Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa Page: 7 of 40
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Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa
" How will the Obama Administration ensure that U.S. military efforts in Africa do
not overshadow or contradict U.S. diplomatic and development objectives?
Should conflict prevention activities be an essential part of DOD's mandate, and
are they sustainable?
" What are the authorities granted to U.S. Chiefs of Mission regarding combatant
command activities in the countries to which they are posted, and are these
" How prominent will counter-terrorism operations and programs be, particularly
relative to the peacekeeping training and support components in AFRICOM's
mandate? Would some DOD-implemented counter-terrorism programs be more
appropriately implemented by other U.S. agencies?
" Are the legal authorities guiding DOD's implementation of security cooperation
reform programs sufficient? Do any of these authorities hinder the U.S. military's
ability to conduct these programs?
" What efforts does DOD take to ensure that the training and equipment provided
to African security forces are not used to suppress internal dissent or to threaten
This report provides information on AFRICOM's mission, structure, interagency coordination,
and its basing and manpower requirements. Because the command is still under development,
many of the details regarding these issues are still being determined. The report also gives a broad
overview of U.S. strategic interests in Africa and the role of U.S. military efforts on the continent
as they pertain to the creation of a new Africa Command.
The DOD Proposal for a New Africa Command
Changes to the Unified Command Plan
The mission of geographic commands is defined by a general geographic area of responsibility
(AOR), while the mission of functional commands is the worldwide performance of transregional
responsibilities. There are currently six geographic combatant commands: Africa (AFRICOM),
European (EUCOM), Pacific (PACOM), North (NORTHCOM), Southern (SOUTHCOM), and
Central (CENTCOM) Commands. There are four functional COCOMs, including Transportation
(TRANSCOM), Special Operations (SOCOM), Joint Forces (JFCOM) and Strategic
(STRATCOM) Commands. As mentioned above, DOD responsibilities for Africa were divided
among three geographic commands prior to October 2008. EUCOM, based in Germany, had 42
African countries in its AOR;6 CENTCOM, based in Florida, covered eight countries in East
Africa, including those that make up the Horn of Africa; and PACOM, based in Hawaii, was
responsible for the islands of Comoros, Madagascar, and Mauritius.'
The creation of a new combatant command requires changes by the President to a classified
executive document, the Unified Command Plan (UCP), which establishes responsibilities and
6 Western Sahara is considered an "Area of Interest."
7 For more information see http://www.defenselink.mil/specials/unifiedcommand.
Congressional Research Service
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Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa, report, January 5, 2009; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc817873/m1/7/: accessed July 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.