Statement attributable to U.S. Army Gen. Stephen Townsend, U.S. Africa Command commander.
Today is the 12th anniversary of the establishment of United States Africa Command. The creation of a Combatant Command focused on the African continent acknowledged the growing importance of the region to United States’ national security. Africa is home to the fastest growing economies and populations in the world, and sits at the crossroads of global commerce and trade. Its strategic importance for the United States continues to grow, as evidenced by Africa's increasing leadership role on the global stage.
U.S. Africa Command’s headquarters was stood up with a focus on humanitarian aid and empowering whole-of-government outreach. Since its original inception, U.S. Africa Command's role expanded to include protecting our homeland from violent extremist organizations with safe havens in Africa. Today, U.S. Africa Command’s theater is key terrain for global power competition. U.S. Africa Command enables the United States' enduring partnership with like-minded countries to address challenges from strategic competitors like China and Russia, who continue to expand their authoritarian influence worldwide, including in Africa.
Africa is a vast and diverse continent rich with opportunity, promise and partnership. U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with African partners to address mutual security issues through exercises, exchanges, and other engagements. Working together is critical to addressing threats from malign actors and violent extremist organizations, which threaten regional security and present a danger to the U.S. homeland and that of our allies. The strong alliances and partnerships that AFRICOM has forged over the last 12 years are what set us apart from our global competitors, and are more important than ever.