Saturday, April 12, 2008

Africom to Commence Operations This Year

Africom to Commence Operations This Year

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The U.S. Government is to begin military ties with 53 African nations come September 2008, when the newly established U.S Africa Command (Africom), becomes an independent unified command.

This was announced in Kampala by Vince Crawley, the Chief of Public Information in Africom, during a press briefing about the official visit of General William E. "Kip" Ward, head of the Command who is visiting Uganda.
Africom, currently under the U.S. European Command, will have administrative responsibility for U.S. military support to US Government policy in Africa.

The creation of the Command was announced by President Bush and US Secretary of Defence, Robert Gates, to Congress on February 6, 2007.

"The US Africa Command comes to recognize the growing importance of Africa. We are here to work with African nations in developing national and regional security institution capabilities that promote security, stability and facilitate development. We have a common goal of helping Africans to be able to provide for their own security," said Crawley.

"The United States Africa Command will help in creating a more stable and secure Africa in support of US foreign policy. Our goal is to see a more a prosperous and vibrant Africa. And we hope 50 years from now, people in Africa will see Africom as an important contribution to their development," added Crawley.

If declared a unified command in October 2008, Africom will join five other regional commands of the US namely; US Central Command in Tampa, Florida; US Pacific Command in Honolulu, Hawaii; US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany; US Northern Command in Colorado Springs, Colorado; and the US Southern Command based in Miami, Florida.

The US Africa Command began initial operations in October 1, 2007, but is yet to establish headquarters on the continent.

The Defence Department of America has asked the US Congress for $392 million to facilitate the Africa Command transition team for the Fiscal Year 2009, which begins October 1, 2008.

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