Posts Tagged 'Africa Partnership Station'

Maritime Safety and Security Seminar one piece of AFRICOM effort

“We believe that security of the seas is essential for global security. There is a relationship between security of the sea, the ability of countries to govern their waters, a country’s prosperity, stability and peace. The oceans of the world are a common bond between the economies and countries of the world. Seventy percent of the world is water, 80% of the world lives on or near the coastline and 90% of the world’s commerce is transported on the ocean. Individual nations cannot combat maritime problems and crimes alone …”

— U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa

This week’s Maritime Safety and Security Seminar in Benin is just one example of how U.S. Africa Command, its components, agencies and partner nations work to combat piracy and other maritime security challenges off Africa’s 18,000 miles of coastline. That meeting kicked off yesterday and continues today, with top leaders from the Economic Community of West African States and the Economic Community of Central African States. The meeting is a continuation of one held last year where the two organizations and their country representatives talked about ways to work together to improve maritime safety and security, especially in the Gulf of Guinea.

Countering piracy and illicit trafficking is one of AFRICOM’s top priorities, according to Gen. Carter F. Ham. In his recently released 2012 Posture Statement outlining AFRICOM’s goals and priorities, Gen. Ham highlighted the importance of maritime security.

“The free flow of commerce through the global commons is essential to U.S. economic and security interests,” he said. “Piracy and other maritime crimes negatively impact the security and freedom of access for all nations to critical waterways and continue to threaten U.S. security in the waters off the East and West coast of Africa.”

The command’s two primary anti-piracy and maritime security programs are Africa Partnership Station (APS)  and Africa Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership (AMLEP), both lead by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa, based in Naples, Italy.

An amphibious assault vehicle with 3rd Platoon, Delta Compay, 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, moves out to the USS Whidbey Island, March 20 at Onslow Beach aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. Thirty-six Marines with the platoon conducted reintegration exercises from March 19 – 22 in preparation for their deployment with the Africa Partnership Station 2012 this year. Read a story about their preparation. (Photo by Sgt. Bryan A. Peterson)

APS, in its fifth year, involves Navy ships that visit our African partners to conduct training and exchange information. The Navy likens it to a “floating university.” This year’s APS kicked off in January and includes the USS Simpson, the USS Fort McHenry and the HSV Swift, along with some 19 African countries plus partners from Europe and North and South America. Recent APS engagements include combat lifesaver training in Cameroon, and a 27-day ship visit aboard the USS Simpson for sailors from Benin, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, the Republic of Congo and Togo.

The goals of APS are to deter piracy, discourage illicit trafficking of drugs and persons and impede drug smuggling.

AMLEP, on the other hand, includes actual law enforcement operations with partner nations. U.S. forces team up with regional navies and coast guards to patrol and enforce their own territorial waters in order to combat piracy, illicit trafficking and other maritime crimes.

Click the links below to learn more about these and other maritime security initiatives:

2012 AFRICOM Posture Statement

AFRICOM fact sheet on APS

AFRICOM fact sheet on AMLEP

APS Facebook page 

USAFRICOM-related news stories for April 8, 2010 (From the Beltway/From and About Africa)

Recent Publications on Senegal, Algeria, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, DR Congo, Rwanda, Kenya

Al-Qaeda Turns to Extortion as Funds Cut, U.S. Says (Bloomberg)

Al-Qaeda has been so weakened financially that the terrorist group’s affiliates have turned to drug trafficking, extortion and kidnapping to raise money, a U.S. Treasury Department official said today.

US, Algeria Sign Legal Treaty (Voice of America)

The United States and Algeria have signed a legal treaty boosting cooperation in the fight against terrorism and crime, the first law enforcement agreement between the two countries.

US reports harassment and rape of gays in Zimbabwe (Associated Press)

HARARE, Zimbabwe – Gay Zimbabweans face widespread harassment and some have even been raped by those intending to convert their sexuality, the U.S. State Department said in a discussion of its annual human rights report in Zimbabwe.

For additional relevant articles of interest, go to:

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Senegal’s Chief of Defense Makes History at AFRICOM

General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, greets Lieutenant General Abdoulaye Fall, chief of defense staff, Senegalese Armed Forces

General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, greets Lieutenant General Abdoulaye Fall, chief of defense staff, Senegalese Armed Forces

By Staff Sergeant Amanda McCarty

U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs

STUTTGART, Germany, Feb 11, 2010 — Lieutenant General Abdoulaye Fall, chief of defense staff, Senegalese Armed Forces, made history February 11, 2010, by becoming the first African defense chief to visit U.S. Africa Command headquarters.

Fall attended an office call with General William E. Ward, commander, U.S. Africa Command, and held briefings and discussions with other senior leaders from the command.

“I’m very committed to keep on sharing this partnership with AFRICOM,” said Fall.

Six other senior Senegalese military officials also visited the command headquarters February 8-11, to discuss security cooperation goals and plan future activities with the command and its service components.

“I can say that all the activities that have planned, well, we receive them very positively and I commit myself and my armed forces to participate in them,” Fall said.

The delegation received in-depth briefings on various command programs and toured component headquarters Marine Corps Forces Africa and Special Operations Command Africa. The Senegalese officials, representatives from Senegal’s various Armed Forces branches (Navy, Army, Air Force and Gendarmerie), also shared information about their programs and activities.

Fall also commented on the command’s partnership with Senegal, saying, he appreciated the efforts by U.S. Africa Command in “enhancing African capabilities and capacities to better face security challenges, assisting armed forces in modernizing their tools, enhancing the capacities of their militaries in trying to make them more professional ones and also their efforts in doing to help Africans better manage security issues and involve themselves in security issues.”

The partnership with Senegal will continue with initiatives such as Africa Partnership Station, which focuses on building cooperative relationships to achieve common international goals such as stability and security.

TESTIMONY: A Senegalese at the Heart of Distress in Haiti

This blog provides the English translation of an article titled "A Senegalese at the Heart of Distress in Haiti," which features on the work of a Senegalese officer embarked on APS Gunston Hall, currently supporting efforts in Haiti. The author, Aminatou M. DIOP,  was part of a Senegalese journalist delegation who visited U.S. Africa Command headquarters in December. The original article, "TEMOIGNAGE : Un Sénégalais au cœur de la détresse en Haïti,"  can be found at :

January 23, 2010

The USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), which was to deploy to Africa as part of the Africa Partnership Station (APS)—a maritime security cooperation framework between the United States and some African countries—has suspended her missions and is participating in efforts to assist the Haitian people. Our fellow countryman, Lieutenant Assane Sèye, is among its multinational crew (made up of Americans, Europeans, and Africans). Yesterday, he gave an interview over the phone to the Senegalese Press Agency, the RFM, and the Le Quotidien daily. These media outlets came to the embassy of the United States in Dakar after the sailor made sure that his hierarchical superiors were informed of the interview.

The American ship, the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44), is expected in Dakar in April. But last week’s earthquake in Haiti changed the ship’s initial itinerary. The vessel was rerouted to Port-au-Prince, the capital of Haiti, on a humanitarian mission. On January 15, the ship left its military base at Little Creek–Story, in Virginia, to take part in the humanitarian assistance the U.S. Navy is bringing to the Haitian population. A young Senegalese sailor, Lieutenant Assane Sèye is a member of the ship’s crew.  The U.S. embassy in Senegal telephoned Lt. Assane Sèye.  While on board the USS Gunston Hall (it was 11:40 a.m. in Senegal and 6:40 a.m. in Port-au-Prince), Lt. Assane Sèye, spoke about the time he has spent in that country since January 18. “We’re a few nautical miles from the military base. Each morning we leave the ship to go on land and we return at night.”

The military base has thus been transformed into a hospital with all necessary structures for first aid, surgical procedures, and hospitalizations; it is a clinic. In the event of evacuations, “we have a hospital ship that can receive 600 patients who are taken there by U.S. Army helicopters.” In the four days they have been there, “we have had nearly 200 patients transferred to the hospital ship,” says Lt. Sèye, who is impressed by the number of patients admitted each day.

100 Times More Emergency Cases than in the Main [Hospital]

Some patients come on foot or by ambulance belonging to the various local humanitarian organizations and have suffered various traumas, “sometimes with both arms or legs broken. Some of them come because they no longer have any sensation in their limbs or because they were stuck somewhere for days, are completely dehydrated…There are a number of unimaginable wounds.” When we ask about the situation on the ground, Lt. Sèye answers: “Take for example the emergencies at Dakar’s main hospital and multiply by 100, the influx of incoming patients and multiply that by 100, that’s the severity of the problems. It’s something you can’t exactly wrap your mind around, even if I describe it to you.” He insists: “These are things that I personally have never seen. You have to be here to believe it.” A rather difficult case was that of a lady who “gave birth in extremely complicated and difficult conditions…You can’t imagine how happy we were to see mother and baby safe!” stated Lt. Sèye.

Work is also made difficult by the number of patients who come in each minute, just to be treated, to get information because they do not know where to go, or who even want to leave Haiti, he explains. He indicates that upon arrival they have to go through triage and, depending on the case, are referred to specialists. “Those with physical wounds requiring hospitalization or evacuation” are the priority. The most difficult are those with lesser afflictions who have to free their hospital bed since there are also rows of chairs to accommodate some, just to give them time to rest and to receive something to eat and drink. “But, in the evening, these people have to leave because we have to control the hospital.” And managing them is complicated. However, “when they see sick people lying on the ground, they understand that they need to give up the bed. But once outside the clinic or the hospitalization room, a lot of diplomacy is needed to make them leave the base” where grassy areas have been set up where they can lie down, says Lt. Sèye, who is in charge of convincing them. At the end of the day, “I always manage to convince them even if this is not easy since those spaces cannot accommodate big numbers.”

The volunteers are another problem, he continues. “Somebody who loses everything, who leaves his home and walks for kilometers to say, ‘I want to help,’ doesn’t understand when we say that we have enough volunteers. Each morning we see 200 volunteers, but we work with 50 volunteers including professors, doctors, sociologists, etc. But we have limited their number to better channel the work.”

How long will the assistance last? “For now, the system put in place to help the Haitians is working very well. Consequently, the influx is stronger. But whether we will be leaving in a week or two, I don’t know.”

Senegalese Pride

Designated by the Senegalese navy, Lieutenant Assane Sèye joined the team of the Africa Command of the United States (AFRICOM) on board the USS Gunston Hall (LSD 44) on January 9, in Virginia, in the United States. The USS Gunston Hall was expected this April in Spain,  West Africa, and Dakar, for drills and operations. But the earthquake in Haiti occurred and the ship was diverted to Port-au-Prince. An unplanned mission that this Senegalese soldier says he experiences “it is difficult to see these people on the ground, suffering, who need to eat, who need water and medical assistance. Whatever your knowledge, whatever the means at your disposal, you are limited when faced with them. You can’t do everything. You treat them and then they have to leave. It’s difficult. Later, they have to eat and we don’t have food and something to drink for everyone. It’s very difficult.” However, there are nice moments within all this chaos stemming from the pleasure of being there and helping the Haitians. “Because I consider them to be my brothers, Africans. So it’s a tremendous pleasure to be here, but it pains me very much to see them in these circumstances. You have to see the city yourself. It’s completely devastated.”

In any event, this young 29-year-old Senegalese is a model of pride—not only for the Senegalese. This is proven by the testimony of the USS Gunston Hall’s (LSD 44) onboard commander, Captain Cynthia Thebaud, who is full of praise for our fellow countryman: “Lt. Sèye carries out invaluable tasks by interacting with the Haitian patients as well as those who accompany them, and by coordinating the team of Haitian volunteers who have come to help us in our mission. He’s proactive, very engaged, and has an amazing disposition. He gives the impression of being everywhere, continuously coordinating, etc.”

Enlisted in the Senegalese Army in 2005, Lt. Sèye and the Africa Partnership Station (APS) are responsible for coordinating instructors, following up on programs, and checking whether the teaching is done properly. During the Haitian mission, he is in charge of managing Haitian volunteers at the hospital set up at the American military base.

The Africa Partnership Station provides a cooperation framework set up by the United States that seeks to establish maritime safety and security in African partner states. It organizes military and civil capacity-building drills involving those units in charge of watching over the maritime territories of the said countries, awareness sessions on the protection of fishery resources, and the sharing of expertise in various maritime areas.

By Aminatou M. DIOP

Commander’s Intent 2010

A Message from General William E. Ward, Commander of U.S. Africa Command



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 AfricaThis 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.

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