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.