Contact Us Press Releases AFRICOM Portal
Commander of U.S. Africa Command Addresses Senior Leaders Seminar
General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, capped two weeks of the Africa Center's Senior Leaders Seminar July 11, 2008, in an address emphasizing partnerships on the African continent as key to the mission of the newest U.S.
General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, capped two weeks of the Africa Center's Senior Leaders Seminar July 11, 2008, in an address emphasizing partnerships on the African continent as key to the mission of the newest U.S. unified command.

"We are a listening and learning command," Ward said.

Ward's presentation outlined other elements of the mission, including sustained security engagement, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance. All of the objectives, he said, are meant to promote a stable and secure Africa, in support of U.S. foreign policy.

Ward also noted that that U.S. Africa Command operates in cooperation with other U.S. offices and international agencies already established in Africa. Further, he pointed out that the command seeks to respond to requests from African leaders, with their cooperation, on matters of concern that the leaders have identified. He cited several examples of successful partnerships in Nigeria, Madagascar and Tunisia.

Other topics that highlighted the second and final week of the seminar were economic issues as they pertain to the security sector, and security sector reform.

Analyzing the link between economics and security in Africa, Dr. Assis Malaquias, professor of government at St. Lawrence University, outlined strategies that included the sharing of scarce resources. He also discussed the role of economic development in ensuring security.

Dr. Willene Johnson, an economist and former U.S. director of the African Development Bank, addressed security sector budgeting and procurement in Africa. She detailed how defense budgets are formulated and discussed guiding principles for allocation of resources, citing challenges that include confidentiality and fiscal constraints.

A panel comprising Lieutenant General Baltazar Pimente, a member of Angola's National Defense Ministry; Kadiatou K. Keita, a member of parliament from Burkina Faso; and Peter W. Okwanyo, who holds a security position in the Office of the President of Kenya, described their country's specific approach to budgeting for security and defense.

International cooperation and support in security sector reform were also addressed. Alan Bryden, deputy head of research at the Geneva Centre for Democratic Control of Armed Forces, discussed the need to understand the role of different security providers and the importance of a national security review in security sector reform. He outlined modes of support from international actors, detailing both challenges to and strategies for reform. In particular, he pointed to South Africa as a successful model in security sector reform.

Portuguese and French perspectives on security in Africa were provided by General Joss Luiis Pinto Ramalho, and Lieutenant General Emmanuel Beth, respectively. General Pinto Ramalho is chief of staff of the Portuguese army, and Lieutenant General Beth is director for military and defense cooperation in the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

PARTNERSHIPS OPERATIONS READINESS