In a sign of Africa's growing importance to the United States and other nations of the world, the U.S. officially launched on October 1 a new unified military command that will focus squarely on helping nations there provide security to their people. The new regional command, known as U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM, pulls together the Africa elements from three other U.S. regional military commands that are focused primarily on Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
AFRICOM is the product of extensive planning and consultation with other agencies in the U.S. Government. It will deliver better coordination of U.S. efforts as it supports military and peacekeeping training for African nations, the African Union's African Standby Force, and for joint counter-terrorism initiatives in the Sahara region and the Horn of Africa.
Unlike traditional military commands, AFRICOM staff will include a number of civilian diplomatic and humanitarian aid staff. Their expertise will be clearly evident in medical training exercises scheduled in Swaziland next year.
Promoting a stable and prosperous Africa is increasingly vital to global security and crucial to the global economy.