The Department of Defense will launch its flagship engagement program for Africa, the African Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), with a two-week Senior Leader Seminar currently planned for Dakar, Senegal starting October 31, 1999. The Office of the Secretary of Defense established the ACSS in March 1999 after thorough consultations with interested governments, organizations and individuals in Africa, Europe and the United States. The President announced his intention to establish the center with our African partners during his historic trip to Africa last Spring.
The ACSS is founded on DoD's existing regional center concept. DoD currently operates the George C. Marshall Center for Security Studies in Germany, the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies in Honolulu, and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies in Washington, D.C.
The ACSS aims to support an appropriate military role in democratic governance by offering senior African leaders, civilian and military, a rigorous academic and practical program in civil-military relations, national security strategy, and defense economics.
The initial program will be comprised of a series of two-week seminars at various locations throughout the continent. There will be two levels of course work: the Senior Leader Seminar for general officer and equivalent civilians, and the Leadership Seminar oriented to colonels, lieutenant colonels and equivalent civilians. Each seminar will be conducted in French and English through simultaneous interpretation. An international faculty of civilian and military educators, policy experts, and managers will lead discussion sessions aimed at exploring the center's three curricular areas: civil-military relations; national security strategy and defense resource planning.
The center aims to:
Promote informed and productive inquiry on the military's role in a democracy among non-government civilian leaders, government officials and military officers.
Foster understanding of the military's role in shaping national security strategies and defense resource planning.
Maintain long-term, continuing interaction with and among participants on matters relevant to the center's mission.
Support additional research, seminars, conferences, and other exchange activities on relevant topics in Africa, Europe and the United States.
Interactive teaching methods will be used to generate high levels of participation and are designed to promote a practical approach to civil-military relations.
Seminar participants consist of an even mix of civilian and military officials from as many African nations as possible, except those under UN sanctions and supporting terrorism. There are also representatives from international and sub-regional organizations and a small number of Europeans and Americans. The center places a strong emphasis on its alumni program as a means of continuing the education and development of previous participants.