-- Department of State-funded program, managed by U.S. AFRICOM, provides education and training for foreign military and civilian personnel from approximately 45 African nations.
-- Participants attend U.S. military schools or are visited by U.S. military training teams
-- Builds long-term relationships and provides immersion in democratic U.S. military environment for leaders and future leaders.

Counter-Narcotics Terrorism (CNT) programs
-- This funding is available to militaries and police in Africa to help them develop expertise and capabilities necessary to combat smuggling and other illegal acts.

For more information, contact U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs