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U.S. Uses Holistic Approach in Africa Relations, General Says

The U.S. is using a whole-of-government approach in its relationship with nations in Africa, said the commander of U.S. Africa Command.

A soldier shoots a machine gun.
High-Angle Shooting
A soldier attached to Task Force Wolfhound participates in high-angle shooting training in Djibouti, Feb. 13, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Joseph P. LeVeille
VIRIN: 230213-F-EI268-1704

Marine Corps Gen. Michael E. Langley spoke today to the press from Rome, Italy, on a State Department-hosted website. 

That approach, which he called "the 3D," is diplomacy, led by the State Department; development, led by the U.S. Agency for International Development; and the Defense Department, which hosts multinational exercises and helps nations strengthen their militaries in the face of terrorist threats. 

Langley addressed Wagner Group activities in Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic. Wagner is a Russian paramilitary organization, which is also fighting in Ukraine. 

An airman slides large pallets of cargo onto an aircraft.
Unloading Equipment
Air Force C-17 Globemaster III aircraft loadmasters assigned to the 15th Airlift Squadron unload military equipment for the Somali National Army in Mogadishu, Somalia, Feb. 28, 2023.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Taylor Crul
VIRIN: 230228-F-CQ002-1038

"[The Wagner Group has] destabilizing effects in every country that they have set foot on," he said. 

Wagner uses brutal tactics, engages in human rights abuses, and gains wealth through predatory practices, he said. 

Langley said the U.S. response to Wagner’s infiltration is to bolster African nations through the whole-of-government approach. 

A camera looks down on service members in two small boats.
Maritime Training
Members of the the Navy’s Maritime Expeditionary Security Squadron 8, the Djiboutian navy, and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force participate in training aboard the Japanese destroyer JS Suzutsuki based in the port of Djibouti, Feb. 25, 2023.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Maria A. Olvera Tristán
VIRIN: 230225-N-QS035-0006

"I think collectively with all those operations and investments and activities, we can achieve long-term goals for these countries," he said.  

Langley said some of the recent military efforts around the continent include: 

  • Military leaders from 43 African nations and 15 U.S. National Guard units met in Rome this week to collaborate and learn from each other.  
  • The U.S. is supplying the Somalia military with AK-47 variants and ammunition as it battles al-Shabaab insurgents. 
  • Exercise Flintlock has 29 nations participating in crisis response and counterterrorism.
    Soldiers fire rifles on a range.
    Exercise Flintlock
    Netherlands Special Operations Forces observe Ghanaian Special Boat Service sailors fire downrange on the first day of Exercise Flintlock in Volta, Ghana, March 1, 2023. Flintlock and other events hosted by the U.S. military provide opportunities for African nations to share their strategies and best practices to accelerate the collective ability to adapt and overcome the terrorist threat.
    Photo By: Army Spc. Mario Hernandez Lopez
    VIRIN: 230301-A-UN767-1019
  • Exercise Obangame Express 23 is aiding maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea and building military capacity in Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria and Togo. U.S. forces participating are the Army, Navy and Coast Guard. 
  • Exercise African Lion is addressing transregional threats and interoperability. 
  • Kenya is hosting Cutlass Express, a maritime exercise. 


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