Africom Dealing With Strategic Competitors, Terrorism Threats > U.S. Division of Protection > Protection Division News

Whereas strategic competitors with China and Russia stays the principle problem for U.S. Africa Command, the African continent is “the central focus of terrorism on the planet,” Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend informed the Protection Writers Group right now. 

Townsend is stepping down as commander of U.S. Africa Command subsequent month. He informed the protection reporters that the emergence of China on the continent is the first-and-foremost problem for the command. 

“China is appearing in a really whole-of-government approach, main with growth and financial measures on the continent,” he stated. “They’re continuing … to extend their entry and affect on the continent, and so they have a need … to determine extra army bases on the continent.” 

China has one base in Djibouti — its first abroad base — and seeks one other on Africa’s Atlantic coast. Townsend stated that will be a foul growth for U.S. pursuits on the continent. 

Russia is a special problem, characterised by the band of mercenaries — the Wagner Group — representing the nation in Africa. Russia is appearing in “a self-interested, exploitative and extractive approach,” the overall stated.  

Russia will not be involved in sincerely serving to African nations, however in serving to themselves to the pure assets of the continent, he stated. 

Essentially the most instant risk is that posed by violent extremist organizations. “A number of the most deadly terrorists on the planet are actually in Africa,” Townsend stated. “They have been as soon as in Iraq, and Syria and Afghanistan.”  

Al-Qaida and the Islamic State are current on the continent, and teams like al-Shabab in Somalia, for instance, are financing terror teams in Africa and different areas of the globe, Townsend stated. And all of that is exacerbated by local weather change.  

“The atmosphere is certainly affecting lives in Africa — drought, famine, desertification — all of this stuff … will proceed to be challenges,” he stated. 

Africa Command’s most profitable engagement technique is its sponsorship of workouts on the continent. African Lion and Flintlock are the most important, however there are numerous extra smaller workouts that draw representatives from across the continent, Townsend stated. African troops see the worth of those workouts as a solution to study new abilities and have interaction with service members from the US and companion nations.  

“Each time we’ve an enormous train, often somebody creates a patch for the train,” he stated. “It is commonplace to see [African soldiers] carrying the patches months later.”  

The workouts are additionally vital to the US for constructing a spirit of cooperation with allies fostered by rigorous coaching. The final administration lower the command’s train price range. Townsend was capable of get a lot of the cash again. “Our train program remains to be fairly sturdy — it is satisfactory,” he stated. “I feel, as as long as we do not see future reductions to these assets, that I am glad with the quantity of train engagement we are able to do in Africa.” 

The command’s goal is an economy-of-force mission — which means the considered employment and distribution of drive. Africa Command personnel are used to doing so much with little assets. One program they rely on is the Nationwide Guard’s State Partnership Program. This program pairs a nation with state Nationwide Guard organizations. For instance, the New York Nationwide Guard is paired with South Africa, and the Massachusetts Nationwide Guard is paired with Kenya.  

There are 15 African nations paired with U.S. states below this system, Townsend stated, and this permits U.S. Nationwide Guardsmen to have interaction with the militaries of their African companions year-round.  

“What I really like about that program is it’s at a low stage; it is at a really user-friendly stage,” he stated. “It isn’t large workouts however fixed low-level touches.” 

A robust instance of this system’s success is Ukraine’s partnership with the California Nationwide Guard, which allowed the nation to coach and develop knowledgeable noncommissioned officer corps that has been very profitable towards the Russian invasion, the overall stated. That very same effort helps African nations professionalize their militaries.  

“Now we have a ready checklist of African companions who wish to get on the state partnership checklist, and we in all probability can take up about one a yr,” he stated. “And I am you are eagerly wanting ahead to our subsequent state partnership, as a result of I feel they’re very worthwhile.”