Taking Africa: The Rise of Africom, Arab Spring and Ebola

In mid-2006, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld formed a planning team to advise on requirements for establishing a new Unified Command for the African continent. In early December, he made his recommendations to President George W. Bush.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Africa_Command  On 6 February 2007, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced to the Senate Armed Services Committee that President George W. Bush had given authority to create the new African Command and[18] U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Robert Moeller, the director of the AFRICOM transition team, arrived in Stuttgart Germany to begin creating the logistical framework for the command.[19][20] On 28 September the U.S. Senate confirmed General William E. “Kip” Ward as AFRICOM’s first commander and AFRICOM officially became operational as a sub-unified command of EUCOM with a separate headquarters.[21] On 1 October 2008, the command separated from USEUCOM and began operating on its own as a full fledged combatant command.

U.S. Africa Command completed fiscal year 2010 with approximately 2,000 assigned personnel, which includes military, civilian, contractor, and host nation employees.

U.S. Africa Command has limited assigned forces and relies on the Department of Defense for resources necessary to support its missions.

Special Operations Command Africa was activated on October 1, 2008 and became fully operationally capable on October 1, 2009. SOCAFRICA is a Subordinate-Unified Command of United States Special Operations Command, operationally controlled by U.S. Africa Command, collocated with USAFRICOM at Kelley Barracks, Mohringen, Germany. Also on 1 October 2008, SOCAFRICA assumed responsibility for the Special Operations Command and Control Element – Horn of Africa, and on 15 May 2009, SOCAFRICA assumed responsibility for Joint Special Operations Task Force Trans – Sahara (JSOTF-TS) – the SOF component of Operation Enduring Freedom – Trans–Sahara.

SOCAFRICA’s objectives are to build operational capacity, strengthen regional security and capacity initiatives, implement effective communication strategies in support of strategic objectives, and eradicate violent extremist organizations and their supporting networks. SOCAFRICA forces work closely with both U.S. Embassy country teams and African partners, maintaining a small but sustained presence throughout Africa, predominantly in the OEF-TS and CJTF-HOA regions. SOCAFRICA’s persistent SOF presence provides an invaluable resource that furthers USG efforts.[51]

Despite a strong contract presence in Africa, the US government and government employees will be the ones there making the decisions. To the degree which they will be supported by contractors, the government will look at is who can do the job best and what’s in the best interests of the US government.

 

The Arab Spring

The Arab Spring was sparked by the first protests that occurred in Tunisia on 18 December 2010 in Sidi Bouzid, following Mohamed Bouazizi’s self-immolation in protest of police corruption and ill treatment.[72][73] With the success of the protests in Tunisia, a wave of unrest sparked by the Tunisian “Burning Man” struck Algeria, Libya and Egypt. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_Spring

Since September 2012, governments have been overthrown in three African countries. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia on 14 January 2011 following the Tunisian Revolution protests. In Egypt, President Hosni Mubarak resigned on 11 February 2011 after 18 days of massive protests, ending his 30-year presidency. The Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown on 23 August 2011, after the National Transitional Council (NTC) took control of Bab al-Azizia. He was killed on 20 October 2011, in his hometown of Sirte after the NTC took control of the city. Some leaders announced their intentions to step down at the end of their current terms. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir announced that he would not seek re-election in 2015.

 

Ejecting US military into Ebola Crisis

President Barack Obama on Sunday signaled for the first time that he is likely to dispatch U.S. military resources to help fight the serious outbreak of Ebola in several countries in West Africa. ww.cnn.com/2014/09/07/politics/ebola-national-security-obama/index.html

“We have to make this a national security priority.” the President said to Chuck Todd on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We’re going to have to get U.S. military assets just to set up, for example, isolation units and equipment there, to provide security for public health workers surging from around the world.

Obama cautioned that inaction could have dire consequences.

“If we don’t make that effort now, and this spreads not just through Africa but other parts of the world, there’s the prospect then that the virus mutates. It becomes more easily transmittable. And then it could be a serious danger to the United States,” Obama said.

“When I go before Congress, and I say, ‘Let’s give some public health aid to countries like Liberia, so that they can set up hospitals and nurses and vaccinations, et cetera,’ you know, sometimes, you know, the American public says, ‘Why are we wasting money on them?’ ” Obama said, explaining, “When we make those short-term investments now, it really pays a lot of dividends in the future.”

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