WASHINGTON – Commander of U.S. Africa Command, Gen. Thomas Waldhauser provided information to members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services (SASC) during a hearing held on March 9, 2017.
Waldhauser appeared before the committee for an annual session that allows members the opportunity receive updates from commanders and ask questions that inform decisions. During the hearing, Waldhauser submitted U.S. AFRICOM’s official annual posture statement and answered questions related to the command’s area of responsibility on topics ranging from counter-terrorism initiatives to the influence of other countries upon the African continent.
Sen. John McCain (AZ), SASC chairman, along with Ranking Member Sen. Jack Reed (RI) and other SASC members listened as both Waldhauser and U.S. Central Command Commander, Gen. Joseph Votel, delivered remarks.
Waldhauser described Africa’s security environment as dynamic and complex, requiring innovative solutions.
He noted that huge strides made by the Multinational Joint Task Force, comprised of forces from Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria - the five partner countries in the Lake Chad region were making a contribution to a more stable environment.
In response to a question about the current environment in Libya, Waldhauser responded, saying, “ISIL no longer controls Sirte, but we know that ISIL fighters are in small numbers and are re-grouping.”
“Stability in Libya is a long-term proposition,” said Waldhauser, “We must support their effort to re-establish a legitimate, unified government.”
With the flow of refugees from Libya into Tunisia, Waldhauser was asked his assessment on how that country was dealing with the situation. “They [Tunisia] are transforming their military and heading in the right direction,” said Waldhauser, “they are a ‘bright spot’ in Africa.”
He offered that they were no short-term military fixes for the many challenges on the continent. “To address threats,” said Waldhauser, “our military strategy articulates a long-term, regionally-focused approach for a safe and stable Africa.”