A New U.S. Command for Africa in Global Forecast: the Top Security Challenges of 2008
November 14, 2007
The establishment of a new U.S. combatant command for Africa— U.S. Africa Command, or AFRICOM—announced by President Bush in February 2007 and launched on October 1, 2007, has generated considerable debate both in the United States and abroad. At the center of the controversy is the planned scope of the military command and the potential benefits and pitfalls of an expanded and more permanent U.S. military presence in Africa.
Those supportive of AFRICOM’s establishment view it as a welcome opportunity for deeper engagement on security issues that matter to both Africans and Americans. They also see it as a testing ground for a more integrated military-civilian approach to address some of the long-term, underlying causes of insecurity on the continent. Security sector reform, military professionalization, training for African peacekeepers, who are in ever-greater demand—all of these are almost universally recognized as critical components of Africa’s future democratic development that warrant greater attention and support from the international community.
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