11 August 2007
The United States is to set up an African command, making it the fourth command which will be tasked with coordinating the U.S. army’s activities in the continent, U.S. ambassador to the African Union (AU) Cindy L. Courville disclosed.
Briefing local journalists after a visit to the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HDA) in Djibouti and to the USS Enterprise, U.S. Navy Carrier currently docked off the cost of Djibouti, Ambassador Courville said that the post-cold war, post-9/11 world offers an opportunity to rethink the situation.
She pointed out that the U.S. army’s engagement was not limited to security but also to development as army personnel are involved in different activities such as building school.
Currently the U.S. has three commands overseas including the European Command based in Stuttgart, Germany which is also responsible for most of Africa, the Central Command, which is responsible for the East, and the Pacific Command, which oversee matters in most of the islands.
Ambassador Courville noted that so far no decision had been made as to where the base of the African command will be. “No decisions have been made as to where it will be located or as to whether or not it will be one location. It is still under discussion.”
She also said that it was difficult to put a time frame as to when the command will be fully established. She disclosed that a sub-combatant command would be established before setting up a full command. This command, according to the ambassador, will remain in Stuttgart, Germany probably for the next year as further decisions are made.
Ambassador Courville indicated that probably in the next three to five years the process of establishing the African command could be wound up.
“It is a big decision. Headquarters are where families will be. They need facilities to accommodate them,” she said, adding, “It takes a lot of money to make the shift. Where do your place the staff, is the infrastructure of the host country adequate etc.”