Posts Tagged 'General Ward'

2010 Posture Hearings

On 3/19/2010 4:01:45 PM General William E. Ward, Commander of U.S. Africa Command wrote:

Hello Teammates,

On March 9 and 10, I completed my annual responsibility to provide testimony to the United States Congress on the posture of the United States Africa Command. The public hearings that I participated in and the written statements that I submitted for the record provided me the opportunity to present our approach to sustained security engagement in Africa and our accomplishments over the past year. The positive reception received at these hearings shows that our programs and activities are recognized as doing important work in Africa for our nation and in support of the African people.

The challenges our Command faces due to the complex environment in Africa were acknowledged repeatedly by several members of Congress. Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Service Committee, described these challenges as “staggering”.

Representative Ike Skelton, Chairman of the House Armed Service Committee, touched upon the rise of violent extremism in Africa “from Al Qaeda in East Africa to Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al-Shabaab in Somalia.”

Naturally, the less often asked question of where we are going to relocate our headquarters came up. In fact, Senator John McCain asked why our headquarters was not in Africa. I responded with, “The work of the Command is in its programs, its activities, its exercises, the things that we do across the continent to help the nations of Africa increase their capacity. The headquarters location, quite candidly, doesn’t affect the work, where we plan those activities, where we look to resource those activities.” This answer was accepted by all.

A Congressional hearing naturally focuses on trying to identify problems and challenges. But one idea I was able to emphasize is how I am truly impressed that the people of Africa every day are taking meaningful steps to address their challenges.

At one point a lawmaker asked me about Somalia and pointed out that I had been deployed there 17 years ago, and that the country remains in turmoil. What has changed in the past 17 years, I replied, is that now “there’s a continent-wide organization [the African Union] that has said that, we will do our best to help bring this Transitional Federal Government into a place where it can begin to exert some control over that vast territory. The problem with Somalia is the lack of a government. It’s the lack of effective governance. But there are things being done to address that. It is truly an international effort. It requires the support of the global community.”

What we’re doing with regard to Somalia illustrated the approach of U.S. Africa Command. As I explained to Congress, Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government (TFG) is being supported by the African Union’s Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), as well as the United States and members of the international community. I stated in my testimony that this government is “our best potential for helping to turn around some of the instability and lack of governance” in Somalia. We look to participate with those who also support the TFG through their contributions to the AMISOM mission in ways that add stability to that part of the continent.

I include this discussion on Somalia because comments by senior U.S. government officials have led to speculation and assumption in the media that our verbal endorsement also means active U.S. military operations inside Somalia, to include air support and putting Special Operations Forces on the ground to support combat operations by AMISOM and the TFG. Their assumption was incorrect and led to speculative articles that do not accurately portray our role.

Let me just reiterate points that already have been made by our diplomats: The United States — and this includes U.S. Africa Command — does not plan, does not direct, and does not coordinate the military operations of Somalia’s TFG forces. We have not and will not be providing direct support for any potential military offensives. We are not providing military advisors for the TFG. Lasting security in Somalia will best be achieved by the Somali people working closely with their African neighbors — outsiders cannot impose solutions.

The Congressional hearings were, in my opinion, successful. I left with the sense that the Congress embraces and supports our mission and vision and that the elected representatives of the American people are noticing more and more that our engagement in Africa is meaningful and appreciated.

Finally, I want to thank the AFRICOM staff and all those other teammates who dedicated long hours and considerable energy in preparing the 2010 Annual Posture Statement. Truly a team effort.

How the Civil Rights Movement Influenced our Community

The following essay by Kevin Perry, grade 9, is the second place winner in the Stuttgart Community African-American/Black History Month Essay Contest. The contest asked submitters to describe how they feel the Civil Rights Movement has helped unify and strengthen the community.

How the Civil Rights Movement Influenced our Community

By Kevin Perry

The Civil Rights movement has been one of the most unifying acts in the American history. It not only made us stronger as a country but it made us stronger as a people. Because of it many people have succeed great heights, such as General Ward. Without that movement our culture would not have such diversity. In my mind, that’s one of the best things that came out of the Civil Rights movement, Diversity. That is one of the things that has changed our community the most, and for the best.

As a result of the movement, people have come to live in peace with each other. Peace and harmony are one of the greatest and hardest achievements one could make, and to see a whole community achieve this is spectacular.  Even as one walks through the halls of the school, one not only sees great friendships being made, but long lasting experiences.  I believe that the Civil Rights movements cause this. It has given people a chance to know somebody from a different family, life, background, and ethnicity. Although people might not get along, when it comes down to it we are all brothers and sisters.

As people, we tend to think of different as bad. I believe that after the Civil Rights movement the American people changed their look on that a little. We have come to accept people no matter what they look like. Just as Dr. Martin Luther King jr. said “ I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” I think that as a community, we are the ones that can either make this happen or not. We have the power to either judge people on looks or character. After the Civil Rights movement we as a people chose to judge others on character.

Our civilization is based on what the people of our country would like done with our country. After the Civil Rights movement was the only time when this really was true. It was the only time when American citizens saw something wrong and came together to fix it. That is one of the reasons our country is so great. The fact that if one sees something wrong, that person has the power to fix it. That’s what the Civil Rights movement was about. Fixing a problem that the people saw necessary to fix.

After the Civil Rights movement African Americans in our country got more rights and were equals. Even though that’s what people said, it still wasn’t like that all the way. We are still growing as a country. And because we are growing as a country, we are still growing to bring equal rights to everyone. Not only equal rights, but equal opportunities. We now have a African American president roughly 50 years. I believe that we will keep growing to achieve even more equality in our country. I believe this will be achieved and it is thanks to the Civil Rights movement.

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.

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