Carter Visits U.S. Africom Troops, Civilians
By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service
STUTTGART, Germany, May 10, 2013 The Defense Department understands the strategic and political importance of Africa and U.S. Africa Command, Deputy Defense Secretary Ash Carter said here today.
Counterterrorism efforts around the world will continue, Carter told civilians and service members assigned to Africom’s headquarters.
“As long as there’s humanity and as long as there’s civilization, there will be the uncivilized. There will be the problem of the few against the many and whatever cause they have -- from crackpots to ideologues to whatever, they’ll always be out there,” he said.
“And it’ll always be the responsibility for those of us who are charged with providing security for the many to combat the aberrant few,” Carter added.
The U.S. has gotten better at counterterrorism during the last decade, Carter said.
“We can never cease improving ourselves in that effort [but] … it doesn’t have to be the riveting preoccupation that it has been,” he said.
The continent of Africa looms large on the geostrategic world stage, Carter said. This is especially true, he said, as the U.S. turns a strategic corner and moves away from an era dominated by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, toward a time when America can renew its focus on other international partners.
While conceding that terror groups like Boca Haram and Al Shabab pose challenges, Carter said Africa also presents opportunities.
“And we need to make sure we’re seizing upon that as well, and not just playing a game of … Whack-A-Mole [against terrorists],” he said. “In the long run, that will be an investment that we will be very glad we made.”
Following his speech, Carter presented his personal coins to and took photos with about 150 Africom personnel.
Africom is working hard with its African partners, said Terrell “TC” Lasker, assigned to the Africom J-352.
“I believe that we’re doing a good [job], and I believe [Carter] coming here and letting us know that is awesome,” he added.
“It means a lot for me, for Dr. Carter during his busy schedule, … for him to take the time to come over here to Africom to thank us all. It means a lot to us,” said Jimmie Burney, assigned to Africom’s J-3 Admin office.