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2018 Posture Statement to Congress
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command, testified March. 6, 2018 before the House Armed Services Committee and before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 13, 2018 as part of the command’s annual Posture Statement to Congress.

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POSTURE STATEMENT EXCERPTS

By, With, and Through

"Security operations are executed almost exclusively by the partnered security forces. U.S. Africa Command works with partnered security forces based on their operational needs. The vital objectives of the U.S. and the partnered nation are achieved through a cooperative relationship in which U.S. Africa Command plays a supporting role. African leaders tell us how important it is to develop 'African solutions to African problems.' The framework of By, With, and Through recognizes the importance of partner ownership, which in turn, fosters enduring relationships."

Whole-of-Government Approach

"Increasing partner capacity cannot be limited to training and equipping front-line forces. In concert with interagency and international partners, we must also contribute to building the institutions that fortify recruiting, training, sustaining, and fielding of these forces. Such institutions create the stable security environment to allow democracy and development to blossom, which diminish the factors that allow violent extremism and criminality to grow. Put simply, a sustainable solution to instability in Africa involves supporting national institutions and regional organizations willing and able to address their own security challenges.

Our strategy features a whole-of-government approach utilizing the specific skill sets of the Department of State, USAID, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, and other interagency partners to synchronize and complement our approach. Many partners embed a liaison cell within U.S. Africa Command to support our strategy, a method we endorse and expand as needed. Additionally, U.S. Africa Command understands legislation generally consistent with a proposal outlined in the President’s 2019 Budget and the National Security Strategy has been introduced to create a new development finance institution. We look forward to working with this new agency as well."

East Africa

"For East Africa, the desired end state is one in which VEOs are not able to destabilize Somalia or its neighbors or threaten the U.S. homeland, U.S. persons, or our international partners and allies. Accordingly, the desired end state includes transitioning security responsibility from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to the Federal Government of Somalia (FGS) and Somalia’s Federal Member States (FMS) so the central and regional governments ultimately secure their own territory, neutralize al-Shabaab, and interdict illicit flows of arms, drugs, money, natural resources, and persons."

U.S. Support to Somalia

"With the full support of the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command maintains pressure on the al-Shabaab and ISIS-Somalia networks and seeks to accelerate the delivery of training and equipment to the Somali Federal Member States. Our joint Department of Defense-Department of State Security Force Assistance efforts in Somalia have built the 1st Danab Advanced Infantry Battalion, a combat-tested unit at the leading edge in southern Somalia. Furthermore, with the Department of State and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s (DTRA) Joint Improvised Threat Defeat Organization (JIDO), we are working to improve the security posture in Mogadishu and mitigate the destabilizing effects of vehicle-borne IED attacks in the city."

North Africa

"Turning to North Africa, our four primary objectives in Libya are: degrade terrorist groups who threaten U.S. interests and threaten to destabilize Libya and the region; avert civil war; support the political reconciliation process towards a unified central government; and assist to curb the flow of illegal migrants into Europe via Libya. Efforts by European allies and international organizations are underway to interdict the illicit flow of arms and drugs flowing into and through of North Africa due to porous borders and under-governed spaces."

Libya

"In Libya, U.S. Africa Command continues to support the U.S. Libya External Office’s diplomatic efforts to promote the UN-facilitated Libyan political reconciliation process. Our counterterrorism strategy has allowed time for the political reconciliation process to continue.

Following its late 2016 expulsion from in Surt, ISIS-Libya remains dispersed and disorganized and likely capable of little more than localized attacks. Meanwhile, al-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in Libya maintains a low profile yet still aims to use illicit means to move fighters and weapons and focuses on building influence within Libya's various extremist groups. The disrupted state of VEOs, however, has not translated into a stable Libya. Libya remains politically and militarily divided, with loyalties shifting based on tribal interests and personalities involved in the struggle for power. Given this turmoil, the risk of a full-scale civil war remains real. We will continue to apply pressure on the ISIS-Libya network, work with the Government of National Accord, and support the international community to consolidate a comprehensive approach to bringing stability and a political settlement to Libya."

West Africa

"Unrest within West Africa is driven by local grievances, corruption and weak governance, human rights violations, and imported religious ideology. U.S. Africa Command’s principal strategic objective in West Africa and the Lake Chad Region is to contain and degrade Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. U.S. Africa Command works with the four Lake Chad Region countries (Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) to build their capacity to ensure Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa do not threaten partner, allied, or U.S interests.

The Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), composed of forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria, coordinates operations and facilitates intelligence sharing. U.S. Africa Command supports the efforts of the Lake Chad Region partners to counter Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa by providing advisors, intelligence, training, and equipment instead of engaging in direct military operations. In July 2017, U.S. Africa Command started training and equipping MNJTF-designated units to counter IEDs. Over a hundred MNJTF soldiers are now less vulnerable to IEDs employed by violent extremists. We intend to expand counter-IED training and equipping programs to other affected regions."

U.S. Support to Niger

"Niger is at the crossroads of regional instability: Boko Haram, ISIS-West Africa, ISIS-Greater Sahara, Jamaat Nursat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), and affiliated extremist groups in the region; spillover from the Mali conflict in the west; instability emanating from Libya to the north; and a large flow of would-be migrants to Europe who converge on Agadez en route to Libya. Moreover, Niger faces internal governance and development issues with rapid population growth, environmental degradation, lack of economic opportunity, and stressed infrastructure. While the Department of Defense has increased Title 10 support to Nigerien forces, the U.S. military does not have a direct combat mission in Niger. Instead, U.S. Africa Command has provided training and equipment to the Nigerien Armed Forces and through the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership since 2005, and advises and assists certain Nigerien combat units.

Additionally, at the request of the Government of Niger and the Nigerien Armed Forces, U.S. Africa Command is establishing an expeditionary, contingency support location in Agadez. This will be a Nigerien base from which we will fly ISR assets to better identify and monitor threats in the region. Furthermore, Niger will host Exercise Flintlock 2018, a multi-national event among African, allied, and U.S. forces to develop capacity and collaboration between security forces to protect civilian populations. The fight against terrorism is a long-term effort, and Niger has shown itself to be a dedicated partner."

U.S. Support in the Gulf of Guinea

"U.S. Africa Command remains engaged with coastal nations and international partners to increase African maritime capacity and willingness to interdict illicit activity in the Gulf of Guinea. We execute the African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP) and support the Yaoundé Code of Conduct, a strong regional framework for information sharing and operational coordination. In 2017, under the AMLEP, U.S. Coast Guard and Cabo Verde security personnel embarked a Senegal Navy ship for joint patrol operations in Senegal and Cabo Verde waters. This represented the first combined African partner maritime law enforcement patrol hosted from another African partner nation’s vessel."

 Support to the U.S. State Department During Crisis

"To support the Department of State-led mission to protect U.S. personnel and facilities, U.S. Africa Command manages rapid-response forces that are flexible and specialized: the Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force-Crisis Response at Moron Air Base, Spain; the Crisis Response Force in Baumholder, Germany; and the East Africa Response Force in Djibouti. Also, when required, amphibious Marine Expeditionary Units offer another layer of reaction forces to protect U.S. personnel and facilities. Finally, U.S. Africa Command maintains Defense Cooperation Agreements with several African nations—which allow for the forward staging locations enable faster recovery or evacuation of personnel."

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