The new US Africa Command is basically one gigantic Provincial Reconstruction Team. AFRICOM is a joint military-civilian command designed for nation-building and peacekeeping missions. It will work closely with members of the State Department, US AID, other government agencies and the private sector.

Here are two testimonies to Congress. The first by Dr. J. Peter Pham, and the second by Theresa Whelan.(from the Tank)

Whelan:

AFRICOM is an innovative command in several ways. First, unlike a traditional Unified Command, it will focus on building African regional security and crisis response capacity. AFRICOM will promote greater security ties between the United States and Africa

AFRICOM will not have many soldiers assigned to it. It will function more like a PRT than a traditional military combat command. Much of the workload will be shifted onto the Africans and hired contractors.

AFRICOM will focus on governmental reforms and nation-building tasks. It will aim to improve government accountability, democracy, the training and equipping African militaries and police forces, and reducing corruption. AFRICOM, like PRTs, will work with government agencies, NGOs, and the private sector to assist economic development.

Another mission will improve African logistics. This includes airlift capacity, roads, bridges, airports, etc. This will greatly improve disaster relief and humanitarian efforts as well as improve the economy.

The African nations have created international organizations to handle continental security and peacekeeping. ECOWAS and the African Union are most notable. The USAFRICOM will assist these African peacekeeping missions and help increase their effectiveness.

This comes at a good time. Much of Africa is improving and stabalizing. Nigeria has taken the initiative in leading peacekeeping and economic development in West Africa through ECOWAS. The US military can assist and advise Nigeria in shouldering these responsibilities.

The US general strategy appears to be one of nation-building and war prevention, rather than war fighting. The decision to design AFRICOM as a continental PRT may not be entirely wise if a much larger crisis emerges, but it is good enough for the moment.

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