Less than a year since it got up and running, America's military command for Africa is building partnerships on the continent. After some initial concerns about the mission of the U.S. Africa Command, its role of being a reliable partner on security matters has become clear.
Before the creation of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. security engagement on the continent had been spread across 3 different commands, thus limiting the coordination, consistency, and efficiency of U.S. cooperative military efforts on the continent.
U.S. military activities, such as training and crisis response, often lacked the kind of regional coordination needed to make the most of our resources and achieve the greatest benefits for our African partners.
U.S. Africa Command, which was established on October 1, 2007, incorporates the personnel and experience from several civilian U.S. government agencies into the military command structure to enhance the command’s coordination with other U.S. Government activities in Africa.
It seeks to help its partner militaries in Africa to professionalize their forces and to build their capacities for peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, and coastal and border security.
Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, U.S. Africa Command’s Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities, said input from leaders of several African nations helped shape the effort. In meetings held since the creation of a new command focused on Africa was first proposed early in 2007, Ambassador Yates said African leaders looked to the command to help them build capable military forces, strengthen their security institutions, support international peacekeeping efforts and deter threats to national security.
Coupled with this international military cooperation is enhanced coordination with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, and other U.S. Government Departments and agencies.
"We're working with the military as they plan their security cooperation programs so the programs are more effective, and so humanitarian assistance is more effective," said Ambassador Yates, who is a senior diplomat detailed to the Command from the U.S. State Department. U.S. Africa Command represents a strong commitment to help partner nations in Africa build peace and stability for their citizens and their regions