Contact Us Press Releases AFRICOM Portal
TRANSCRIPT: Ward Answers Questions from Senegalese Journalists
<i>As part of their visit to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, Senegalese journalists met with AFRICOM commander General William E. &#34;Kip&#34; Ward, December 18, 2009, for an on-the-record interview. <br
As part of their visit to the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, Senegalese journalists met with AFRICOM commander General William E. "Kip" Ward, December 18, 2009, for an on-the-record interview.

The journalists questioned Ward on the command's achievements and progress over the past few years, the command's budget, future goals, and the legacy Ward hopes to leave behind.

The Senegalese media delegation was in Germany December 14-18 to learn more about U.S. Africa Command and meet with senior staff members. Read more about their visit at

The transcript of their meeting with General Ward is available below: GEN. WILLIAM WARD: (In progress) -- during your visit here to Germany. And the weather is not quite Senegal weather -- (laughter) -- but it is really a privilege for us to be able to host you but more importantly to provide an opportunity for you to see our headquarters operation firsthand so that you have a clearer understanding of what it is and who we are. And I know by looking at your schedule you've had quite an extensive program both here in Stuttgart but also to Ramstein to visit my component there, and also to see some of the journalistic activities here when you visit to Mannheim to visit the Stars & Stripes publishing operation. I think I also saw that you had a brief opportunity to spend some time at the James F. Byrnes institute here in Stuttgart to see how we try to get along with our neighbors as well. I won't make any additional comments. Our time is quite short. But I hope I can add some additional perspectives to what you have already learned from the visits you had with both of my deputies and I am ready for your comments and your questions. I could talk and talk and talk because I love this command; I love working with Senegal. Senegal is a fabulous, fabulous partner. I have great respect for your military; I have great respect for your professionalism, great respect for the chief of your defense staff, General Fall, who is a good friend of mine who I have great admiration for. But I would not give you a chance to ask me questions, if I did that. But I'll stop at that. I will say one more thing. (Laughter.) I really enjoy visiting Senegal, too. Every time I come there, I have a fantastic time, marvelous time at the embassy and a wonderful, wonderful partner for us there. So I really enjoy working with the embassy led by a fantastic ambassador and her country team. And I have had just wonderful, wonderful visits to Senegal now over the past almost 4 years. And I look forward to going back again. So I will stop there. (Laughter.) So -- I can keep talking. (Laughter.) Q: (Via translator.) Sir, this question I would have for you would be, after 2 years now that you are commander of U.S. Africa Command, what is your upshot or status of accounts, if you will, of your organization? GEN. WARD: Fantastic. (Laughter.) We are making I think excellent, excellent progress -- quite frankly more than many would have envisioned. But it has been a result of the work that we have done, how we have attempted to partner with our friends and working in a very collaborative way to add value to our programs so that all see benefit being derived, benefit from those with whom we are working on the African continent, but also benefit to helping to achieve increased stability -- not because we are doing things, but because we are being a partner with our African friends, helping them do things as they have indicated they want to do to help increase stability. We are achieving that and that's good. There are a laundry list of activities that I could recite for you. That would take too much time and my staff can give that to you. But for participating in operations such as Flintlock, the Africa Partnership Station, the Africa Maritime Law Enforcement program, various training and equipping activities associated with peacekeeping endeavors that African nations are taking part in, providing equipment, providing training -- a list of activities that we are conducting because our African friends have asked us, not because we have put those upon, but because we've been asked to do these things as their capacity to improve their ability to provide for their own security as well as participate in regional security activities is being enhanced. And I think over the past two years because of the devoted attention that this command can provide to that, it has been very clear that we have been a positive force in helping increase those capacity levels of our partners. Q: (Via translator.) Sir, are you satisfied with your achievement thus far? Now the question isn't-- GEN. WARD: Well, I'm never satisfied. (Laughter.) We're making good progress, but I'm never satisfied. (Laughter.) Q: Sir, the question is, do you expect to consider an increase of U.S. Africa Command budget? GEN. WARD: Well, that's -- yes, I hope so. I can't guarantee that, but it is our objective to cause our activities to be recognized so that as our budget processes go forward and involve a series of steps to include our putting forward proposals for activities that are based on the collaborative work that we do with the embassies on the continent, with our partner nations, with the organization with whom we work to determine what our program would be. And then we submit that to the Department of Defense for its consideration. Obviously our president also looks at that total budget program and ultimately our Congress, as our direct representatives. People who authorize and appropriate funds have to approve that budget. So those processes go on, and I appear before our Congress and I talk about our programs with the intent of them understanding what we are doing, with them saying that those activities are also in the national interest of the United States. Then, after having looked at those activities as it compares to the entire U.S. budget, allocations are made. And so we pay a lot of attention to that. And the good news is the command is a very good advocate, a very good spokesperson for these programs that we would like to accomplish together on the continent. But we'll see. Q: (Via translator.) Sir, if you had to ask for the command budget increase today from the Congress, what would be your arguments? GEN. WARD: Having -- and, thank you; that's a great question because it really gets to the heart of why we exist as a command and why our activities are also in the national interest of the United States of America. I'll do more, but you go ahead and get that part -- Africa is a continent that is very important in today's global society. It is a continent that is challenged in some respects with the aftermath of conflict. It is also a continent that is full of opportunities because of its vastness, its people, its resources, its market potential and, as we work together to help bring stability so that that vast potential can be realized, the world community is better off. And so the arguments that we make are arguments that say our support -- and I say "support" because it's not our job to do -- but our support to Africans as Africans attempt to make their individual countries, their regions and the continent more stable so that the people of Africa can benefit from all of that. But also so that the world community can work more harmoniously is in the interest of America; it's in the interest of the nations of Africa; it's in the interest of the global community. And so our piece of that, our part of that is to do those things that the nations of Africa have asked us to do as they work to increase their security so that development can occur, so that the nations of the continent have a better chance of providing for their people in productive ways. And when that happens, we in America are better off, as is the entire global community. And so we all benefit from an approach to that regard. And that's why I think what we are doing is so important. And that's why we can make the arguments we make as we move forward. Great question, ma'am. Q: (Via translator.) Sir, being the first U.S. Africa Command commander, what's the legacy or the mark that you desire to leave behind? GEN. WARD: Another very good question. I see why you all are such respected journalists now. (Laughter.) You all ask very good questions. The legacy will be something that will be defined years from now, so I don't know if I can do that. I will say what I hope to accomplish. First and foremost, to stand up a command that is seen and recognized as a partner to our friends on the continent, to other parts of our government who view things in Africa; also to help improve stability, development, and governance issues so that that foundation is firm. And by so doing in 20 years, in 10 years, in 50 years, the continent of Africa and its peoples are better positioned to live in a stable environment, to be able to realize and in more effective ways the potential that exists inside their borders, to live in cooperative ways as neighbors in their region, and to cause all of that to be of benefit to the peoples of Africa. And when that happens, the world community also benefits. And so I would hope that as this period is looked back upon in 10 years, in 20 years, the dialogue, the narrative, would be one that says, Kip Ward helped to stand up a command that has been a contributing force for positive development and stability in Africa, and in so being, has helped to bring conditional stability and prosperity to the world. I guess the final thing that I would say in that, as I did what I do, the legacy would also imply that he was always respectful to his African partners and friends, treating them with dignity and respect, listening to them and valuing their input. MR: We can have one question; one last question. Q: Thank you, sir. Thanks to Gen. Kip Ward, and thank you for welcoming us here. I would like a chance to thank -- (inaudible, off mike) -- because I'm not a Senegalese journalist. My institution is -- (inaudible) -- I'm from Cameroon -- GEN. WARD: I've been to Cameroon, too. Q: Oh, yes, I know, sir. (Laughter.) I will welcome you there. So you just mentioned the issue of the vast net of Africa of the -- and you just -- the legacy. You were talking about 15 to even 50 years what -- (inaudible)-- remember. What are the strategy goals of the U.S. in that continent in the horizon 2050? If I say 2050 because of the U.N. Population Fund has just released last month some statistics from the population growth on the world. And by then, the African population will be around 2 billion. At the same time, the U.S. population will be 400-something, meaning that the African population will be more than 1.5 billion more than the U.S., and -- (inaudible) -- vast net of jobs on development -- (inaudible) -- resources. So in this regard, what do you think will be the core strategy goals of the United States in the African continent by that time? GEN. WARD: Well, this is probably not a question that I can answer. I'm not the policymaker. But I will tell you what I personally would think would be something that we would all like to see: that population that you described, that it's able to realize this potential because governments are taking care of their people, because the environment is stable, because there are means of employment, means of education, access to health that will allow that population to flourish and be productive. That takes all of us, to be sure, but most importantly, it takes the nations of Africa to be committed to that, and then with the support and help of the international community in achieving those common objectives. Merci, beaucoup. ALL: Merci, beaucoup. GEN. WARD: And I wish you a very good journey back to Senegal upon your departure here, but let me thank each of you for coming here. And I'm hopeful that your visit has been a very good one, a productive one and one that will be meaningful to you as you return to your journalistic enterprise. (END)