News / Africa

Battle Begins for Hosting US Africa Command

US instructors have been training Liberia's post-civil war army as part of Africom's projects
US instructors have been training Liberia's post-civil war army as part of Africom's projects

Related Articles

Nico Colombant

As U.S. defense officials begin evaluating future sites for their Africa command, known as AFRICOM, a battle to host the command is brewing among U.S. states and territories.  

At a recent hearing of the House Armed Services Committee, Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson sang Atlanta’s praise with hopes the city will become AFRICOM’s future host.

"We have got the world’s busiest airport," said Johnson. "We have quite a few military aviation facilities. We have got one of the country’s largest diaspora communities from Africa, superb infrastructure to support the military’s communication needs, [and] high quality of life for personnel who would be assigned to that area.

He said any location in his state of Georgia would be happy to serve as AFRICOM's base.

The U.S. Africa Command has operated out of Stuttgart, Germany, since it was activated in 2008. AFRICOM's field of responsibility was previously split between European, Central and Pacific Commands.

Initially, there were lots of discussions about whether AFRICOM would be based in Africa. Many African leaders and human rights activists spoke out against such a plan, however, saying excessive U.S. military operations on the continent would lead to more conflict rather than less.  Only two African countries volunteered to host the command, Liberia and Morocco.

Africom is responsible for military relations in 53 African countries, including Liberia
Africom is responsible for military relations in 53 African countries, including Liberia

AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham, who assumed his duties in March, explained why so far AFRICOM has been based at Kelley Barracks in Stuttgart.

"The bulk of the resources were already in Stuttgart, the facilities were already in Stuttgart," said Ham. "So for purposes of getting the command off to an expeditious start that seemed to make a lot of sense."

Ham said Defense Secretary Robert Gates had asked him to start the process of determining what would be the best site for AFRICOM going ahead.

The commander listed some of the criteria he would be looking at. "Security, suitability, quality of life, transportation nodes, accessibility to the area of responsibility, a whole host of requirements that we would like to station our headquarters. And so that process has begun, and we will look at first of all to make sure that we have the methodology right”"

Ham did not give any more clues as to where AFRICOM might be based in the future, saying the process to determine this was only just beginning.

Another Congressman seeking AFRICOM for his state was Joe Wilson from the southeastern state of South Carolina and more specifically the city of Charleston.

He stressed the importance of cultural links. "I had the privilege of visiting Monrovia, Liberia and the great cultural association of West Africa to Charleston is very clear," said Wilson. "It is a shared culture. In fact, we have the same accents and I felt right at home."

Other representatives who bid for AFRICOM's future location included one from Minnesota, which is also a transportation hub, and a congresswoman from the island of Guam, which already is the home of an air force and a naval base. But both of these choices would seem to fall short of the criteria for quick accessibility to the area of responsibility, namely the African continent.

AFRICOM has been busy of late, as it took the lead in the early phases of current foreign military operations in Libya. Ham said its main objective remains helping combat any terrorist groups in Africa.

He said AFRICOM did not take part in recent operations in Ivory Coast because French and U.N. peacekeepers were already on the ground.

AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. military operations and military relations with 53 African countries, which includes north Africa, but not Egypt.

You May Like

Video Analysts: Beijing Parade a 'Bazaar' of Stolen Technology

Show commemorating victory over Japan in World War II involved long, medium and short range missiles, a range of tanks and 200 fighter aircraft More

Bernie Sanders Surge Reflects US Shift on Socialism

Although most analysts say it is unlikely he will get the Democratic nomination, Sanders' campaign opens up questions and issues that are otherwise marginalized More

Video On IS Frontline, Kurdish Fighters Ready for Offensive

Peshmerga soldiers say although they need more heavy artillery, they are poised to take the fight to the Islamic State extremists on their turf More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outragei
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 04, 2015 11:36 AM
The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Drowned Migrant Toddler Photo Triggers European Outrage

The harrowing picture of a drowned three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach appears to have galvanized Europe’s leaders into doing more to address the refugee crisis. France, Germany and Italy issued a joint call Thursday for compulsory quotas of refugees for all EU states. But there were chaotic scenes in Hungary as police tried to force migrants off a train heading for Austria. Henry Ridgwell has more. And a caution, some of the images in this report may be disturbing.
Video

Video Russians Observe 11th Anniversary of Beslan School Attack

This week, Russians have been observing the 11th anniversary of the attack by Islamic militants on a school in Russia's North Caucasus region that killed more than 330 hostages, including 186 children. The three-day siege and massacre that started on September 1, 2004 took place in Beslan, a town in the republic of North Ossetia, and is one of the bloodiest terrorist acts ever in Russia. VOA's Mike Richman reports.
Video

Video Native Americans Debate: Father Serra, Saint or Sinner?

Pope Francis will canonize an 18th century missionary to Spanish California during a papal visit to the United States this month.  But some Native Americans have criticized the elevation to sainthood of the missionary priest, Junipero Serra. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video Calais School Offers Another Face of Europe’s Migrant Crisis

Europe is facing mounting criticism over how it’s handling its biggest migration crisis since World War II. But not all Europeans believe building walls or passing repressive policies are the answer. A school for migrants in the French port city of Calais, is opening doors and building bonds across nationalities. VOA's Lisa Bryant reports.
Video

Video Kurdish Fighters on IS Frontline Ready for Offensive

Finger on the trigger, the Kurdish Peshmerga soldier stared across the dust at a village taken over by Islamic State extremists. The Kurdistan’s Khazir frontline, just 45 minutes from the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. And at this point, the militants were less than two kilometers away. VOA's Sharon Behn reports.
Video

Video China Announces Troop Cuts at WWII Parade

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday announced plans to cut the world’s largest military force by 300,000 troops. The announcement was made during a massive military parade to commemorate victory over Japan in World War II. The event was shunned by most Western leaders and for some is raising fresh concerns about China’s military ambitions. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Russia-Japan Relations Cool as Putin Visits China for WWII Anniversary

Russian President Vladimir Putin is in Beijing for commemorations of the 70th anniversary of China's WWII victory over Japan. Putin is expected to visit Japan later this year, but tensions between Tokyo and Moscow over islands disputed since the war, and sanctions over Ukraine, could pour cold water on the plan. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Yemen ‘on Brink of Disaster’ as Medical Shortages Soar

Aid agencies warn Yemen is on the brink of humanitarian disaster – with up to half a million children facing severe malnutrition, and hospitals running out of basic medicines. There are fears Yemen's civil war could escalate as the coalition led by Saudi Arabia tries to drive back Houthi rebels, who seized control of much of the country earlier this year. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Apps Helping Kenyan Businesses Stay Ahead of Counterfeiters

Counterfeit goods in Kenya cost the government as much as $1 billion each year in lost tax revenues. The fake goods also hurt entrepreneurs who find it hard to carve out a niche in the market and retain customers. But as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi, information technology is being used to try to beat the problem.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.

VOA Blogs