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Ward Testifies to House Appropriations Committee: 'Africans see us as partners ... not as part of their problem'
General William Ward told members of U.S. Congress that over the past two decades of his military career, he has often seen the importance of the military working closely in support of diplomacy and development to pursue national foreign policy
General William Ward told members of U.S. Congress that over the past two decades of his military career, he has often seen the importance of the military working closely in support of diplomacy and development to pursue national foreign policy goals.

"It didn't just occur to me in this assignment how critical those linkages are," Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), said in a hearing March 19, 2009, before the defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee.

Stressing the importance of a coherent approach to security and development, Ward said that defense activities performed by U.S. AFRICOM are designed to be as supportive as possible to diplomacy and development efforts in Africa.

"Ambassadors and country teams have a very heavy say in what we do to the degree that if an ambassador or country team recommends against doing some particular military or security activity, we don't do it."

Ward also addressed the question of U.S. AFRICOM's permanent headquarters, emphasizing that the focus is currently on programs and activities, rather than location.

"Africans see us as partners and allies, not as part of their problem, Ward explained. And so for many reasons, being on the continent today is not something that's either necessary, nor has been sought after because it is not the essential part of doing what we need to do to bring value added to our programs on the continent."

The full transcript of the hearing is posted at this link.
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