'No plan to scrap US military's Africa Command'

2013-10-24 09:26

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The Pentagon has no plans to scrap the US military's Africa Command despite growing pressures on the defence budget, the general who leads the headquarters said on Wednesday.

As it prepares for another round of automatic budget cuts, the defence department is looking at cutting back spending on regional headquarters and senior positions, fuelling speculation that Africa Command could be dissolved and its responsibilities taken over by other commands.

But General David Rodriguez, head of Africa Command, said "that is not part of the plan right now".

"We will continue to look at that in the future, but right now the United States believes that the focus of having a headquarters focused on Africa to improve the effectiveness of our military support to the state department in the region is going to remain separate," he told reporters in a teleconference.

The four-star general added that "right now there are no plans to consolidate".

Africa Command or Africom, created in 2007, has overseen an expanding role for the American military across the continent, focusing on countering Islamist militants through training and arming partners in the region.

"We've always had an interest in Africa. What is new over the past five years is that we're more engaged, we're more direct, it's more co-ordinated, it's more strategic than it's been in the past," Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield told the same teleconference.

Political controversy

The command is based out of Stuttgart, Germany, after US officials ran into political controversy trying to find a location for its headquarters in Africa.

The command has operated with an annual budget of about $296m in recent years, though that does not cover the cost of a major US base on the continent, Camp Lemonnier at Djibouti, which has been funded under war-related "overseas contingency operations."

Over the past decade, the US military has built up a logistical network across East Africa and beyond, securing access to key airfields and ports.

The Pentagon has tended to prefer a light footprint in Africa, gathering intelligence while relying on allies to take direct action against al-Qaeda-linked groups in Somalia, Mali and elsewhere.

But earlier this month, the US military staged stealthy raids with commandos in Libya and Somalia. The raid in Tripoli captured a long-sought al-Qaeda figure who had been on a wanted list for years, Abu Anas al-Libi, while US special operations forces in the Somali assault ran into heavy fire and did not succeed in seizing a targeted Shabaab militant.

Read more on:    al-shabaab  |  al-qaeda  |  us  |  africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.