AFRICOM Mission Statement
United States Africa Command, in concert with interagency and international partners, builds defense capabilities, responds to crisis, and deters and defeats transnational threats in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity.
U.S. Africa Command most effectively advances U.S. national security interests through focused, sustained engagement with partners in support of our shared security objectives. The command's operations, exercises, and security cooperation assistance programs support U.S. Government foreign policy and do so primarily through military-to-military activities and assistance programs. These activities build strong, enduring partnerships with African nations, regional and international organizations, such as ECOWAS and the African Union, and other states that are committed to improving security in Africa.
Our core mission of assisting African states and regional organizations to strengthen their defense capabilities better enables Africans to address their security threats and reduces threats to U.S. interests. We concentrate our efforts on contributing to the development of capable and professional militaries that respect human rights, adhere to the rule of law, and more effectively contribute to stability in Africa.
Our work is guided by the U.S. National Security Strategy, the National Military Strategy, and others such as the Presidential Policy Directive for Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. Defense Strategic Guidance. As part of a comprehensive approach to complex security challenges in Africa, AFRICOM works closely with African, U.S. interagency, and international partners to develop capabilities necessary to ensure Africans are best able to address regional security challenges.
USAFRICOM, in coordination with national, international, and regional partners, conducts Military Information Support Operations (MISO) to support Department of Defense communication efforts specifically intended to improve regional stability and security cooperation and counter illicit activities within the USAFRICOM geographic area of responsibility.
Counter violent extremist organizations (C-VEO) MISO activities are conducted throughout the north, east, and Sahel regions of Africa and aim to delegitimize and decrease support for violent extremist groups. Other MISO activities are conducted in conjunction with or in support of USAFRICOM pan-African theater security cooperation activities.
Through 2023, USAFRICOM and its subordinate commands will continue to conduct MISO activities to improve regional stability and security cooperation primarily through, but not limited to, current and emergent communication technologies such as print media, radio, text messages, face-to-face, television, social media, and websites to decrease recruitment and other support for violent extremist organizations; promote alternative narratives to violence, hatred, and extremism; counter adverse propaganda; facilitate disarmament, demobilization and reintegration programs; and reduce the flow of foreign fighters.
C-VEO MISO activities are primarily aimed at delegitimizing the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria and their branches operating in Africa, al-Qaida and their adherents and affiliates operating in Africa such as Al-Shabaab, as well as, other U.S. designated foreign terrorist organizations including, but not limited to, Boko Haram,. Although these activities may be conducted throughout the area of responsibility, these efforts will be focused on audiences residing primarily in the Lake Chad Basin (Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad, and Mali); Horn of Africa (Somalia and Kenya); in the Maghreb (Libya and Tunisia); and in/around the Gulf of Guinea countries (Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote D'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Equatorial Guinea, Sao Tome, Gabon, and Congo).
MISO activities will be tailored to counter violent extremist organizations or threats operating in a given country or region. These activities will be conducted in cooperation with partners as aggressions are observed. As required, MISO efforts will also support activities such as maritime operations, noncombatant evacuations, humanitarian assistance, and personnel recovery, aiding deployed forces operational efforts in response to instability.
Additionally, MISO activities support joint training events with our partners throughout the region to more effectively address our shared security concerns and promote the positive impacts of adherence to the rule of law and military professionalism.
USAFRICOM MISO activities are coordinated with U.S. government agencies and partner nations. In accordance with U.S. Code and Department of Defense policy, intentionally directing MISO at U.S. citizens is specifically prohibited and will not be employed on USAFRICOM information dissemination platforms intended for U.S. audiences.
U.S. Africa Command sponsored exercises enhance AFRICOM, partner, and allied capability and inter-operability, and encourage the development of partner security capabilities and the instilling of professional ethos among African military elements. U.S. military forces serve as examples of military professionalism and U.S. core national values during the command’s joint exercises.
For example, Exercise FLINTLOCK is an annual exercise training small units of Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership nations in North and West Africa. Exercise AFRICA ENDEAVOR is a communications exercise focusing on interoperability and information sharing among African partners with the goal of developing command, control, and communication tactics, techniques, and procedures that can be used by the African Union in support of peacekeeping operations.
Exercise CUTLASS EXPRESS is an East African maritime exercise addressing counter-piracy, counter-narcotics and illegal fishing, focusing on information sharing and coordinated operations among international navies.
Security Cooperation Programs
AFRICOM’s Theater Security Cooperation programs (TSCP) remain the cornerstone of our sustained security engagement with African partners, are focused on building operational and institutional capacity and developing human capital, and provide a framework within which the command engages with regional partners in cooperative military activities and development.
These activities complement and reinforce other U.S. government agency programs, such as the Department of State-led and funded Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program. This initiative is designed to improve African militaries’ capabilities by providing selected training and equipment necessary for multinational peace support operations. U.S. Africa Command supports the ACOTA program by providing military mentors, trainers, and advisors at the request of State Department. ACOTA has been a key enabler of successful Africa Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) operations.
In the maritime arena, Africa Partnership Station (APS) is U.S. Naval Forces Africa’s (NAVAF) flagship maritime security cooperation program. The focus of APS is to build maritime safety and security by increasing maritime awareness, response capabilities and infrastructure. Through APS, U.S. Africa Command and NAVAF conduct engagement activities with international partners and governmental/non-governmental organizations to enhance African partner nations’ self-sustaining capability to effectively maintain maritime security within their inland waterways, territorial waters, and exclusive economic zones. APS provides sustained engagement using mobile training teams, interagency, and international trainers, working from U.S. Navy, U.S. Coast Guard and international partner nations’ vessels. Last year, APS began the construct of “training African trainers” to enable African maritime forces to provide the same level of instruction without U.S. personnel.
Conditions for success of our security cooperation programs and activities on the continent are established through hundreds of engagements supporting a wide range of activities, such as familiarization of fundamental military skills, education and professional development, humanitarian assistance such as HIV/AIDS prevention, counter-narcotics assistance, and foreign military financing.
During many of his public addresses, General Carter Ham, former Commander of U.S. Africa Command, clearly stated that military engagement combined with efforts of government agencies, African partners, and other nations can have a positive impact on overall security. “Increasingly, as a result of our contributions, African partner nations are addressing important security issues in Africa now more than ever. As part of a broader U.S. whole of government approach, AFRICOM’s operations, exercises and engagements have resulted in strengthened African partner nation capabilities and improved cooperation among African nations, the African Union, and its regional economic organizations.”
These capacity building activities complement Department of State programs and are planned with the U.S. embassy country teams and partner nations. We focus on the development of professional militaries which are disciplined, capable, and responsible to civilian authorities and committed to the well-being of their citizens and protecting human rights. Our efforts focus on increasing the capability and capacity of African partner nations to serve as trained, equipped agents of stability and security on the African continent.
In sum, the weight of AFRICOM’s effort is focused on building partner capacity and develops and conducts its activities to enhance safety, security and stability in Africa. Our strategy entails an effective and efficient application of our allocated resources, and collaboration with other U.S. Government agencies, African partners, international organizations and others in addressing the most pressing security challenges in an important region of the world.