As we move into the year 2010, I would like us all to take a moment and reflect on our accomplishments thus far and what lies ahead.
Africa Command has already made strides in helping our African partners develop security capacity. Exercises like AFRICA ENDEAVOR and NATURAL FIRE have enhanced interoperability. Maritime security and domain awareness has been improved through programs like our Africa Partnership Station and the African Maritime Law Enforcement Program (AMLEP).
Keep in mind, our national interests lie in a stable continent of Africa. This means that Africans live in the relative peace of a stable environment, are governed effectively, and enjoy a degree of economic and social advancement. An Africa, whereby African populations are able to provide for themselves, contribute to global economic development and allow access to markets in free, fair, and competitive ways, is good for America and the world.
President Barack Obama stated in Accra, Ghana in July 2009, that “Africa’s future is up to Africans,” and specified five priority areas where the U.S. can contribute to a brighter future for Africa. They are: democracy, opportunity, health, the peaceful resolution of conflict, and addressing transnational challenges.
US Africa Command supports the defense aspects of the President’s priorities. We will:
Build Partner Security Capacity-in areas such as support and special staff capabilities, the African non-commissioned officer corps, and military/dual-use infrastructures;
Work in Concert with our Partners–continue to work closely with interagency, international and African partners to strive for a stable Africa;
Reinforce Success-build upon those activities that have had positive results to include promoting strategic relationships as outlined by our strategy and national guidance and demonstrating African ownership though activities such as AMLEP.
Address Transnational Challenges–such as terrorism and drug and arms trafficking, to help prevent the onset or exacerbation of new tensions.
Respond to Crises-as directed.
We want to help prevent crises rather than only react to them. How we do this is important. The planning required for our activities involves several government entities and our own military, so it is vital that we engage with them and one another continuously. For example, the insight and opinions of our interagency teammates are valuable and should be sought after during both the planning and execution phases of everything we do. Similarly, we need to be cognizant that our Components, who have already contributed greatly to the command’s efforts, are still growing.
Only through security and development can there be stability, and only through stability can there be HOPE for the future.
Continue to do the good work you have been doing. Thank you for your efforts.