In 2008 African Command began conducting formal operations and from that time to the present much work has been done.
However, could we accomplish more lasting results that would benefit Africans by adjusting the method in which we approach the problem?
10 September 2011
Word count 1885
United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), while unique in nature and mission design, is best suited today to meet the opportunities and challenges it currently is faces with in Africa than any other time in its short four year history. AFRICOM is designed to promote United States national security objectives by working with African Nations and regional organizations in an effort to strengthen ...view middle of the document...
The key enablers of a nation to avoid becoming terrorist safe havens cannot be established by simply conducting one or two week military to military exercises per year. It takes commitment, resources, cooperation, and most of all it takes time. Having AFRICOM select one fledging democratic nation within its area of responsibility (AOR) from which it can concentrate its efforts and resources for a period of one year provides the critical time needed to ensure success.
At a realistic level, AFRICOM must leverage this new approach of ‘One Nation, One Year” in conjunction with the efforts of its partners from the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). There has to be a unity of effort combined with the unity of force to achieve success for Africans by Africans. While humanitarian assistance is one of the core missions of AFRICOM, and one that can certainly led to the resolution of various other important critical issues within African nations; but AFRICOM cannot do it alone. AFRICOM needs agencies such as USAID and large NGO’s who have much more experience in implementing development and humanitarian programs. This is not to imply that AFRICOM could not conduct a humanitarian effort by itself if it had to. AFRICOM brings with it multiple key ingredients to draw from to be successful in Africa. It also has large amounts of resources in terms of capital, various levels of expert knowledge and diverse ability through the multiple branches of services under its command. However, it is just as critical to achieving success that the actions AFRICOM engages in within an African nation must be done with Africans, not just for Africans. While it is imperative that AFRICOM continue to assist fragile democracies in support of U.S. national strategy within Africa, it must now take an approach that allows enough time, training, and full use of its resources to be applied in a manner that equates to building infrastructure, developing the economy, overcoming poverty, and creating an environment of opportunity. This can only be achieved through cooperation among other agencies working in conjunction with the efforts of AFRICOM under a revised approach which concentrates its efforts on one nation for a period of a year.
AFRICOM has vast resources from which it can leverage to assist and fund in accomplishing large scale infrastructure development that USAID and NGO’s see as critical to nations achieving sustainable economic opportunity and human development. However, AFRICOM needs NGOs and USAID to assist in the implementation and application of non-military type actions, such as digging wells for clean water, establishing electrical power and paving roads. Many of these large scale operations take vast amounts of time and skilled individuals to complete. By having AFRICOM shift from its current approach of assisting multiple nations throughout the year to one which would focus on one nation for...