Defense

June 12, 2012

Africom will maintain ‘light footprint’ in Africa

Tags:
by Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

Army Pfc. Daniel Baetson, deployed to Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, serves as a mentor with Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa to help African partners build niche capabilities such as logistics, legal affairs and medicine, Aug. 6, 2009.

The United States has no plans to seek permanent bases in Africa, and, in the spirit of the new defense strategic guidance, will continue to maintain a “light footprint” on the continent, the top U.S. Africa Command officer said.

“In Africa, I would say a light footprint is consistent with what we need and consistent with the defense guidance,” Army Gen. Carter F. Ham told the House Armed Services Committee in February.

With no troops directly assigned to it, Africom relies heavily on its service components: U.S. Army Africa based in Vicenza, Italy; U.S. Air Forces Africa, at Ramstein Air Base, Germany; U.S. Marine Forces Africa and Special Operations Command Africa, both based in Stuttgart, Germany.

“It is that proximity to the theater that enables the agility we require,” Ham told Congress.

Africom has had its headquarters here since it initially stood up in 2007 as a subcommand of U.S. European Command before reaching full operational capability in 2008. Then-Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and the first Africom commander, Army Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, agreed to defer any decision on its permanent location until 2012.

A congressionally directed review of alternate basing plans is under way, and is expected to be delivered sometime this year. None of the plans being developed involves relocating the headquarters to the African continent, Ham said.

While not expressing his own preferences, Ham said he believes Africom has “been very well served” by its Stuttgart headquarters. In addition to good facilities and proximity to an international airport with direct links to Africa, he noted, Stuttgart offers the operational advantage of being in the same time zone as many of Africom’s African partners. “We are on the same daily rhythm,” the general said.

In addition, he said, collocating Africom with U.S. European Command makes sense, promoting their tradition of working together as they share forces, resources and capabilities.

Ham also underscored the importance of Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, the only permanent U.S. base in Africa. With about 2,000 U.S. personnel deployed there as part of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, many from the Army National Guard, it provides a stable platform for U.S. military operations in a critical part of the world, he said.

“It’s a great strategic location,” he told American Forces Press Service. “It facilitates not only our operations for U.S. Africa Command, but also U.S. Central Command and U.S. Transportation Command. It is a very key hub and important node for us, a good location that allows us to extend our reach in East Africa and partner with the countries of East Africa.”

Ham said he recognizes concerns among some African countries about an increased U.S. presence on the continent, but emphasized that cost alone would preclude the United States from establishing more permanent bases there.

Meanwhile, a new initiative that Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced last month could increase Africom’s engagement opportunities with no uptick in permanent staffing.

The Army plans to implement a regionally aligned force concept next year to better support combatant commanders, Odierno said. Africom is expected to be the first to receive these rotational forces as part of the pilot program to begin next year, followed by U.S. Southern Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young

F-35 on time to deliver global security, Air Force official said

Air Force photograph by SrA. Timothy Young An F-35A Lightning II, assigned to 59th Test and Evaluation Squadron, takes flight July 18, 2014, at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. Work leading up the completion of the multinational F-3...
 
 
Navy photograph

Navy’s Triton unmanned aircraft completes first cross-country flight

Navy photograph The Navy’s unmanned MQ-4C Triton prepares to land at Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Md., Sept. 18 after completing an approximately 11-hour flight from Northrop Grumman’s California facility.   The M...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano

F-16 collision-avoidance system could save lives

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Christopher Ruano The Air Force Research Laboratory Automatic Ground Collision Avoidance System will automatically take over an aircraft’s flight controls if a crash is imminent. The technolo...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>