NEWS
German Parliament Member Visits AFRICOM Headquarters in Stuttgart
Elke Hoff, a member of the German parliament, visited U.S. Africa Command headquarters on Aug. 22, 2012, to deepen her understanding of the command and the two nations' mutual interests. It was her first visit to the command headquarters. "For
Elke Hoff, a member of the German parliament, visited U.S. Africa Command headquarters on Aug. 22, 2012, to deepen her understanding of the command and the two nations' mutual interests. It was her first visit to the command headquarters.



"For me, it is absolutely indispensable to know what is going on, first of all, in my country, and since I know our American friends have decided -- and I hope that this decision will last for the future -- to have the headquarters of AFRICOM here in Germany, we have to get in a close dialogue, " Hoff explained, adding that "I think we have a lot of common interests also on the African continent."



The German parliament, known as the Bundestag, has committees that are similar to America's congressional committees. Hoff serves on the German defense committee.



"It would be, from my point of view," she said, "much better if we discuss more about strategies, about common interests, how can we share some ideas, some burdens, and some objectives. And since I have made some wonderful experiences with our American friends in other theaters -- for example, in Afghanistan -- for me, it was important to come here and to get acquainted to those who are responsible for this big challenge on the African continent."



During her visit to Stuttgart, Germany, Hoff met with senior leaders of the command, including General Carter F. Ham, the commander of U.S. Africa Command, and Ambassador J. Anthony Holmes, the deputy to the commander for civil-military activities.



"Although we in AFRICOM live in Germany, all of our attention is devoted to Africa," said Holmes. "As a consequence, we have much less interaction with our host nation than has been the case in any diplomatic post I've had in my 33-year career. Much too little, in my opinion."



"This visit provided a valuable and important opportunity for us to discuss a range of defense and foreign policy issues. I am very happy that I had this chance to meet with a distinguished member of the German Parliament and welcome more interaction in the future," he said.



Hoff also received a brief about the command and an introduction to the "whole of government" approach used by U.S. AFRICOM, which draws on military personnel and civilians from across government agencies.



"I learned about the huge engagement of our American friends in Africa, that you are taking on all of these challenges, first of all with counter-terrorism, and the question of how to deal with failed or failing states. And this is a huge task," she said. "I think you need all the support necessary, because it is finally our common interest to have some stability worldwide."



U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) has been headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, since its creation in 2007. U.S. European Command is also headquartered in Stuttgart and had managed the military-to-military relations with most African nations before the creation of AFRICOM. U.S. Africa Command has never been headquartered on the continent of Africa and has no plans to move there.

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