Sunday, December 16, 2007

Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests And The Role Of The U.S. Military In Africa (CRS)

The CRS has just published a new background brief on AFRICOM for the members of Congress. The report contains a good outline of the US's strategic interests in Africa, DOD's current proposal for the new command and a list of oversight issues for Congress as well as a good bit of background info including an annex on the 42 (!) instances of US armed forces intervention in Africa since 1950.

Here are some other highlights (Boldface and italics are mine):

  • "In recent years, analysts and U.S. policymakers have noted Africa’s growing strategic importance to U.S. interests. Among those interests are Africa’s role in the Global War on Terror and potential threats posed by uncontrolled spaces; the growing importance of Africa’s natural resources, particularly energy resources; and ongoing concern for Africa’s many humanitarian crises, armed conflicts, and more general challenges, such as the devastating effect of HIV/AIDS."
  • "DOD has signaled its intention to eventually locate AFRICOM on the continent, and U.S officials are consulting with strategic partners in the region to identify a suitable location for the command’s headquarters. The new command will operate from Stuttgart, Germany until facilities in Africa are secured. DOD has stressed that there are no plans to have a significant troop presence on the continent."
  • "The 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa highlighted the threat of terrorism to U.S. interests on the continent. Political instability and civil wars have created vast ungoverned spaces, areas in which some experts allege that terrorist groups may train and operate. Instability also heightens human suffering and retards economic development, which may in turn threaten U.S. economic interests. Africa recently surpassed the Middle East as the United States’ largest supplier of crude oil, further emphasizing the continent’s strategic importance." (Yoikes!)

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