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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mullen Addresses Staff of Africa Command
During a visit to the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on June 26, 2008, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen expressed high expectations for the command's future and called on staff members to
During a visit to the headquarters of the U.S. Africa Command in Stuttgart, Germany, on June 26, 2008, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen expressed high expectations for the command's future and called on staff members to serve as leaders both within and outside of the command.

Approximately 500 members of Africa Command were in attendance, ranging in pay grade from E-5 to flag and general officer of all four services and civilian equivalents. Africa Command's unique makeup is an approximately even mix between civilian and military members and also includes numerous interagency representatives and contractors.

Mullen thanked the staff members for their hard work and dedication and acknowledged the many opportunities and challenges that come along with creating a new command. With approximately 70-100 new personnel joining the AFRICOM team each month, the command's infrastructure continues to evolve.

"The most exciting part of what you're doing, in my view, right now, is to stand up and start something new and, in fact, lay the groundwork for what will become, 10 to 20 years from now, an institution that has great relevance and great impact," said Mullen.

Africa Command's missions are already under way through a variety of military-to-military training exercises and humanitarian-assistance programs throughout Africa. For example, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Dallas recently completed of a 17-day law enforcement mission, marking the first time a foreign law-enforcement detachment conducted patrols and interdiction operations from a U.S. military ship in West Africa.

Identifying leadership as one of the most critical components at this stage in the command's development, Mullen expressed gratitude for the foundation set by the staff in a time of great transition and uncertainty. He also asked those in attendance to continue taking a proactive role in addressing Africa's challenges through strong leadership and willingness to accept change.

"We're living in a time where we have to change how we train people, how we educate people...It's an extraordinarily challenging time in this regard and yet an exciting time." Mullen said. " . . . There's no better place that's more of an example of change than this command."
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