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.


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
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 ...
 




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>