Africa Command Pledges to Partner with Other U.S. Agencies
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Nov. 20, 2007 The military’s unified command responsible for operations across Africa will work in tandem with other U.S. government agencies to assist partner nations there to confront poverty, disease, terrorism and other challenges, a senior U.S. officer said today.
“We are not looking to take the lead for any other government-agency work that they are doing today across the continent or our international partners,” Navy Vice Adm. Robert T. Moeller, U.S. Africa Command’s deputy to the commander for military operations, told “bloggers” and Internet reporters during a conference call.
AFRICOM will team with the U.S. State Department and other U.S. agencies and organizations to assist African partners to combat AIDS, malaria and other challenges that affect regional stability and security, Moeller explained.
AFRICOM marked the startup of its initial operations Oct. 1. For now, the command is collocated with U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany. Plans are for AFRICOM to be fully established as a separate unified command by Sept. 30 and eventually to base the command’s headquarters somewhere in Africa.
The new command will consolidate support efforts in Africa currently performed by U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command and U.S. European Command, Moeller pointed out.
“By doing so, we would hope that we would be more effective in (providing) that kind of support,” Moeller pointed out.
Moeller dispelled a misconception that AFRICOM intends to have a large military footprint in Africa.
“The establishment of AFRICOM is not about the deployment of (sizeable U.S.) forces to the continent or the establishment of bases,” Moeller emphasized.
From time to time, Moeller explained, some U.S. military personnel would go to the continent to team with African partners in performing security-cooperation activities.
A key point is that African nations are taking the lead in their relations with AFRICOM, which will assist those countries in developing the capacities they need to help themselves, Moeller said.