AFRICOM Commander Testifies before Congress

Washington –U.S. Africa Command commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, wrapped up his annual posture statement to Congress with a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee March 21.



By U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs United States Africa Command Stuttgart, Germany Mar 22, 2024

Washington –U.S. Africa Command commander, U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Michael Langley, wrapped up his annual posture statement to Congress with a hearing before the House Armed Services Committee March 21. 

 Langley testified alongside Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, Dr. Celeste Wallander, and U.S. Central Command commander, U.S. Army General Michael Kurilla.

 In his opening remarks, Langley provided and overview of the command’s top concerns and strategic goals. “Today's global events, ranging from the Russian Federation's war in Ukraine to the Houthis attacks in the Red Sea, directly impact the lives of millions of Africans,” Langley said. 

 “Terrorism, poverty, food insecurity, climate change and mass migration shatter African lives. These factors sow the seeds of violent extremism and Russian exploitation across entire regions of the continent,” he said. “We're seeing impacts as these threats unfold…Challenges to democratic governance across the Sahel, complicating our relations with key partners.”

 The command is part of a three-part team of diplomacy, development, and defense professionals – a 3D approach – to ensure a synchronized whole-of-government effect, Langley explained. 

 “AFRICOM’s campaign [plan] revolves around central themes of ensuring strategic access, countering threats to the homeland and U.S. interests, preparing for and response to crises, and lastly, bolstering our allies and partners,” Langley said. The plan, “places our African partners at the center achieving positive change by executing African led, but U.S. enabled, operations.”

 Much of the discussion during the hearing focused on strategic competition from both China and Russia. Langley emphasized the need for a comprehensive whole-of-government approach as it relates to U.S. engagement in Africa because it provides an intrinsic value that competitors cannot match.

 “They can't match what we've been doing in health diplomacy or what USAID has been able to achieve in regards to malaria, AIDS, COVID, Ebola, and also the full throes of the PEPFAR (U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) program of increasing life expectancy over 20 percent.”

 In the official statement of record submitted to Congress last week, Langley also noted that the partnerships are built with sovereign African partners as they implement their own solutions to achieve a just, secure, and prosperous future. The contrasts across the operating environment are stark. Some of the governments are struggling to stave off state failure, while other enjoy the benefits of modern development and reliable governance.

 Use of kinetic military force is a last resort that can produce fleeting or counterproductive outcomes, he said in the written statement. 

 “AFRICOM’s approach is to help African people address underlying conditions. “We operationalize the toolkit of security cooperation…institutional capacity building, multinational exercises…intelligence and information sharing,” Langley said. “The outcome for which we all strive in Africa – the outcome most important to America’s national security – is a continent of free, safe, prosperous, and resilient nations that hold their peoples’ interests at heart.”

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