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TRANSCRIPT: Ward Highlights U.S. Mission, Challenges in Africa at Military Strategy Forum
General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, delivered remarks and answered questions regarding "U.S. Africa Command - Partnership, Security, and Stability" at a Military Strategy Forum hosted by the Center for Strategic &
General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, delivered remarks and answered questions regarding "U.S. Africa Command - Partnership, Security, and Stability" at a Military Strategy Forum hosted by the Center for Strategic & International Studies, July 20, 2010.

Much of the African continent's development progress is hindered by corruption, weak governance and drug and human trafficking, Ward said.

"Good governance ... fosters change in stability that allows the U.S. and Africa, across all spectrums to build trust (and) pursue mutual interests toward lasting relationships," Ward said. "Africans are steadily taking ownership in addressing existing security challenges. It means that, over time, we can work more effectively together to further these mutual interests."

See related article: General Ward Outlines U.S. Mission, Challenges in Africa.

The complete transcript of Ward's remarks is below:

JOHN HAMRE: I always judge the -- I know if a meeting is going to be successful before it ever starts by the kind of energy that's in the room. And we've got a great spirit in the room today. Thank you all for coming. Jennifer, you're supposed to be up here. (Laughter.) She's got work to do. (Chuckles.)

I want to say welcome to all of you. We're delighted to have you here. This is the military strategy forum that we have at CSIS. We're very grateful to have Gen. Ward with us. I want to say a word of thanks to our friends at Rolls-Royce. Steve Plummer is here. Rolls-Royce as a part of a public service makes it possible for us to do this for the Washington policy community. And so we want to say thank you to them. Thank you, Steve.

I've been looking forward to this for two reasons: First, you know there are very, very few officers, general officers that get a chance to create something new. In our system, most guys get assigned to a command or to a post and they're picking up something that already exists. And they're making it a little bit better, they're trying to figure out how to improve it, how to expand the capacity, et cetera. But they're not inventing new things.

Gen. Ward was given really an unusual responsibility, which was to create something new, really create something new. And this doesn't happen often. This is very rare in our environment when you are given the assignment -- and I'll just have to tell you, you have no idea how hard that is in our system because new things mean we're going to have to give up other things, which instantly means that he is in a fistfight for everything. Okay?

Because he's got to get staffing, he's got to get officers, he's got to get civilians that are assigned both in DOD, he's got to make liaison ties with other agencies. It's a constant battle. At the same time, you know, he's got to keep a very clear vision about where he's heading. And this is tough. So we've given Gen. Ward one of the hardest jobs we do in the department and I think he has done a splendid job, just terrific.

Now, we come up on an even harder part because as you know the department is now going through a great review to try to find a hundred billion dollars because we think we're heading into a period where we've got constrained resources. And of course, I was just talking with Gen. Ward and I said, do you have much to risk? He said, well, we don't have much, so we don't have much to risk. You know, I mean, that's the first honest answer.

But we have to make sure that in this environment when we're going to go through a contraction in the department. We can't afford to lose the progress that's been made under his stewardship these last years, which is why I wanted so much to hear you today, why we needed the policy community to hear you because the progress has been really substantial, but it is fragile in a Washington budget environment.

And we can't let that become the kind of the rock on which the ship crashes, okay? We've got to make sure that we're moving forward. And so frankly everyone here has a responsibility to help Gen. Ward in this regard. This is an --

GEN. WILLIAM E. WARD: That's right. (Laughter.)

MR. HAMRE: No, I mean it. This is very serious. This is an important mission. We need him to be successful in this space. And especially because in Washington, that's where we're going to have to be. He's going to have to be out in the theater and he's going to have to be working those agendas. We're here and part of our responsibility is to make sure that we can provide him the success and the resources that he needs to do it. So thank you all for coming today.

Jennifer, you're going to really introduce Gen. Ward. (Laughter.) I just had -- I had to give a little sermon. Forgive me for that. But I apologize and I want to thank you, Kip, for coming. Thank you.

GEN. WARD: Thank you. (Applause.)

JENNIFER G. COOKE: Okay, well, a couple of years ago I was at an Africa Center event with a big audience of senior African militaries. And Gen. Ward was being introduced by Gen. Arnie Fields, a wonderful guy. And Gen. Ward -- I don't know how this happened -- ended up challenging him to a pushup contest. (Laughter.)

And the two got down on the floor and started going. The crowd was going wild. And Gen. Fields looked over and saw Gen. Ward was doing it one-handed and at that point, he just kind of collapsed in disgust. (Laughter.) So I have agreed to introduce you, but if there's any pushups involved, I am going to call Dr. Hamre back up here. (Laughter.) Then you'll be in trouble.

GEN. WARD: Right. (Laughter.)

MS. COOKE: Anyway, we're delighted to welcome you here. Gen. Ward, as you know, became the first commander of the newly established Africa Command in 2007. He was commissioned in the infantry in 1971. And I think you'll still hear a lot of references to foxholes in his speeches.

His military education includes the infantry officer basic and advanced courses, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College and the U.S. Army War College. He was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Morgan State University as an undergraduate and then went on to get a master's at Penn State. He originally planned to be a lawyer, but I think inspired by his ROTC time and probably by his father, who was a World War II veteran --

GEN. WARD: Pretty good, Jennifer. (Laughter.)

MS. COOKE: -- joined the military. And we're very glad he did. We have plenty of lawyers, but not so many commanders of the Africa Command. (Laughter.) His service has included overseas tours in Korea, Egypt, Somalia, Bosnia, Israel, two tours in Germany and a wide variety of assignments in the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.

Prior to his current position, Gen. Ward was deputy commander with the European Command and had been the deputy commanding general chief of staff, U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army. His rise through the ranks has included 12 command and troop assignments and 16 staff assignments. I won't go through the litany. He's got a big chest full of medals and awards there too.

But Gen. Ward, as Dr. Hamre said, has overseen the standup of the Africa Command, a new kind of command, one that seeks first and foremost to really build African security capacities in a sustained, integrated way, but at the same time, needs to be prepared for more direct forms of intervention should U.S. interests and policies warrant it.

AFRICOM was launched at a time in which big questions about the role of the U.S. military vis--Ã-vis civilian agencies was playing out in a global stage. And this new command, which is trying to do things in a somewhat different way, became a vessel, I think, in which many of those debates played out.

So Gen. Ward has had the complicated task of not only staffing and setting up this brand new command and getting on with its core functions, but also explaining again and again very patiently to multiple audience in the face of some fairly heated criticism, what the command is and what it's not about.

At the same time, he's spent a great deal of time traveling throughout Africa, really, I think, getting a sense of African security priorities to really understand how best the U.S. can bring its capabilities to bear for greatest effect. So we're delighted to have him with us today to offer his thoughts on the achievements of the command so far, perhaps how he sees it evolving in future. We're going to follow this at 10 o'clock with a panel in which Kate Almquist, Ron Capps and Mike Phalen will speak. We're going to ask people to stay in their chairs as the general leaves so that we can transition seamlessly to the panel discussion.

I will now turn over to Gen. Ward, who will take questions and give remarks of 20 minutes or so. Thank you.

GEN. WARD: Great.

MS. COOKE: Thanks, general.

GEN. WARD: Thank you, Jennifer. (Applause.) Well, I know that the real work will begin once Kate and Ron take over, so I'm not going to be up here too long. That's where the real work will begin. It is really great to be back here.

And so then let me thank John Hamre and Jennifer Cooke, along with Rolls-Royce and my good friend Steve Plummer there for sponsoring this because it is, for me, a important venue to attend because of the opportunity that I have to once again convey some of my thoughts to you as you do the things that you do in your various perspectives to hopefully make others understand a bit more about the work that we do and the importance of that work very, very substantially.

Now, I really appreciate the role that's being played by CSIS in helping to identify various solutions but also policy proposals that, in fact, can help our nation move ahead. And as John mentioned, it is about one thing and it's about pursuit of American interest. And if anyone thinks that what Kip Ward does, having worn this uniform for 39 years is about anything else than that, then you're probably smoking something that you ought not be smoking. (Laughter.)

And so I hope that as I go through a brief presentation I will be able to demonstrate to you why what we do, what our nation does, what United States Africa Command does, what your Africa Command does in this work in the continent of Africa and its Indian Ocean island nations, those efforts are directly in line with pursuit of United States national security interests. And we do it in a way a bit different and we do it in a way that hopefully benefits, aids, brings to fore the things that the people of the nations of Africa can also take advantage of in their betterment.

And I offer you that those two objectives are parallel. And that's why what we do is so important and I think that's why what we do has, as was pointed out by Dr. Hamre, in these past now three years, more and more being seen as, wow, this is something that we ought to continue, it makes sense and indeed, it's in all of our best interests.

Now, I don't have to start off by letting you know how warm it is. I'm glad that this building is air-conditioned because I came in here prepared to take off the jacket, take off the tie, but I'm kind of okay. So it's having something that's environmentally controlled temperatures, it's kind of neat from time to time. So I appreciate this.

Speaking of going to a place and knowing what you will experience when you get there, it's very, very hot here. Heat wave going on here and something that you all certainly are experiencing. But clearly as many of you know, traveling throughout the continent of Africa, you have these same extremes, but you also have different sorts of things.

One thing that I'm often asked, wow, it's really hot in Africa. I say, well, if you were in South Africa during the World Cup, you'd have had a coat on. It wasn't hot there at all. Again, a huge continent and to be sure, no one thing is applicable across the entire continent. You're going to find that certainly, those variations.

But there was an instance of a Hollywood crew that happened to be in the Congo making a film. And the Congo, as you probably know, rainforest and other extremes. Well, this elder that was a part of the locals who had been hired would have an uncanny way of predicting the weather, kind of like the octopus for the World Cup. (Laughter.)

And the elder one day went up and told the director, tomorrow there will be rain. And it did rain. The director said, hmm. The next day the elder said, tomorrow there will be a storm. And the thunderstorm occurred. Wow, this is pretty impressive here with this elder. And the director said, well, we need to put him on the payroll in a capacity other than just a second because of his ability to help us understand how the weather patterns are around here.

Went about a two-week period of time and the elder didn't show up. And the director knew he had to make a pretty important scene, film a pretty important scene. So he said, now, where is the elder? I mean, we've got a scene to shoot tomorrow and I need to know what the weather is going to be. And the crew went out and they found the elder. They brought him back. And the director said, I've been missing you, but tomorrow there is a very important scene we have to shoot. I need to know what the weather will be. And the elder looked at the director and said, well, don't think I can help you, sir. My BlackBerry broke. (Laughter.)

Well, I'll talk about those linkages a bit later on, but the middle of the Congo, this elder, BlackBerry. Hmm, hmm. Technology all at work.

During my last visit here I focused most of my talk on U.S. AFRICOM's mission. At that time, we were still a relatively new command. Many were curious about our purpose, early programs, activities, staffing, all of the questions that would be a part of that. Today I would call us -- obviously, we're still a young command, but we're also a maturing command. And so some of those things of a couple years ago aren't the same today.

We have deepened our relationships with our United States partners. We have deepened our relationships with our African partners. We have deepened our relationships with our international partners. And we are making continual progress with the programs, the activities, the exercises that we are conducting as I told you was our goal: to add value to what was already occurring.

Previously, much of our outreach and communications focused on informing others about the command. We still do that, to be sure, but today our partners are seeing through our actions how the command operates. And that is as a listening and learning organization who indeed seek to add value to the work being done by other parts of our government and their efforts in Africa. And are asking more and more, what more can AFRICOM do on our behalf? As opposed to, why is there an AFRICOM?

And I think when that watershed event occurred to me about, oh, at this point in time, maybe 14 or 15 months ago as I was addressing a similar group -- it was predominantly an African group on the continent -- and at the conclusion of it, it was just so apparent, the questions were not why AFRICOM, but what more can AFRICOM do to help? And I think that was something that really let me know that we have turned that corner after, quite candidly, a lot of hard, hard work.

But in today's environment, as Dr. Hamre pointed out, with looming tough budget and programming decisions that are coming, we recognize the limits to how much the United States can in fact do given the fiscal situation that we face. So I'm going to open with some points on why Africa is strategically important to the United States from a broad perspective and not just on the defense aspects alone.

I'll then talk about some of the U.S. government's objectives and efforts in Africa, focusing on areas where defense has a role. And I will also talk about the mutual security interests of the United States and Africa in the short and long term and how the U.S. military can assist in that effort.

I'll also provide a couple of examples of how U.S. Africa Command's activities that I think are providing great contributions in terms of goals of peace and stability in Africa. And I'll use that word again and again: It's all about stability. It's about stability -- stability that is in the United States' interests, stability that is in the interests of the nations of Africa.

Now, I don't have to tell you that Africa is a very complex and dynamic continent. Fifty-three nations -- some say 54 -- each with their unique history, 800 different ethnic groups speaking over 1000 languages, a population that is now about a billion people, projected to double in the next 40 to 50 years.

Think about that! United States about 350 million. Over a billion people projected to double in the next half century. A number of countries are grappling with democratic consolidation, political reform, civil conflicts, post-conflict reconstruction and other challenges to be sure. And despite all of that, it is also a continent that presents tremendous opportunities.

Now, Africa is strategically important to the United States. This importance has been asserted in the last three consecutive national security strategies, but is not as well understood, I believe, as it ought to be. Sometimes the tendency is to zero in on the immediate challenges and the potential crises. I get asked all the time, well, Gen. Ward, what are you going to do about Somalia? What are you going to do about Sudan? What are you going to do about the Democratic Republic of the Congo? What are you going to do about Liberia? Fill in the blank.

Now, clearly, while addressing these issues is indeed very important and we do pay attention to each of those, it is also important to look at Africa in terms of the opportunities that in fact exist in economic development, good governance, security initiatives and the continent's geopolitical role that will both improve the lives of Africans and build the foundation for a stronger bonds of friendship, cooperation, economic exchange between the nations of Africa and the United States.

And all the while, promoting an environment where American lives are more secure both abroad and here at home and where American interests are promoted. The strategic importance of Africa is about stability and growth and that is in the best interests of the United States of America. Let me talk a bit more in detail about these opportunities, all of which overlap to an extent.

First, in economic development. Study after study of the current economic conditions in Africa highlight Africa's investment potential. Africa is rich in a wide variety of resources but lacks a robust manufacturing base and a transportation infrastructure that will allow it to develop those resources and bring products to the global market. Modern information technologies are making major inroads. Witness the elder with his BlackBerry.

However, factors such as corruption, weak institutions and trafficking in drugs, persons, other things impact the development but are not absolute barriers to investment. Impact the development, but are not absolute barriers to investment. And while Africa's rapidly growing population is facing challenges related to food security and the environment, including adaptation to climate change, advances in clean water production and distribution will do much to help this area in addition to the overall health benefit to be gained.

Good governance provides leverage for these economic opportunities. It fosters stability that allows U.S. and African partners across all sectors to build trust, pursue mutual interests and forge lasting relationships. Some African nations are making progress in improving governance through free and fair elections, establishment of viable institutions, provision of services and proper civil authority over an impartial and inclusive military that we see emerging in many locations.

Those nations have proven to be generally reliable partners, who are resilient during crisis situations and who we and other international partners can indeed count on. Those whose governance is weaker, who have isolated parts of its population or who seek to consolidate or withhold power have tended to be less stable and more risky.

Now, the expressed desire and actions taken by our African partners to provide for their own security is important on two counts. Now I'll repeat that: The expressed desire and actions taken by our African partners to provide for their own security is something that we ought not lose sight of.

Africans are steadily taking greater ownership in addressing existing security challenges, such as unresolved post-conflict scenarios -- and I'll be happy to talk about some of those during the question-and-answer period -- humanitarian disasters, maritime security issues and other areas. It also means that over time, we can work more effectively together with our African partners to further these mutual interests, such as supporting peacekeeping operations in other parts of the world.

As progress continues in economic development, good governance and self-sustained security, Africa's geopolitical importance affords additional opportunities. The development of the African Union and its regional economic communities, growing regional cooperation among neighboring states and the establishment of the Africa Standby Force show a broad commitment towards stability.

As examples, the Gulf of Guinea nations are working to improve maritime security, the Great Lake nations are cooperating in pursuit of the Lord's Resistance Army and the communications infrastructure in linking the African Union's Peace Support Operations Center with the standby forces and the African Union peacekeeping missions has been developed. All of this speaks to the tremendous potential of partnership in the long term.

Significant challenges do remain and an undeniable factor in Africa's growing importance lies in how some of those challenges can have direct, as well as indirect, effects on the U.S. homeland. For these challenges, United States security interests are clearly at stake. Violent extremism could grow unchecked in the Horn of Africa and across the Sahel, leading to attacks against U.S. persons and interests around the world or in the worst case, against the U.S. homeland. Somalia is first and foremost on the minds of some and it is, indeed, a complex issue, as is al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.

The upcoming Sudanese referendum vote on succession could lead to the eruption of a civil war, could create instability across the region, could have global effects. A pandemic disease could cause a breakdown in society. And although HIV/AIDS gets a lot of attention, malaria is still the greatest threat on the African continent when it comes to the health of the African people and the greatest killer of its children.

The dissolution of governance whereby the influence of drug trafficking becomes excessive or the military becomes too politicized is also a concern. An example is West Africa's role as a potential transit point in the global trade between South America, Europe and the United States.

The greater issue is not that these challenges exist in Africa, but the Africans lack the means to totally and fully confront them. They therefore retain some dependency on outside assistance for their security capacity. In some cases the resources are available but are not fully aligned to confront today's challenges. This dependence limits the Africans' progress in other sectors because direct foreign involvement in their internal affairs is an irritant and a distraction.

Now, since the command's inception, we routinely heard phrases like, "African solutions to African problems." Now, while that theme still resonates, U.S. efforts to help Africans address their challenges are focused on indirect methods: a combination of diplomatic, developmental and defense engagements, programs and activities that help build capacity, that help foster African ownership and all the while leading to sustained progress and greater stability for the continent of Africa.

Now, our first step was to listen and learn from our African partners, to understand what was important to them from their perspective. What was important to them from our perspective -- not ours. We had to get out of our foxhole, go downrange and look back at what we were doing from the perspective of our most important partner, the Africans.

After hundreds of engagements with African political, military, as well as members of civil society -- and we were very deliberate with that -- political, military, but also members of civil society -- there were several common themes that together described what the Africans wanted in terms of their long-term security interests. We called it a security vision for Africa as expressed by Africans and it consisted of four basic pillars:

The first pillar is the pursuit of capable and accountable, self-sustaining security forces. Capable and accountable self-sustaining security forces. And although the Department of Defense and U.S. Africa Command are primarily concerned with the development of military ground, air and naval forces, the capabilities needed are far broader: police, border patrols, coast guards, customs, immigration, airspace management, courts, law -- all of these are aligned against the challenges and threats the partner nations face.

Accountability includes instilling professional values, ethics and transparency that ensures adherence to proper societal norms and respect for civil authority. By self-sustaining, I mean having available sufficient enabling capabilities, like communications, logistics, transportation, which permit partners to reduce their need for outside assistance.

The second pillar: effective, legitimate and professional security institutions. It operationalizes this notion of civil authority over the military and all other security services, ensuring that the manning, the training, the equipping, the sustaining, yes, the commanding and controlling, as well as the financing, programming, budgeting, providing facilities all in place that leads to increased professionalism.

Now, security sector reform will come to your mind first. But this is a wholesale institutional-building effort that is transformational and, most notably, at the ministerial level. We don't do that very well. We don't focus on that as much as we ought. And the majority of activities are much smaller in scale, and they address some specific need, some specific training requirement.

The third pillar is the ability and will to dissuade the terror and defeat current and future transnational threats. And by ability and will, I mean both the wherewithal to cooperate with partner nations or regional entities to combat such threats together, along with sufficient political determination and domestic support to take the necessary action.

Not unique, is it? No, it's not. The business of current and future threats -- also very key. Much of our security capacity-building deals with the current array of threats, such as building counterterrorist forces to confront today's violent extremists in the Sahel and in East Africa. There are already new transnational threats at work in other places around the world that can adversely affect Africa and its populations as it develops, and getting ahead of those threats is important.

The present and growing threat to African nations posed by narco-trafficking is a real cause for alarm, and it is alarming the nations of the continent of Africa, especially the littoral nations in East -- correction, in West Africa, and now, increasingly, as well, in East Africa, emanating from Central Asia. The fourth pillar is the ability to lead international peacekeeping efforts.

Many Africa leaders have expressed to me that the tangible contributions to peacekeeping efforts are visible signs of growing geopolitical importance. The pursuit of leadership can bring about the necessary dialogue to develop a vision of what the continent can provide, in terms of peacekeeping capabilities, of recruiting, training, educating, sustaining, commanding and controlling and employing peacekeeping forces that leverage the full breadth and diversity of the African people and contribute to stability.

There are concerns, at present, that a number of willing and capable nations may be over-burdened as they take on increasingly demanding roles in the peacekeeping realm. But Africans across the continent are strongly supportive of peace operations, and are generally eager participants in peacekeeping capacity-building efforts, such as our Department of State's African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance program, better known as ACOTA.

The commitment to peacekeeping is an opportunity that we have been leveraging for quite some time, and will continue to do so. And as small issues, such as pay disparity between the United Nations peacekeeping efforts and the African Union peacekeeping efforts, are closer and better-aligned, we see those opportunities increasingly being taken advantage of. Now, in considering these four pillars, two important points come to mind. First, this is clearly a long-term endeavor -- long-term endeavor. The development or transformation of security capacities does not happen overnight, and in many cases, will happen on an African, not an American, timetable.

Sufficient freedom from political violence is needed to allow real progress to take root in many of these places. The conditions must be set for the Africans to address the short-term challenges so that the long-term objectives can be pursued. We believe in encouraging African nations and the African Union to work together and lead the response, rather than doing the job for them. The effort may involve a range of international partners, going beyond just the United States government.

There are already instances, such as efforts in Liberia, that involve multiple partners supporting the development of different aspects of the security sector. IN some cases, this will be the partner desires to determine what, in fact, they want to have addressed by these international partners. In others, it may be reflective of the constraints or limits on our own, United States resources or the resources of contributing entities.

While making engagement a little more complex in some ways, this cooperative way of doing this provides opportunities to provide a more effective mix of capabilities that, in fact, meet the needs of our partners. So what role do we play in U.S. Africa Command? Our primary efforts in the realm of security force assistance, or building security capacity -- and as was pointed out earlier, while being prepared to respond in times of crisis when the president directs. I want to be very, very clear about that. We have that same mission and role as any other unified combatant command.

Now, there are three key functions drawn from Secretary Gates' article published a few months ago, which our programs and activities perform, and often, they overlap. The first is building operational capacity, which goes far beyond numbers of troops trained and equipped or numbers of planes and ships put into service. It includes properly aligning military capabilities against the threats, developing the necessary operational enablers -- the logistics, the transportation, the communications, the intelligence -- and integrating them with other elements of the security sector in accordance with the partner needs.

The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and its military component, Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans-Sahara, are building the capacity to combat violent extremism in the Sahel. This is facilitated by the State Department's partnership, but the participating nations are in charge. Through OEFTS, we provide tailored training and equipment, conduct exercises that are based on what the partner nations request of us. And we encourage them to use their solutions in ways that support their regional goals.

Now, this arrangement is also one that firmly assures the subordination of military operations to the diplomatic priorities, and it helps encourage civil authority and promotes lasting regional cooperation, as well. There's a need for ability to plan and conduct military operations independently, which, for example, we're doing by helping to install communications infrastructure in the African Union's peace support operations center.

In a wide-scale interoperability exercise we call African Endeavor, this year, we'll bring together over 33 nations, as well as regional organizations, to conduct a common-scenario, tabletop-driven exercise, with respect to ensuring adequate command and control. Having an array of programs to improve enabling capability, such as logistics, military intelligence and engineering that are very important for sustaining security operations, sharing information among partners and building mutual trust and confidence.

Now, the second function is building institutional capacity, which includes an emphasis on the role taken by militaries, as subordinate of civil authority. And while we want to ensure that they are trained, equipped, that welfare is properly accounted for -- it leads to readiness and the proper employment of the force, and doing that in a legitimate way, that militaries ought operate in civil society.

Now, defense-sector reform is but one type of institution-building where the U.S. works with a host nation to transform its defense ministry in a more complete way. We currently have only one such effort underway. Now, our activities enhance existing military relationships, so the defense sector is more effective as an integral part of the overall security sector.

We work closely with other U.S. government agencies to pursue joint programs and activities that are appropriate for the partner nation. It goes back to the point I made: We listen and we do those things that the partner nation thinks is appropriate for them, given their history, their culture and where they see themselves going.

An illustration of this is the African Maritime Law Enforcement Program -- AMLEP. It is a cooperative effort with the Department of Homeland Security to develop African maritime law enforcement capabilities and capacities to monitor and patrol territorial waters and exclusive economic zones.

Now, the third area is growing human capital. This is a very important area, because this is about the professionalism, the attributes, the values that complement the other capacity-building efforts and enhances the standing of military forces among members of civil society, where militaries are seen as protectors of their society, and not oppressors of their society.

We encourage our partners to develop the capacity to take care of its forces, and this greatly increases readiness. A line of effort that we work very closely on in today's environment is our work to professionalize non-commissioned officer and the warrant officer corps. Just as it worked for us and is an important part of what we do, the Africans see that as an important part of what they do. But the focus has not been there, and they have asked us to help them increase the professionalism of their non-commissioned officer and warrant officer corps.

Professional, enlisted senior leaders are certainly proven as means of enhancing unit readiness, upholding standards of conduct and fostering accountability in the force. Now, while we have collected a number of vignettes that might show how we have contributed to building partner security capacity, we are still in the process of developing these measures of effectiveness that capture progress toward the long-term African security vision. In some, if not all, of these cases, this will be measured over years, and even decades, just as in our U.S. forces' experience.

Ultimately, we look at the strategic importance of Africa and we have no option but to be involved. When we look at the unique capabilities of the military and the emphasis being placed on security-force assistance, it is clear that we can and we must be involved. When we look at what the Africans require and what they have expressed as their needs, we need to be involved over the long term. Sustained security engagement. And in order to help the Africans ultimately achieve their goal of providing for their own capacity in their security realm, we must do it in fully integrated and coordinated and cohesive ways with other parts of our government, with other international partners and with others who have an interest in stability on the continent of Africa.

I have taken all the time that I want to take for this piece of it, and I'd like to leave a little bit of time, now, for entertaining some questions from you. But thank you for listening to a bit of how we have seen the evolution of the command over these, now, almost three years, where we've moved from a command having to justify and explain to a command that is seen in no uncertain terms as a command that, first, listens to what our African partners say, that, second, does things, at least from the standpoint of the goal, as a coherent effort with other partners -- our U.S. government partners, our international partners and other, non-government partners who have an interest in stability -- and doing it in a way that recognizes that this is, indeed, a long-term, sustained requirement.

But to do otherwise, we would certainly not be pursuing our national interests or the interests of our partners and friends on the continent of Africa. Thanks very much for listening to me and happy to have this opportunity to be in front of you again. Thanks very much. (Applause.)

MS. COOKE: Do you want me to pick out some questions?

GEN. WARD: Yes, I'm going to leave it to you, Jennifer.

MS. COOKE: Okay, alrightey. Okay, the lady in the green there. If you could identify yourself and wait for the microphone.

Q: Thank you. I'm Sandra Erwin with National Defense magazine. General, I wanted to ask you about the influence of China in Africa. We hear a lot about their growing influence over there, and I was just wondering if you can talk about what you have seen personally, in terms of what influence they're having. And would you foresee China being a partner to the U.S. in some areas where you may have common interests and common goals?

GEN. WARD: China, like most sovereign nations, is pursuing their national interest on the continent of Africa, and they're doing so with many African nations. I see it occurring in many parts of society. A lot of it, I see it in infrastructure development. I see it in building. I see it in things appearing. Obviously, I'm not privy to the arrangements that China makes with the African nations that it partners with. But clearly, China is involved. China is pursuing its interests.

I just read, recently, that China has just surpassed the United States as the world's largest energy consumer. So clearly, as China pursues its national interests, it, too, is looking at the continent of Africa for its ability to achieve its own purposes. From the standpoint of our relationship, I think that wherever we can find commonality, where stability is the goal, we would be willing and ready to partner with anyone that would see those pursuits of stability, in ways similar to our way of looking at it.

You'll know that, as we do what we do, it's in accordance with our stated U.S. foreign policy objectives. So where we have a stated foreign policy, that would, in fact, determine that our ability to work with China, or any other country, exists, then that's certainly what we would pursue as we pursue those common goals for security and stability. So might there be opportunities? I would see no reason why not. Are we doing it just yet? The answer is no. But I would see nothing that would prohibit that, given it's aligned with our foreign policy objectives.

MS. COOKE: We have a question up front here, to the right.

Q: Thank you. Gen. Ward, thank you for your presentation. My name is Semhar Araia with Oxfam International. My question is about the future of CJTF in the Horn of Africa and whether the type of development work that it's been doing in the Horn is yielding the kind of security and stabilization results that AFRICOM and CJTF have presented.

GEN. WARD: Thanks very much. You know, the Combined Joint Taskforce that's there at Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is one of our activities that go on from that location. The CJTF does, in fact, contribute to our security, as well as our stability, interests. One of the things that we have found to be so important, where populations are advantaged, from the standpoint of their day-to-day living -- and those populations recognize that, that advantage has come because of some assistance they've been provided -- it occurs from training assistance.

CJTF-HOA does more than just humanitarian work, which is sometimes not understood. That humanitarian part is but a part of what they do. And I think the important thing to remember there -- it's done in areas where there is nothing else that has gone on. It's done in a very complementary way to other U.S. government activities. To be sure, we're getting better at coordinating that work -- doing it in areas that are, first, the country team and the various nations where the work is occurring has said, yes, these are activities that promote greater U.S. objectives in this country, as well as support the desires of the local populations.

So we are getting pretty good at that level of coordination, such that the work being done by CJTF -- that developmental work that would be seen as humanitarian effort -- in fact, coordinated with, cohesive with a broader range of efforts, and is being done in locations where nothing else would, in fact, be done. And so we do see it as a stabilizing activity. We see it as contributing to overall security.

And again, if we look at it in the long term, helping to create conditions for stability that we think complement our overall security interests. And those efforts partner the traditional military-to-military activity and training that's also being done by CJTF-Horn of Africa. Thank you for that.

MS. COOKE: The gentleman there in the center.

Q: Hello, I'm Reed Kramer from General, when I interviewed you a year ago, you were very much still focused on the justify-and-explain phase, and countering suspicions and misunderstandings of your command. You're suggesting, in your remarks today, that as you've become operational -- I think you're suggesting -- that those have been reduced. But I would like you to address that a bit, and also ask you, on the operational side, how extensively is AFRICOM involved with supporting the African Union peacekeeping efforts in Somalia, and whether you expect an acceleration in wake of the Kampala bombings.

GEN. WARD: Thanks. First, we do certainly still have those who ask the question why there's a command. But to ask the question why an Africa Command is, I think, equally applicable to, why any geographic command? And so it is how we, in the United States of America, exercise our military-to-military cooperation with our partner nations. We do it through our geographic commands. And that's essentially it.

And so as that is further and further understood by what nations and the people of Africa have seen, based on what we have done, now, for over this last over two years, which, quite frankly, were a continuation of what we'd been doing before, but doing it in a much more coherent and, quite candidly, a more suitable way for our African partners, that justification is indeed less and less required, and to the point where I don't have to spend as much time talking about that, now. It is more about, now, what more can you do to help?

And that's what we see happening -- as I mentioned, it was very apparent to me about 14 months ago, when questions from our African partners were reflective of doing more to help. And in that regard, I think the business about he African Union and the peacekeeping mission -- we are doing that. The nations that are contributing forces to AMISOM -- the African Union mission in Somalia -- we are working very closely with -- with their logistics, their training, their transportation, information that they would use to be more effective in what they do.

And we're continuing looking to ways, based on what they ask us, to enhance those efforts. And we would certainly see that continuing, not to any specific event -- i.e., the bombs in Uganda -- triggered it, because we were already looking at, how can we be more robust in helping these nations, again, as they seek to provide for their own stability, just as was going on in the pursuit of the Lord's Resistance Army -- providing assistance to them. And so yes, we will continue to do what we can, how we can, to assist them in those efforts to add security in those situations. And the ones that you mentioned -- clearly, in that realm.

MS. COOKE: Witney, in the back.

Q: Thank you, Gen. Ward. Witney Schneidman, Schneidman & Associates, International. I'd like to ask you about the Gulf of Guinea. Several years ago, the African nations put together a Gulf of Guinea security mechanism, I believe headquartered in Rwanda. And over the last 18, 24 months, the African Partnership Stations has made a big impact there. What's your prognosis for the next 18, 24 months about cooperation with the Gulf of Guinea security mechanism and the African Partnership Stations and how you see that process going?

GEN. WARD: We see it as positive. The Gulf of Guinea consortium is something that we want to continue to support and cause what we do, through our African Partnership Station, to be fully integrated in. And over the next 18 to 24 months, I see that continuing. We take great -- we make a great effort to ensure that what we are doing with the APS -- those efforts are fully aligned with the other activities being done by the Gulf of Guinea consortium.

And to highlight that point, when we have our conferences -- our planning conferences as we prepare for the next series of maritime training activities -- the partner nations, who sit in all of those fora, are the ones that are there. So our activities complement what's being done by the other consortiums. We see very close alignment. We are already planning our APS -- both West Coast of Africa, as well as East Coast of Africa activities for 2012, because we do see this -- as I said, these are long-term, sustained activities.

And I think the fact that we are now conducting planning for the next 18 to 24 months has, in fact, encouraged our African partners that we are there for the long term and we're doing things that they are asking us to do, and we look at their sustained security and their littorals. So good prospects for the next 18 to 24 months. We're doing our best to ensure that those activities are in fact aligned and are coordinated with the other programs, because we know we're not the only ones there.

But we want to ensure that what we do, in fact, is coordinated with those other activities so that, in fact, what we do, as I said, those activities are adding value to the total effort, as opposed to doing harm. And I think we're achieving that. Are we perfect? No. No one is. But we work very hard to ensure that they're coordinated as best as we can make them. And we understand that we need to do that and we are pursing that very, very line of effort.

MS. COOKE: We have time for one last question, which I'm going to give to Nya -- here.

Q: Thank you, Jennifer. My name is Nya Koete (ph). I work with a group here called ADNA. I have roots in Ghana and here in the U.S. My question is about governance. You mentioned that those AFRICOM partners with weak governance are not, to paraphrase you, particularly strong partners for you. And yet, when I look at AFRICOM's operations, we see training for countries that don't have democracy.

And the concern we have is when the military is becoming strong -- African militaries -- with a record of overthrowing their governments. And yet, they are being trained how to be stronger militaries. It is bothersome to some of us. So my question is, could you talk a little bit about your view of democracy in African countries and what you are telling your political and military partners on the continent? Thank you.

GEN. WARD: Thank you for that. First, to be sure, I am an advocate of good governance, without question. I'm also an advocate of creating a stable environment, such that governance can, in fact, be seen as supporters, enablers of its people, as opposed to otherwise. I'm also aware that, in many parts of the continent of Africa, it has indeed been these militaries that have been destabilizing forces in their governments.

And so when it comes to professionalization; when it comes to behavior; when it comes to changing the way militaries act in civil societies, if we can be a help -- and again, our involvement is based on our foreign policy objectives. Kip Ward does not make the decision of where we go to do those sorts of operations. Those are national police decisions and our president, our Department of State -- foreign policy decisions that determine that; it's not Kip Ward that decides where we're going to go and conduct some military-to-military activity.

But when we do that at a place where a foreign policy decision has been made that we will, in fact, do it, if our efforts can begin to change that -- can turn, such that militaries conduct themselves more professionally, act legitimately, act with accountability, then our efforts are designed to be a part of the overall aspect of how governance is, in fact, moved in a direction that implies more effective and good governance, as opposed to not. But it's done as a part of a -- not as an independent, one-off activity, but as part of an overall policy determination having been made, that, that is something that we would pursue.

I'm clearly -- just as I wear this uniform, recognize, you know, the role that militaries play in civil societies as subordinate to government, but also understanding that, you know, that professionalization piece -- it doesn't just happen overnight; it doesn't just do it one time and you leave it. It's something that requires sustained commitment, requires a sustained application, and over time, a movement, such that militaries, hopefully, become contributors to stability in a society, as opposed to not.

That's our intent, and all that we do highlights those things. All that we do -- the mil-to-mil training, the associations that our non-commissioned officers, our officers have with their counterparts, we're always reinforcing that as a part of our relationship with them, such that, that relationship becomes a factor in causing more effective governance, becomes a factor that leads to a military that contributes to stability in society, protecting its people, as opposed to not, which has been the case in many places.

So make no question about it -- or have no question about it: Am I in favor of good governance? Yes, sir. And all that I do, and all that we do in our command, as we interact with militaries, is reflective of that. Do we dictate? Can we direct? No. But we certainly encourage and we talk about the importance of that type of military behavior in any democratic civil society.

And again, we only do that where our foreign policy decision has been made that, yes, we will go and do it. It's not based on how we would do it. I do, in my private counsel with my leadership and others, talk about that and how we would do whatever we do in our approach that would reinforce those notions as a part of our activities. Thank you, sir. Thank you all very much and have a great, great continuation of your session this morning. And I'm happy that you were here this morning to listen to me and all the best to you. Good seeing many of you back again. Thanks very much.

MS. COOKE: Thank you, General. (Applause.)