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TRANSCRIPT: Ward Outlines AFRICOM Vision - 'Active Security' and Partnerships to Prevent Conflict
The work of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) will be based on programs and international partnerships aimed at helping African nations and regional organizations prevent future conflict, General William "Kip" Ward, AFRICOM commander,
The work of United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) will be based on programs and international partnerships aimed at helping African nations and regional organizations prevent future conflict, General William "Kip" Ward, AFRICOM commander, said February 18 at a London defense conference, where he outlined his vision for the command and a concept he calls "active security."

Africa Command, he stressed, will not take the place of civilian and nongovernmental programs on the continent but will seek to collaborate with others. Ward delivered the keynote address at a U.S.-Africa relations conference hosted by the Royal United Services Institute.

"AFRICOM recognizes the essential interrelationship between security, stability, economic development, political advancement, things that address the basic needs of the peoples of a region," Ward said.

"Active security," he explained, means "activities that we do on a sustained basis that help lead to stability in a country, in a region. ... We want to improve our ability to provide what we're asked to do in support of our friends, and in so doing help build their security capacity."

U.S. Africa Command is being created in Stuttgart, Germany, and will have a staff of approximately 1,300 personnel, including 665 civilian personnel and 639 military personnel, Ward said. The staff is currently about 400 personnel.

Ward spoke for more than 60 minutes and answered questions from the audience on a range of issues.

Following is a transcript of Ward's remarks and question-and-answer session.

UNITED STATES AFRICA COMMAND
REMARKS BY GENERAL WILLIAM "KIP" WARD
Commander, United State AFRICA Command
Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies
London
FEBRUARY 18, 2008

GENERAL WILLIAM "KIP" WARD: (In progress) I'm an action type of a person and I'm -- I get out and I know this is being recorded, so I hope if I start moving around, my voice will carry enough that whatever is being recorded will still be picked up.

First, let me say how happy that I am to be here at this very renowned and famous place to talk to the assembled audience here about something that, for me, is very, very significant and something that I am greatly appreciative of for having the opportunity to command as the United States does what it does in recognizing how we do our work on the continent of Africa as it is carried out through the offices of the Department of Defense. Let's see here. (Turns to laptop computer at podium to display slides) Now, somebody told me it would load it up. I don't want to mess it up. Okay. I don't know if I did it, or if all of the talk I did -- (off mike, laughter).

Let me start off by saying that when I was confirmed by the Senate as the inaugural commander for the U.S.-Africa Command, it came at a time that I think we all recognize very significant in our lifetime. And the opportunity that we have to move forward in a way that causes how we, the United States of America, the Department of Defense, views what goes on in Africa through the lens of a single, unified command as opposed to through the lens of three sub-commands is indeed a historic opportunity. But even more so than that, the opportunity to cause how we are constructed, how we are set up, to recognize the fact that when you talk about promoting long-term stability and creating security that provides the environment for other things to flourish that are indeed key factors in that long-term security, it is really the type of endeavor that causes us all to be exhilarated.

AFRICOM recognizes those facts. AFRICOM recognizes the essential interrelationship between security, stability, economic development, political advancement, things that address the basic needs of the peoples of a region, and importantly, the requirement to do those efforts and in as collaborative a way as possible, not to take over the work of others, but to ensure that the work that's being done complements the work that others are doing in pursuit of those same objectives.

And that is something that I think we all share as common goals.

AFRICOM was created to do that, created to cause the work that the Department of Defense does to be better integrated, to be better coordinated, and to cause the programs, from the military-to-military programs to the humanitarian programs that can support our pursuit of security objectives, to be better related to those efforts that are undertaken by others, other governmental agencies, other non-governmental organizations, private enterprise, in the hopes of creating a sort of conditions that indeed are conducive to long-term stability in this very important part of the world. I'll talk about those factors or those ingredients of this command a bit more as I go through the presentation. And, as Sir Paul indicated, I will try to leave time for some responses to questions at the end of my presentation.

(To staff, ensuring laptop displays correctly) I still don't speak -- someone's watching.

This is no news to you, this audience. You are here because of your interest in the continent of Africa. And I show this slide just to put things in perspective. Again, the audiences who we deal with are audiences quite frankly don't always understand from perspectives above us. And so I show this chart because it does put things in a perspective that hopefully it helps better understand why it is so important in the world of today to pay attention to the continent of Africa and its island nations in a very comprehensive and complete way. The fact that the move from here to here on a modern jet airplane is about a 12 and half hours non-stop flight, that is a huge immense of geography. You put the waters of the continent in play, the coastline of the continent in play, and it is absolutely clear what we're talking about.

And then you look at the population, look at the population. It's almost unimaginable and the diversity of that population likewise. And so I'll talk about what the means a bit more, but I think we just, to put it in perspective, it's important to understand the immenseness of this and the fact that nothing can be done that will address the entirety of that continent. The age old cliche, one size does not fit all, is certainly true in this case. It is certainly true in this case.

When the secretary of Defense charged me to implement the decision of the president of the United States to look at the continent of Africa in a way that we had not looked at it before, many of you are aware that in the previous situation, the Department of Defense divided the continent in three, through the lens of three separate commands: the United States European Command, United States Pacific Command, and the United States Central Command. And each command had a different part of the continent and its island nations in their -- or in its area of responsibility. And as was pointed out in a way by Sir Paul, our application of our effort was not always as sustained or as consistent as we would like it to have been.

And so when the decision was made at the recommendation of the secretary of Defense and the decision by the president of the United States to reorganize how the Department of Defense views its role in Africa and looked at Africa as Africans look at Africa, as an entire continent and its island nations through a single lens. It signals how we determined and what we thought necessary to provide for a more advanced, a more comprehensive, a more total look, and quite frankly cause our view of Africa to reflect how we viewed other parts of the world geographically.

And so for the first time, the creation of a command, and that command looking at Africa as a continent and its island nations as a whole, just as they view the Pacific, Europe, the Americas, and in that construct looking at a key, key ingredient, this notion of sustained security engagement, sustained security engagement and various things that we would do.

Now, let's talk about how we're going to do that when I come to a different, a follow-on chart. That notion of sustain is critical. The focus effort that is now realized because of the creation of Africa Command provides for that sustained engagement. Previously, when we had AFRICOM, preface before AFRICOM, we had Africa looked at by three separate commands. Africa was a part of their greater discussion for Europe, for the Central Command, for the Pacific Command. Now, Africa is the central and sole part of the focus, the interest, of a dedicated unified command for delivering sustained security engagement through the continent. How we've organized ourselves to do what we have been doing on the continent and providing programs for quite some time. There's oftentimes discussion that well, you're doing something new and you'll be doing different things. Yes, before. So no; the programs, the activities, and I'll talk about these a bit later, the exercises, the missions that we have already been conducting, we will continue to conduct. It is HOW we conduct those activities that will be different.

We are a command under construction. Now, I didn't know how many of you have ever done something for the very first time, moved into an organization, stood up something new, and I've spoken to a few of you, so I know that there is some experience. I've never done that before. I've never stood up something for the first time, something brand new.

Throughout my 36-year military career, I've moved into an existing platoon, an existing company, my existing battalion, brigade, division. When I was COM SFOR (Stabilization Force in Bosnia) the Stabilization Force was already there. And then you go in and you see what's happening and you make some changes on the margin to make things better. SOPs exist, standard operating procedures, policies; brand new here. I call it a success when over a seven-day period of time, I pick up the telephone and think I'm dialing my director of Strategy, Plans and Programs, and he's at the same place, eureka. (Laughter.)

Plugging in telephones, I walk out of my office and walk down the street and I think I'm going to where I think one of my directorates is established and his office is moved. So we are indeed a command under construction, and I've used an analogy and some of you will understand this. Under construction, is that the foundation that's being built? Are the walls going up? And is the frame? Is the roof on? Is it being finished? Is the electrical circuits -- are the electrical circuits being put in? Is the plumbing being installed? Well, it's all of that going on. And at any point in time, do you think, well, it's just the foundation being laid. And at other points in time, it's a bit more, but we are a command under construction.

As of 1 October 2007, about five months ago, the command declared what we call initial operational capability.

Essentially, that said, we turned the lights on, and we began the process of looking at the various activities that we would be accepting from our other unified commands in a very deliberate and a very focused and sustained way, the idea being that what is currently occurring, those programs, we want to ensure continue on in as seamless a fashion as possible. So we are in the throes of building this team. And I'll talk about the team a bit later on, who these individuals are, that we're in the process of ensuring that the relationships that we want to have with our partners, our partners on the African continent, our international partners, our non-governmental partners, understand who we are and what we want to accomplish as we move forward together.

So building the team: Assembling from a wide range of agencies a team of hope that will help us do the job that I showed you in our proposed mission statement. That team of individuals that I'll describe a bit later on, more than half civilian, and within that civilian component, interagency personnel, so they aren't just Department of Defense civilians. We are advertising, but before you advertise, we've got to write position descriptions, determine what role we want individuals to take, and then write those decisions and our system of civilian activities and personnel practices. Many of you are familiar with that, get those petitions filled, and then bring those persons on board. That number, it's about 665, and then about a number of 639 uniformed from across our services, joint teams, coming together to do the work of the command.

I talked about the programs, forth being there, adding value, and doing no harm. I've said the work of the command is not new work. The work of the command is to cause the work that we do to be better, to improve upon those programs that we implement so that, in fact, the effect that we create is a more positive effect in helping to add to the stability of the continent, and of course while doing that to do no harm. I kind of liken it to a relay race. I look out here, if you notice, and I see some former track -- I say former -- (laughter) -- former track and field stars. And you use the analogy of a mile relay, the runners are passing the baton, handing off the baton to the next mission. Well, that's where we are.

And so as we accept missions from three existing commands doing the work on the continent, we want to ensure that we are at a pace, so that as we accept that mission, we don't drop that for time, that we do no harm to those programs that are already in play. So that's how we are approaching this, and all of those efforts designed not to be the one there doing the work -- because as was pointed out, that isn't always seen in the most favorable way, but in the words of -- and I paraphrase -- Nelson Mandela, Africans doing our own work, providing for our own security, but with the help of others. And that's the help that we are providing. So our effort, so that we are enabling the work of Africans on the continent.

The three bubbles here in the lower right talk to the totality of that process, accepting missions, understanding what those missions are, engaging with our partners in America because they get at the construct -- it's a bit different and I will talk about that construct -- Department of State, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Department of Commerce, Department of Treasury, Department of Homeland Security, all partners in this effort. How do we work this partnership causing them to understand the importance of their role in this command from their point of view?

Our African partners, I'm sure someone will talk to me about -- whoa -- how come Africa's against your command? Africa's not against the command. And what we're doing as we engage Africa is explaining what this command is about, and that is the delivery of programs that are programs being asked for by sovereign entities on the continent of Africa and programs that are in keeping with stated U.S. foreign policy objectives. And oh, by the way, I don't make that (U.S. foreign policy). So I think as we go through our processes, this is what AFRICOM's mission, I told my very small team of folks things that we have to do. And as build a command, as we accept missions, as we engage with our partners and friends, causing that to be understood in ways that make a difference for them.

I show you this chart not to belabor a wire diagram but to highlight a couple of things. This individual here (Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities) is a career Foreign Service Officer, a senior minister counselor out of our Department of State. The first time this has ever happened in any of our unified commands because the nexus that we clearly seek between the work of this command in support of U.S. foreign policy objectives as pertain to this civil-military activities. Here (Deputy to the Commander for Military Operations), a traditional deputy, a three-star vice admiral. So two deputies, co-equal status, senior civilian State Department, military.

And of these six major directorates (Dirctor for Outreach; Director for Strategy, Plans and Programs; Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development; Director for C4 Systems; Director for Operations and Logistics; and Director for Resources), three are civilian. Three are civilian: the director for outreach, the director for intelligence and knowledge development. Let's spend a bit of time on knowledge development because that is such an important construct:

Understanding what goes on in Africa from others' perspectives, not just ours. We spend a lot of time focused on trying to do our best, and we won't be perfect, but doing our best and getting that right. The good news is we know from the outset that it's not just what we think; it's also what others think, and as importantly, what others know about what it is that goes on, the reactions to.

Our director for strategy, plans and programs, who happens to be here today, Major General, director for operational logistics, director for C4 systems, and our resources director, another senior executive service civilian. And then beneath the organizations, at the deputy director level, likewise mix of senior civilians. And from the uniform side of it, joint application from our four various services. So a unique design: nowhere else in our Department of Defense command plan structures does this exist. It's different, it's different, and we hope to be able to do business in a different way.

The broader theme, you know, I showed you the mission: sustained security engagement. Who do we do that with? Who are the teammates? Who are the players? Who else is involved? How do we do our best to assure ourselves that what we do supports and compliments creating the effects that we all seek to have? This broader team: I've talked about the U.S. government piece of it, our African partners, bilaterally the things that we do with Africans, African nations in our bilateral relationships, but also providing support to the organizations that the Africans have said are important to them: the African Union, their regional economic communities, and as they create their standby brigades, how can we assist in that effort? Again, not as we think or what we direct, but what comes to us in the way of requests, and again, in keeping with our stated U.S. foreign policy objectives.

International partners: We are not the only ones there. (Shouts) Hey team, we get it!(Laughter.)

So we know there are others who are operating on the continent. We haven't developed all the protocols for what we'll do and how we will do all of these things, but we know it's important to work with them as best we can and to the degree that they want us to work with them. And I will tell you, there is great enthusiasm amongst all of these partners to work with us because of how we look to do our work on the continent. And again, it's not just based on our perspective.

I gave a term, and some of you have probably been in one of these things before, a foxhole. And the whole idea is you get outside of your foxhole, you go downrange, you look back at it from the point of view of someone else, and then you see how good is it really? That's our approach, to go downrange, look at what we're doing from someone else's perspective, and oh by the way, how is it? That's understood what those perspectives are, well you talk to them. You listen to them, and you incorporate those things that make a difference in improving your organization into how you do your duty, those things that you do.

Civil society: A lot of activity goes on in the continent through our non-government organizations. Academia is involved. I showed you early on this thing about knowledge development. When I was in previous assignments, someone came to me and would talk about, well, 'Ward, you need to get a cultural anthropologist on your team.' I said, what! A cultural what? Anthropologist? To do what? Get out of here. Or, 'Ward, you need to have someone to help you understand the human dimension. You need some human terrain analysis.' I said, 'what? Get out of here.' But it's important, and where do those skills, talents reside -- academia, places like RUSI. We want to understand as best as we can and where do we go to attain that expertise and understanding: outside of ourselves; the teams that we hope to partner with, private industry. I mean, I've spent time in different places from the Balkans to the Middle East to Africa, and one thing that I know is that when you want sustained stability, guys 15 years of age to 35 years of age need to productively and gainfully employed. That needs to be addressed. I don't do that, not for the long term. So private sector, private enterprise is a part of this dimension, teammates. (Shouts) I told you I get it! (Laughter.)

A command under construction: And you're going to ask me, well how does all that fit in? We're building it; we're not there yet. I'm giving you what I see as a vision, a vision that in five, 10 -- and this is a deliberate endeavor that requires the patience and sometimes -- well, I'm not talking about all Americans, but Kip Ward is not a real patient guy, but I know that this requires patience. I'd use a -- I won't say it here because it's probably not the best thing to say -- but the true value, work, et cetera, et cetera won't be seen tomorrow, next week, but in 10 years, in 20 years, just like 50 years ago, the groups that sat here 50 years ago, if someone said, well, in 1989 we'll see communism and the wall go down, the group sitting in here would have looked at the person making that statement like they had horns growing out of their head.

These are long-term activities and the work that we do today is being done so that 50 years from now, some of those same proclamations that we make today about how the world has changed, we'll be saying about the continent of Africa in positive terms. We think this construct gives us an ability to beginmoving in that direction. And oh by the way, so we have a model for others as well, just like models you know so well, places like Afghanistan with the provincial reconstruction teams and what that's producing.

What are we doing right now? I've talked about it being a command under construction, looked at our various missions that are going on on the continent of Africa: Operation Enduring Freedom -- Trans-Sahel in the north, the combined joint task force Horn of Africa in the east. Programs that we're conducting: Africa Partnership Station, bringing in an at-sea platform, a vessel. In this case that's going on right now, having embarked upon that vessel, engineers, doctors, teaching, providing assistance to, as they request it, and I want to go back to that, as they -- can you help us cause our electricians to have an increased level of efficiency in maintaining electrical circuits on the patrol craft that have been provided so they can keep them running? That's what's going on with this African Partnership Station vessel -- Can you bring some engineers around so that the outboard motors that are on these vessels can be maintained a bit better. Can you help us better understand some of those principles? That's what's occurring. Can you help us train our sailors on some basic lifesaving procedures so that if they get hurt, their buddies can deliver a higher state of initial aid for them? That's what's going on. Can you bring some of those docs that you have aboard, take them ashore, and some of those veterinarians, and help address some local health issues with the local population and their animals and herds? That's what's going on. Does it add to stability? I think so. And they've asked for that.

Exercises: Those traditional military-to-military activities that help professionalize, and I use that word kind of gingerly, but professionalize armed forces, to cause them to be seen as protectors of their people as opposed to oppressors, through positive example of leadership, values, again not because we say we're coming and we're going to do this for you, but because the request comes in, can you help us? And our foreign policy objective says helping to build professional militaries is in our best interest. So we're in a process of reviewing all of those activities, and as the command achieves capacity, taking over those missions, activities, programs, and exercises, as we move through this year of transition until we are a separate and independent, unified command 1 October of this year.

The things I talked about highlight this notion that I call active security, active security being the activities that we do on a sustained basis that help lead to stability in a country, in a region. It is a sustained level; right now we're doing this Africa Partnership Station, and if I were to say we'd do one of those cruises stopping in four or five countries ever 18 months, we're being asked, well can you do it to every eight months?

So we want to improve our ability to provide what we're asked to do in support of our friends and in so doing help build their security capacity so that they can do these security operational missions on their own. We know we do that because of the requirement to be in continual dialogue. And all of those efforts focused on preventing conflict. That's, I think, critical, not being a crisis responder, but preventing conflicts, setting conditions that prevent that, all being done to enable the work of Africans.

So what do we have here? Well, we do have a vision for a new command. It's not an experiment because we are putting it to work. But it is a learning organization that will be developing those things within the Department of Defense from the standpoint of the programs that cause us to more effectively deliver security assistance to our African friends and their organizations, as they request and in support of our U.S. foreign policy objectives. In doing this, we know that we need to be a trusted and reliable partner. How to achieve that: by being open, by being transparent, to listening, to learning and adopting as those things come along and make sense, creating partnerships that indeed lead to stability, creating partnerships that lead to security, creating partnerships that lead to the development, the long-term development that in fact becomes the inner core of what would go on in the continent and amongst its island nations.

I think that's my last chart. We about that. But that's who we are. That's where we are. Building these relationships that get us there is the work of a command. Carrying out programs that lead to the stability is where we're heading. And doing it in a way that causes all the stakeholders in that endeavor to know that we indeed listen to them, we respect what they have to offer, and hope they vote in confidence and they endeavor the efforts of each of us in doing our work.

So I'll stop there and I think that's about where I needed to be. And I'll take some comments, some questions, and just listen to you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Now, if you don't have any questions or comments, I can go on some more. I've got some more here -- (laughter).

SIR PAUL LEVER (Chairman of RUSI): General, thanks so much, a command under construction, but a very, very unique form of command. Could I ask those of you who would like to put a question to await the arrival -- we have microphones, yes -- wait the arrival of the microphone and it always helps if you gave your name and any organization with which you are associated. For those of you standing at the back, there are a few seats in the front row. Yeah, the second row?

Q: My name is Mohammed -- (inaudible) I am a journalist from (inaudible) magazine. I just want to ask two questions. You said that Africa's not against AFRICOM. How did you manage to get its assent? Did you do anything, say anything? Another thing is how can you make sure that AFRICOM will not become a tool for dictatorships to get stronger?

Thank you very much.

GEN. WARD: Thank you. I've not done a formal survey because I'm not writing a dissertation on that. So I appreciate your question. But this is what I have done. Over the last, I would say 20, 22 months or so during my time as the deputy commander of U.S. European Command and during my time as commander of Africa Command, I have visited about 30 countries in Africa and have spoken to various leaders, both uniformed and civilian, and asked when the United States Department of Defense comes in response to questions for, Can you help us plan better for an operation? Can you help us train our young sergeants to be non-commissioned offices who accept responsibility, are more efficient in delivering and carrying out their duties?

When they come to us and ask, we'd like to have better maintenance and logistics systems, can you send some folks to train out people on how to ensure repair part supplies are enforced so that when there's a natural disaster and we like to send our C-130s to move humanitarian supplies from one location to another, those C-130s are operational; when you come to us and ask, we have some coastline that we can't monitor, we need to have systems that enable us to link our ability to understand what goes on to improve our maritime safety and security, can you help us put those systems in place?

When they come to us and ask, we'd like to deploy our forces from our country to go and assist in bringing stability to another part of the continent, but we can't get there, can you help us? When they come to us and ask in order to go do this mission, we need a bit more equipment, either some individual equipment, some vehicles, can you help us? And in each of those cases, we are able to provide some support through some mechanism, and that makes a positive difference.

And so then when I say, do you still want that? Because if you don't want that, then, yeah, you're right, you don't want AFRICOM. But if you want that, then that's what AFRICOM is here to do for you. The answer to that is, yes, we want AFRICOM. So that's how I look at it.

This notion of militarizing the continent, what I just showed you had nothing to do with stationing large garrisons of troops, taking in U.S. forces, putting in naval bases, establishing army bases. I've been saying that what we do is in support of U.S. foreign policy, so we're not making any policy that's going to be followed here. So that notion of militarizing your continent, it's just not there. It's not the case. I can't control what folks write, but what I'm telling you is what we'll be attempting to do, and oh, by the way, when we do those things that I just kind of described to you, doing it in a way that is more effective because we do it in a very open, transparent way, doing those things that we're asked to do working with all, as much as we can, the stakeholders that also are operating and those missions in line with the stated U.S. foreign policy objectives, that oh, by the way, AFRICOM does not make.

SIR PAUL LEVER: Thank you. Second right there, yeah.

Q: General, Tom Trenton (spelling?), an American journalist and member of the institute. If the mission of AFRICOM is to enhance the security and stability, are there any lessons to be learned from the Ethiopian invasion of Somalia in which the United States played a peripheral but not insignificant role?

GEN. WARD: I think -- I wasn't involved in that, so I can't speak to it, but this is how I will address that, Tom. Our activities are activities -- as we work with sovereign entities on the continent, activities that are in support of achieving some mutual objectives. And so as we continue to pursue those mutual objectives, the lesson learned, I guess, is a lesson that we all know, and that is a lesson of working in transparent ways with those sovereign entities so that what we do is supportive of achieving a mutual goal. And by so doing, it's the desired intent, the desired outcome, that that leads to increased stability, stops human suffering, that's the lesson. We try to do it such that it's consultative.

Is it always perfect? What's always perfect? What I tell you, the attempt, the endeavor will cause it to be, we want it to be as successful as we can make it in bringing stability, in bringing security, and helping protect the lives of innocent people. And that's what we offer. Is that a lesson? It's something that, I think, is a lesson for all time, for all ages, for all people, and we have to -- will we always be perfect? I don't know much out there that is always perfect, but what I do say is that we will always go after it in ways that we hope will achieve and produce the most positive result that we can.

SIR PAUL LEVER: Gentlemen there, yeah.

Q: Captain O'Brian. You talked heavily about what you're doing on the ground, but you also touched on knowledge development. So I wonder, particularly in the area of analysis, what sort of analytical resources do you think the command will need? And as you build your command, where will you draw those from? And then somewhat related to that, there's been quite a lot of speculation and discussion in academia and civil society about contracting out U.S. efforts in Africa. How much do you think that U.S. government employees and military personnel will be able to provide the needs that you have in this command and how much will need to be contracted out?

GEN. WARD: Yeah, great question. I think it's without saying that much of the expertise and knowledge that we would seek to have is in fact resident in other places than U.S. military, be it uniform or civilian. We are in the process now of looking at those alternatives, those options, academia, other institutions of study and analysis that have in-depth research and understanding and knowledge of what it is we need to have a greater degree of understanding of ourselves, finding out who they are and then finding ways to partner with them, to work with them, to cause our understanding to be as good as it can be so that as we move forward and implement our program, we do it with a better understanding of the potential impact. To go back to the question my friend from here had, we in fact do carry out on programs in a way that produces a more positive effect and taking the lessons learned from the past as well. We recognize that that's an important part of our construct.

Getting to who they will be, where we will draw them from, again that's -- there are offers coming in and we appreciate that. I'll be very candid with you, one of my things that worries me now because there is such enthusiasm and interest because as you build a new organization, you have places that those things reside so that you can direct and receive the support, those don't exist just yet. And so what I'm sensitive to is the offer to assist, but I can't take it just yet because the infrastructure, the structure doesn't exist to receive it just yet. So we're working like crazy to get that in place so that when we receive these offers of assistance, we can in fact have places that, yes, this is who you work with, this is who we would be working with to cause the contributions that you can make to us in this endeavor, we can put to use. So that's a work in progress, but great question and we know we need to go other places to get this sort of expertise, knowledge, and help.

SIR PAUL LEVER: Yeah.

Q: Thank you very much. Jaman (ph) -- (inaudible) -- College. First I have two quick questions, General. The first is, there has been quite a lot of, how to say, people have been quite skeptical about the issue of location, especially from the African continent. Is there any update on location, a permanent location for it? And then secondly, it occurs to me that in already five months that it has been announced, the announcement was made, the impression was made, as if there's been a shift in the way the U.S. is trying to get its message across. Don't you think sometimes America gets it wrong when they try to pitch, trying to get people to understand what this is all about and there are some other, still American policies that come across because you look very enthusiastic and it's good, but that message doesn't really get to Africa, to those who the program is meant for. Don't you think sometimes there's a need for more consultation, more engagement before policies are made, especially engagement with those for who the polices are meant? Thank you.

GEN. WARD: Well, thanks for that and a great question. Unfortunately -- I won't say unfortunately -- we are now where we are, and the consultation that you described, that before the -- that this is not a policy, this is reorganization of the Department of Defense, and so it's really not a policy. But the consultation that you very adequately talked to there, there was an attempt to go around and talk and consult with the several audiences prior to announcing the decision to -- the reorganization decision. I grant you that it did not produce the sort of effect that was hoped for. And so you are absolutely correct that in the last four to six months there has been a change in how we are delivering the message about what the command is. Can't go back and fix something that happened 12 months ago, so I appreciate your acknowledging that.

What we are trying to do now is to reinforce and emphasize, and trying to reach the audiences that you've spoken to or that you have spoken about here. Being more on the continent, myself, those -- my deputies that you saw there along with those -- that tier of directors going out, talking to various audiences not just here in Europe, not just in America, but also on the continent of Africa to various media, print media, radio, TV, et cetera, et cetera, trying to explain what this reorganization is about, trying to explain that what we want to do is cause those programs that we are asked to provide to be executed in a more effective way because as opposed to having those programs being looked at by three different commands across the continent in a sometimes unrelated and uncoordinated fashion, to reorganize ourselves in a way that will cause our approach to deliver these programs to be more coordinated in keeping with the work being done by others in a more effective and knowledgeable way, that we add value to those programs.

And when I delivered that message in those terms to Africans on the continent, that when I say that it is not about establishing large bases in Africa, it is not about bringing in large levels troops to Africa to do things, they said, ah, okay, okay, why didn't you say that first? Well, I can't go back and fix 12 months ago when we were doing things at that point in time. And we were saying some of these things; they were just being received in different ways, and it just resonated the way it did.

Now, some of that applied to the president's piece. It applied to the fact that we recognize the vastness of the continent and that what goes in the north and the east, the south, the central part of Africa, there are differences there. And so, an attempt to explain or talk through our realization of that, we talked about how a presence would help in our understanding. And that was translated into: The Americans are invading. Not the case at all. And so we backed away from that part of it, because it was so confusing. We have not asked any African nation to host any part of this command. The command is being stood up initially in Stuttgart, Germany, because it facilitates the transfer of missions, since a great part of what has been going on was being done by the European Command. I was that deputy in U.S. European Command, its four-star deputy. Some of the staff that was at the U.S. European Command, its work in Africa will move over. This facilitates that mission transfer, it facilitates that transition, if you will.

Our programs are the focus. To the degree that having some presence, and again, it's undefined. And this is a headquarters; it's not combat forces running around, it's not air wings being established. This is a headquarters, a staff headquarters. To the degree that some portion of that staff headquarters being on the continent at some point in time will be a positive factor in helping us better deliver programs, and determining where that is, we will then work with a potential host nation and see if that could be done. But we're not there. We are not there. And so this is the status for today, and that's where it is.

SIR PAUL LEVER: I know there's a lot of interest. I'm going to try to squeeze into one more round. I'll try and get two or three questions together, but you could please make them very, very brief?

Q: General, Tony -- (off mike) -- representing BP Angola, security advisor there. You mentioned industry as being a key part of your relationship building. Can you say the mechanism you're going to use for this, in particular obviously companies like BP and other large oil companies which wish to work with our host governments but also with what you're doing?

GEN. WARD: Thank you very much.

SIR PAUL LEVER: I'll take one there.

Q: Thank you, I am -- (inaudible) -- from the Embassy of Sudan. It's a very wise idea to link defense with development and with partnership with the African countries. This is very wise and very clever and a new idea, but there are pitfalls also. For example, you have talked about the NGOs and think tanks. Experience has shown that when the --

SIR PAUL LEVER: Could you make your question brief? We are very, very short on time.

Q: When there is finance coming from abroad or think tanks and for NGOs, you have much roaming (?) of think tanks which have no roots in the local societies and as such, that could create some problems. Thank you.

SIR PAUL LEVER: Okay, and one more. Right there.

Q: Major Captain -- (inaudible). Sir, where we do come with a military umbrella about this AFRICOM when we know that there are other priorities, economically speaking, that -- (inaudible) -- service in Africa on a civilian -- (inaudible)?

GEN. WARD: I don't know if I -- I think the military umbrella -- repeat that again, please?

Q: The AFRICOM as a military, some join in the question of the gentleman over there, make the people working with AFRICOM the military umbrella in general, why don't we, they, do it under civilian perspective like other countries, China or Russia, have done in Africa?

GEN. WARD: First, I think you know the fear -- our Director of Outreach is the conduit which we have established that we would entertain and receive these other interests, if you will, for how we can work with others on the continent, this will be the industry piece through our director of outreach. Again, we're holding various seminars and sessions where those things might be applicable to what we want to do can be discussed. And so there will be ways for industry to tap into, so we can understand and see what can be provided. The Director for Outreach is the mechanism. With the respect to the NGOs and think tanks, again, I think it's we will do our best to understand who they are, and so that those that we in fact work with have established reputations, have records of understanding that are in fact records that make a difference. Again, that's as I said, we will be listening, consulting. It won't be everyone. It won't be all of those that are out there. And so we will do our best to work with those organizations, those academia, academic institutions that have proven records of being some expertise in what it is that we are dealing with. So that's kind of where we are.

So again, I go back to what this is. This is a Department of Defense entity. We are a unified command. We are the attempt by the secretary of defense and the president to reorganize how its military delivers the part that it does in support of these policies. How that might happen in other parts of government could be -- this is not exclusive of potential government, I don't know that, but this is how we in the Department of Defense do our work. We know now that stability and security is not just a military issue. So because of that, just as we see in a place like Afghanistan: we have teams that are interagency, that are intergovernmental, that are multinational, so too this command takes that construct and applies it writ large, still as a military organization.

Is it possible that down the road at some point in time, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years that you might have a unified command headed by a civilian? Possible.

So that's where we are right now. Again, not at the exclusion of those other things, but how we have reorganized ourselves to do our part in delivering our programs.

SIR PAUL LEVER: Thank you, General. We are out of time. My apologies to those who would have wanted to put a question.

I know there was a lot of interest. I hope you'll get the occasion later on in the day to make your points. We're going to move straight into the next session, but before we do, could I ask you all to join me in thanking General Ward for that introduction. (Applause.) Yours may be a command in construction, but I get the impression it's going to be quite a fun command to work in. All the best to you. Thank you very much.

(END OF TRANSCRIPT)

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