The United States is creating a new Africa Command to coordinate U.S. Department Of Defense activities on the continent. "This new command," said President George W. Bush, "will strengthen our security cooperation with Africa and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa."
Until now, U.S. military responsibilities in Africa have been shared among the U.S. European Command, the Central Command and the Pacific Command. U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates called this "an outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War."
President Bush has ordered the Africa Command to become operational by September 30th, 2008. He says the United States plans to consult with African leaders "to seek their thoughts on how Africa Command can respond to security challenges." Among these challenges is terrorism.
Somalia is a case in point. Jendayi Frazer is U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. "Somalia's continued exploitation by terrorist elements," she said, "threatens the stability of the entire Horn of Africa region." The United States, she said, "will therefore take strong measures to deny terrorists safe haven in Somalia, as well as the ability to plan and operate from Somalia."
The establishment of the Africa Command will put the United States in a better position to help African countries meet the challenges ahead. This new command, said President Bush, "will enhance our efforts to bring peace and security to the people of Africa and promote our common goals of development, health, education, democracy, and economic growth in Africa."