Contact Us Press Releases AFRICOM Portal
TRANSCRIPT: Ward on "Good Morning Namibia"
<i>General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, interviewed with talk show host Karembire Zemburka on Good Morning Namibia, April 30, 2010. The program aired on Namibian Broadcasting Corporation television, one of the two television
General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, interviewed with talk show host Karembire Zemburka on Good Morning Namibia, April 30, 2010. The program aired on Namibian Broadcasting Corporation television, one of the two television stations in Namibia.

During the segment, Ward explained about U.S. Africa Command's mission, programs, and activities, emphasizing that security and stability in Africa have a global impact.

"Instability anywhere in today's globalized environment affects all of us, wherever we may be," Ward said. "And so it is in the best interests of all peoples around the world to have stable locations, stable nations, stable areas, stable regions to help promote commerce, trade, freedom that will enable people to succeed."

The complete transcript is provided below: KAREMBIRE ZEMBURKA: (In progress) -- on defense, security, HIV/AIDS, and others this morning. I'm privileged to be joined by the commander, General William Ward, to talk about his visit. A very good morning to you, General, and thanks for joining us this morning. GEN. WILLIAM E. WARD: Thank you, and I'm very happy to be here. Good morning. MR. ZEMBURKA: Good to have you with us. Let's set right that U.S. African Command -- now, this is probably structurally set up by the U.S. military -- why is U.S. Africa Command? GEN. WARD: Well, the U.S. Africa Command is a command that's designed just as our other geographic commands, so it is no different in that respect, that our Department of Defense establishes geographic commands, globally, to conduct our department's activities that we pursue with our partner nations in the various regions of the world. And so the U.S. Africa Command is now completing that cycle of how we have a command that's focused on a region or the world to assist and work with our partners. And we work with them in helping them achieve common security objectives. MR. ZEMBURKA: So have you been working with partners on the continent? GEN. WARD: Well, we meet with the leadership -- both the military, as well as civilian leadership. We meet with our Department of State employees, the embassy officials in the various countries. We meet with the regional organizations, the continental organizations, and determine those areas where, by providing some assistance, we can help increase the capacity that they have to provide for their own security. So we conduct frequent consultations; we conduct frequent engagements and meetings to plan exercises or programs, military-to-military training activities, whereby we can provide whatever assistance that they request in increasing their ability to provide for their own security and participate in peacekeeping operations and more effective ways, through training programs, logistics, equipment supplies and those sorts of things. MR. ZEMBURKA: You mentioned security for the partner nations. I'm just wondering, why is it important for the U.S. to ensure that there is security in a country that is very far from the U.S.? GEN. WARD: Well, it's very easy to understand. In today's globalized environment, we know that whatever happens in one location has the potential to affect us, wherever we may be. Just recently, the volcanoes in Europe had global impact. Instability anywhere in today's globalized environment affects all of us, wherever we may be. And so it is in the best interests of all peoples around the world to have stable locations, stable nations, stable areas, stable regions to help promote commerce, trade, freedom that will enable people to succeed. And so global security, global stability is in our common interest, all over the world. MR. ZEMBURKA: Now, you have parts of the continent that do have relative peace and stability. Southern Africa is one of them. But the other parts of the continent are obviously a challenge on security. How has the U.S. command been able to work in some of those troubled nations? GEN. WARD: Well, we've been able to work not in a direct way, because it's not our role to go in and do a direct -- have a direct hand in restoring or helping to promote security. But we work with the nations, their security forces. We work with the regional organizations. And we also work with other nations who, as a part of the peacekeeping mission, would go in and help restore and promote peace. As an example, where there are nations -- the coastal nations who may not have the capability to protect their territorial waters. So helping them increase their capacity, through training, through providing equipment, working with other international partners so that our efforts are very coordinated -- the types of things that we do -- to help promote this security in the various parts of the continent, as well as the Indian Ocean islands. MR. ZEMBURKA: Now, you mentioned the important issue that's peacekeeping, and we know that's another important element in ensuring that stability that you were referring to earlier. How have you been able to build this capacity? And if you like, maybe if you can cite some examples. GEN. WARD: Well, as an example, you're aware of the African Union mission to Somalia. Currently, the Ugandans and the Burundians are providing peacekeeping forces. As those forces were preparing to go to those missions, there were shortcomings that they felt they needed to have addressed -- some equipment requirements that were needed, some logistics support, some training support. So we were able to provide training, some equipment, so that they could then go and conduct those peacekeeping missions as might be necessary. In Darfur, the United Nations missions in Darfur -- when the peacekeepers were going there, they needed some lift support. So we were able to arrange some transportation and some lift support so that, as those peacekeeping forces were deploying from their home countries to Darfur, we provided some assistance as they were moving to conduct that peacekeeping operation. So it's that type of support that we're able to provide to our friends and our partners. MR. ZEMBURKA: Now, you mentioned friends and partners. GEN. WARD: Yes. MR. ZEMBURKA: When does a country say, I want to partner with the U.S. -- I want to partner with you on this particular mission? Or is it more of the U.S. deciding that, I think strategically, I want to partner with country A or country B? GEN. WARD: No, it is absolutely at the request of the nation. Obviously, you know, we respect the sovereignty of all nations and so we do not impose ourselves there. It's based on the requests that we would have based on a capability, but also based on our U.S. foreign policy, that determines whether or not, in an overall sense, there is a relationship with the nation. And those decisions are made by our president, our secretary of state. But it is at the request of the nation. It is at the request of the regional organizations, in some respects, at the request of the continental organizations -- United Nations, the African Union. So it is as a result of this dialogue that these activities are conducted. MR. ZEMBURKA: Have you had a situation where, for example, you know -- (inaudible) -- around U.S. and how it's assisting on the continent. Have you had negative receptions in some countries? GEN. WARD: Well, there are cases whereby, not necessarily in the countries, but there are perceptions -- the good thing is, once we are there doing what we do, even though there may be perceptions, the reality of what the scene on the ground is as I've described it. And so once we are there working with a country, once we are there conducting an activity, the reality is that this is a cooperative, collaborative activity. We conducted some training activities in East Africa not very long ago, including five different East African nations. And as a result of those activities -- a disaster-relief scenario, some training, some helping with them as they stood up priorities or dealing with natural disasters. This particular -- this exercise was one that dealt with the consequences of H1N1, if it were to have arrived. Subsequent to that, there was a flooding that went on in Uganda, but because of the work that we had been able to conduct with the nations, they used that training experience to apply it to the actual experience and were able to cope with it in a better way, according to them, according to what they have reported back. So yes, from time to time, there are perceptions. But once the reality is seen, it's very well-understood that, well, yes, these partnerships are partnerships, indeed, nothing being imposed and we're only doing the things that we're asked to do to help the nations increase their own capacity to deal with the challenges? MR. ZEMBURKA: So why is your command based in Stuttgart, Germany, and not in Africa? GEN. WARD: Well, as the command stood up, I was previously the deputy commander for U.S. European Command. And European Command was one of the three commands, at the time, that had the responsibility for conducting our U.S military activities that we did on the continent of Africa. There were two others -- U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command. And none of those activities were well-coordinated. U.S. European Command in Stuttgart had much of Africa, to include here and western and southern Africa in its area of activity. And so it was more easy to transfer those missions and responsibilities from where we were in Stuttgart. In addition, facilities already existed. There was an infrastructure in place for bringing the families in, for bringing the other staff in. It is a headquarters staff -- planning headquarters -- and so it was all facilitated and we were able to continue in a very effective way, the work that was already occurring, but to add value to it, as opposed to being concerned with trying to re-establish, and in the meantime, having programs come to a stop. MR. ZEMBURKA: So do you see a situation where you actually have a headquarters here on the African continent? GEN. WARD: I don't foresee it in the near term. I see no plans to do that, because again, the headquarters location is only a planning location. Our true work occurs when we are doing our activities across the continent, working in the various countries. And as you know so well, Africa is a huge, huge continent, so wherever the planning activity is conducted, the actual work is being done someplace else. And so in today's modern technology, we can do the planning from just about every location, and it's just simpler to do it where we're doing it from Stuttgart, because the real work of our activities is done on the continent, as we work with the embassies, as we work with the military personnel that are part of our embassies -- our security assistance officers, defense attaches. And that happens all over the continent as we conduct our activities. MR. ZEMBURKA: Mm-hmm. Now, you mentioned peacekeeping as one of those issues that you have dealt with in the past -- disaster management and the like. But I understand now, you also get involved in another social issue on the African continent -- HIV/AIDS. And that's quite a concern, even in sub-Saharan Africa. Why this particular issue? GEN. WARD: Well, we know that HIV/AIDS is a disease that affects populations, affects people, in very negative ways. And that same effect applies to its military members. So as a part of an overall government program that the United States government has in place to help nations deal with the HIV/AIDS disease, there is a military component that we work with the militaries of the continent so that, as they attempt to put in education programs, testing programs, other training programs to help deal with the AIDS problem, that the entire population is now being affected and treated, such that there's a better chance of addressing this very, very horrible disease. Also, HIV/AIDS, because of its devastating effects, if there are peacekeeping missions, it is better that -- if the soldiers are deployed -- that they go to an area and they don't contribute to a problem. They, in fact, are there to solve problems. So having a very healthy military population that will be participating in a peacekeeping mission that is not experiencing any health problems itself is a very important thing. So HIV/AIDS is a part of the overall program to address this disease, this illness to try to help restore as much help as can be restored to the entire population. And our part of it, through the military AIDS partner program, is addressing the military aspects, because they, too, go out and touch other parts of society. MR. ZEMBURKA: Is that part of the reason why you're here in the country, talking to authorities and civilian leadership and the military leadership about those issues that we have discussed this morning? GEN. WARD: Those are the reasons, as well as, this is my first visit to Namibia. I'm very happy to be here to see this beautiful, beautiful country, but also to listen, to learn more, to gain a better understanding, a better perspective so as we work with our activities, such as the work we're doing with the building of some schools in the North, some clinics, we have a more clear understanding of what we would seek to do so that our work is done in accordance with the desires, the wishes with those with whom we would work -- our partners. Again, it is done better when we can understand -- as opposed to what we think -- but we can hear and listen. And so that's the purpose of my visit today. MR. ZEMBURKA: Mm-hmm. And at the end of the day, you want to achieve what? GEN. WARD: Well, at the end of the day, I want to leave here reinforcing the fact that the United States of America and Namibia are friends and partners, and reassuring folks that we are here to work with you as a partner, as a friend, not to impose anything, but to help work together to solve challenges that, indeed, affect us all in ways so that the development that we all want to see occur can continue to occur, so that stability is something that is more present than not, here in Namibia, but also in the region. But also, as Namibia contributes, as it has done so effectively in the past, to helping create peace and sustain peace in other parts of the continent, as well. MR. ZEMBURKA: Well, we wish you a fruitful visit in the country, and enjoy! GEN. WARD: Thank you very, very much. I'm happy to be here and I thank you, sir. MR. ZEMBURKA: Make time to see our beautiful country. GEN. WARD: I will do that, thank you. MR. ZEMBURKA: Thank you so much. General William Ward, commander of the U.S. Africa Command, talking to us about his visit here in the country and obviously also sharing more --inaudible -- on the U.S. Africa Command and its work on the African continent. The show continues in just a moment! Stay tuned. (END)
PARTNERSHIPS OPERATIONS READINESS