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Military Review Discusses Africa Command
United States Africa Command is the subject of a new article in Military Review, an independent research journal published by the U.S. Army. <br /> <br />&#34;In many ways, AFRICOM is a post-Cold War experiment that radically rethinks security in
United States Africa Command is the subject of a new article in Military Review, an independent research journal published by the U.S. Army.

"In many ways, AFRICOM is a post-Cold War experiment that radically rethinks security in the early 21st century based on peace-building lessons learned since the fall of the Berlin Wall," author Sean McFate writes in the new article.

The article, "U.S. Africa Command: A New Strategic Paradigm?" is published in the January-February 2008 edition of Military Review and is available online. Military Review has been published since 1922 and is based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, home of the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College.

As a piece of scholarly research, McFate's article does not represent official U.S. policy or the views of U.S. Africa Command.

Following are some highlights and quotes from McFate's article:

WHY AFRICOM?

-- "Unified commands ... were instituted during the Cold War and today are the prism through which the Pentagon views the world."

However, McFate writes, the unified command design has proven problematic for DOD's involvement in Africa.

-- "Africa was never a number one priority for any unified command."

-- "Owing to historical disinterest, DoD never developed a sizable cadre of dedicated African experts."

-- "Africa has never benefitted from the advocacy of a four-star commander whose undiluted mandate includes helping policymakers understand the perspectives of African countries."

WHY NOW?

-- "African militaries make up a sizeable contingent of the African peacekeeping operations conducted by the U.N. and such regional organizations as the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Despite a willingness to participate in these operations, many African militaries lack the command, training, equipment, logistics, and institutions infrastructure required for peacekeeping, leaving the onus of support on the international community."

NEW STRATEGIC PARADIGM

The author recommends that AFRICOM "begin by adopting a new security paradigm, one that regards security and development as inextricably linked and mutually reinforcing."

-- "Since the Cold War's end, development donors have come to realize that if the security sector operates autonomously -- with scant regard for the rule of law, democratic principles, and sound management practices -- then sustainable, poverty-reducing development is nearly impossible to achieve."

-- "Africa has been the recipient of several Marshall Plans worth of foreign assistance since World War II's end, yet it remains arguably as impoverished today as it was in 1946."

-- As U.S. experiences in Iraq have shown, "if there is a single lesson to be learned from recent nation-building experiences, it is that security is a precondition for development."

-- "Sadly, however, U.S. security and development institutions have long been divorced from one another in terms of perspective, operations, and outcomes."

-- "AFRICOM's mission should not be development, but the failures of development may drive AFRICOM."

SECURING DEVELOPMENT

-- "Narrowing the security-development gap does not mean militarizing development. ... Narrowing the gap means shifting military strategic priorities from combat to noncombat operations; it means focusing on conflict prevention rather than conflict reaction."

-- "In many ways, AFRICOM is an opportunity to institutionalize and operationalize peace-building lessons captured over the past 15 years."

-- "Owing to the size and complexity of Africa, concentrating on fragile states before they fail or devolve into conflict represents an economy of force.

The author also discusses U.S. strategic and economic interests in Africa, as well as the concerns many Africans have voiced about AFRICOM.

CONCLUSION: WILL IT WORK?

-- "Tactically, AFRICOM will narrow the gap through security sector reform and other programs that professionalize forces, promote good governance, and help Africans improve their own security."

-- "The strategy it will employ is a promising one, suggesting that there is sufficient reason to be hopeful."

The views expressed in the article are those of the author and do not represent U.S. policy or formal endorsement by U.S. Africa Command. This article is being highlighted on the Africa Command Website to help further public understanding and discussion of the United States Africa Command.
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