AFRICOM: Key Facts and Concerns (August 2008)
AFRICOM expands of the role of the U.S. military on the African Continent, potentially shifting humanitarian resources from civilians to military personnel. We reject this militarization of foreign engagement. We also repudiate the role of the U.S. military and private military contractors in training and equipping African soldiers. Instead, our vision is a comprehensive U.S. foreign policy grounded in true partnership with the African Union, African governments, and civil society on peace, justice, security, and development.
-While we recognize the inefficiency of the EUCOM-PACOM-CENTCOM structure and the need to coordinate DOD efforts, we condemn the further extension of the U.S. military footprint on African soil and the inclusion of soft power in AFRICOM’s mandate.
-The people of the African Continent have expressed the need for better education systems, health care, jobs, roads, clean water, and good governance – diplomatic and development tasks, not military missions. The majority of African civil society are adamant against the increased presence of U.S. soldiers, military programs, and private contractors.
-Today, AFRICOM’s primary mission is to “legitimize” African militaries by engaging in “train and equip” activities which, to date, have been largely inefficient and detrimental.
-Although AFRICOM claims Ambassadors will retain Chief of Mission authority in their respective countries, the influence of General William Ward – a four-star, persuasive general – is likely to undermine the sovereign decisions of Ambassadors. Furthermore, with Ambassador Mary Yates serving as second-in-command, General Ward is seen as holding jurisdiction over the State Department in Africa.