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TRANSCRIPT: Defense Secretary Gates Announces Creation of U.S. Africa Command
During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 6, 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the decision to create a new U.S. Africa Command to coordinate U.S. military support to foreign policy in Africa. <br /> <br
During testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee on February 6, 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the decision to create a new U.S. Africa Command to coordinate U.S. military support to foreign policy in Africa.

U.S. AFRICOM would "oversee security cooperation, building partnership capability, defense support to nonmilitary missions, and, if directed, military operations on the African continent," Gates said.

Gates made the announcement while testifying on the proposed Fiscal 2008 budget for the Defense Department.

During the congressional hearing, the only Senator to discuss the new command was Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma. Inhofe noted that U.S. Defense Department work in Africa was divided between U.S. European Command and U.S. Central Command, "and I've been complaining about it for about 10 years."

Below are excerpts of the testimony regarding U.S. Africa Command:

SECRETARY OF DEFENSE GATES: Before closing, Mr. Chairman, I would like to take this opportunity to announce something that is not referenced in my statement that was submitted yesterday but that I wanted to bring to the committee's attention.
The president has decided to stand up a new, unified combatant command, Africa Command, to oversee security cooperation, building partnership capability, defense support to nonmilitary missions, and, if directed, military operations on the African continent. This command will enable us to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current arrangement of dividing Africa between Central Command and European Command, an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War.
This department will consult closely with the Congress and work with our European and African allies to implement this effort.
We look forward to taking your questions. Thank you, sir.

. . .

SENATOR INHOFE (R-OK): Mr. Secretary, you said during your opening statement there was something that was not in your printed statement. It kind of went by me a little bit too fast, but I think it's good news. Are you saying that we're now making progress toward -- well, Africa's been divided between EUCOM and CENTCOM now for -- and I've been complaining about it for about 10 years.

And they're talking about now a new AFRICACOM that you think is working into the process?

SEC. GATES: Yes, sir. We're moving to stand it up.

SEN. INHOFE: That's very, very good news, and I want to make sure everyone heard what you said.

See related article: Africa Command Will Consolidate U.S. Efforts on Continent.
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