AFRICOM: The American Military and Public Diplomacy in Africa

Principal Investigator:
Philip Seib
AFRICOM: The American Military and Public Diplomacy in Africa: CPD and the USC Center for International Studies hosted an AFRICOM conference on the USC campus in February 2008, featuring panel sessions about the State Department and Department of Defense concepts of public diplomacy in Africa, and African perspectives on the issue.

AFRICOM Media Monitor Report: This CPD Media Monitor tracked the public diplomacy mandate of the United States' newest military command in Africa, AFRICOM and provides a window into the local African as well as the global perspective on the subject.

USC Annenberg Policy Briefing on AFRICOM: In March, a policy briefing was given as a part of the Annenberg Washington Series at the University of Southern California Washington, DC office, where CPD Faculty Fellow Philip Seib, USC Annenberg Associate Dean Carola Weil and conference participants reflected on the lessons of AFRICOM.

Proceedings of AFRICOM Conference: Edited by Phil Seib, this document includes the full proceedings from the Center on Public Diplomacy's conference on AFRICOM (February 7-8, 2008). Speakers at this event include Major General Herbert L. Altshuler, Director, Strategy, Plans and Programs, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM); Ambassador Mark Bellamy, Fellow, Center for Strategic and International Studies; Ambassador Brian E. Carlson, State-DOD Liaison, Office of the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs; Mr. Ryan Henry, Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Policy; Mr. Charles P. Kosak, Principal Director of the Office of African Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense; Ms. Nicole C. Lee, Executive Director, TransAfrica Forum; Mr. Mark Malan, Peacebuilding Program Officer, Refugees International; Ambassador Charles A. Minor, Ambassador of Liberia to the United States; Dr. Abiodun Williams, Associate Dean of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University; Ernest J. Wilson, III, Dean, USC Annenberg School for Communication; Ambassador Mary Carlin Yates, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM).

AFRICOM: The American Military and Public Diplomacy in Africa
Using these events and resources, CPD will use AFRICOM to discuss how elements of national security, traditional diplomacy, and public diplomacy come together in the realm of "smart power." It will ask questions about how AFRICOM should be presented to African publics, to what extent African nations and regional organizations will be involved in shaping AFRICOM's role, and how AFRICOM will work with developmental and humanitarian projects on the continent.

AFRICOM in the News:

U.S. Civil Military Imbalance for Global Engagement: Lessons from the Operational Level in Africa
Refugees International, July 17, 2008
This report describes how the increased militarization of U.S. foreign aid is complicating the achievement of American foreign policy goals in Africa. The report recommends that the US Africa Command, or AFRICOM, remain focused on security sector and peacekeeping capacity building, rather than hunting terror suspects under a thin mantle of humanitarianism when it becomes fully operational in October 2008.

AFRICOM: Rationales, Roles, and Progress on the Eve of Operations
Testimony Before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives
July 15, 2008
Testimony from: Ms. Theresa Whelan, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Defense; Ambassador Mary C. Yates, Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities, U.S. Africa Command; Maj. Gen. Michael A. Snodgrass, Chief of Staff, U.S. Africa Command; Ms. Lauren Ploch, Analyst in African Affairs, Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division, U.S. Congressional Research Service; and Mr. John Pendleton, Director, Force Structure and Defense Planning Issues, U.S. Government Accountability Office

Preliminary Observations on the Progress and Challenges Associated with Establishing the U.S. Africa Command
Testimony Before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives
Government Accountability Ofice (GAO), July 15, 2008
This testimony is based on the preliminary results of work GAO is conducting for the Subcommittee on the establishment of AFRICOM. GAO analyzed relevant documentation and obtained perspectives from the combatant commands, military services, Joint Staff, Department of State, USAID and non-governmental organizations.

Africa: Critics Target U.S. Military Command
African Path, June 3, 2008
Streamlining the image of the command is proving every bit as demanding as putting personnel and equipment in place, however. Controversy has surrounded AFRICOM on both sides of the Atlantic since the start of the initiative, and appears unlikely to fade any time soon.

U.S. Africa Command Trims Its Aspirations
The Washington Post, June 1, 2008
The U.S. Africa Command, designed to boost America's image and prevent terrorist inroads on the continent, has scaled back its ambitions after African governments refused to host it and aid groups protested plans to expand the military's role in economic development in the region.

AFRICOM Boosts Public Relations Efforts - PART 4 of 5
VOA, May 26, 2008
AFRICOM planners say the Command will make Africa more secure, especially through U.S. training of African militaries. But security analysts argue that AFRICOM is failing to convince the African public, media and civil society groups that the Command will ultimately benefit Africans.

AFRICOM's Regional Engagement: Designing the Right Mix of Authorities, Resources, and Personnel
American Diplomacy, May 13, 2008
AFRICOM's ability to execute its unique charter is dependent upon having regional offices with the requisite authorities and personnel to obligate DOD resources in support of other government agencies, IOs, and NGOs.

AFRICOM halts HQ plan; will phase in staff
Stars and Stripes, May 4, 2008
The U.S. Africa Command has shelved plans to build a new headquarters on the African continent in favor of placing staff there as needs arise.

Nigeria, US ties may chart AFRICOM path
ISN Security Watch, May 2, 2008
Amid opposition to AFRICOM, Nigeria is pushing a different vision of military partnership that could make US troops less visible but still effective.

AFRICOM expo attracts businesses eager to get in on the development
Stars and Stripes, May 2, 2008
Coverage of the AFRICOM/Business Transformation Agency exposition where participants were hoping to do business with U.S. Africa Command and other agencies once the new military command gets up to full speed.

US Anti-Terror Report Cites Potential Al-Qaida Link to African Insurgencies
Voice of America, May 1, 2008
The State Department’s annual terrorism report says al-Qaida operatives pose serious regional threats to African countries, but that, as a new funding source, AFRICOM might be part of the solution.

U.S. Reaches Out In Africa Al Qaeda Fight
CBS News, May 1, 2008
American soldiers are training Ugandan soldiers to combat terrorists, preparing them to go to Somalia to fight Islamic insurgents so the U.S. doesn't have to.

TPDF Officers Participate in Military to Military Peace Keeping Operations Lessons Learned Workshop
Embassy of the United States in Tanzania, April 28, 2008
Two military officers of the Tanzania Peoples Defence Forces (TPDF) are in Ghana for a U.S. Department of Defense sponsored workshop.

AFRICOM's History of US-Africa relations: A Lesson in Oversight
The Weave, April 24, 2008
AFRICOM's chronology of U.S.-Africa relations provides an interesting look at the U.S. Government's understanding of history in the region. It may not be the history one would expect.

AFRICOM Is Historic Step in U.S.-Africa Relationship, April 23, 2008
Claudia Anyaso, director of the Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs for Africa at the State Department, makes the point that AFRICOM, is “history in the making” and, like the creation of the Africa Bureau at the U.S. Department of State 50 years ago, it is a vital step in an ever closer relationship between the United States and Africa.

An Overview of AFRICOM: A Unified Combatant Command
Department of State, April 22, 2008
The text of Ms. Anyaso's speech at the WIIS-US Army War College AFRICOM Conference.

U.S. must keep military presence in Africa, State Dept. official tells MSU
The Michigan Citizen, April 14, 2008
Deputy Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer says that AFRICOM is also meant to support what she says is a recent increase in economic stability and the emergence, at times through violent struggle, of a political consensus.

US General Says No Plans for Africa Command HQ in Africa
Voice of America, April 11, 2008
The head of the new U.S. military command for Africa says the United States has no plans to move its headquarters to an African location once it becomes a full-fledged command in October.

U.S military expands role in West Africa
Christian Science Monitor, April 11, 2008
The activities of Africa Partnership Station, both onboard and onshore in West Africa, reveal the shape of future US military relations with Africa.

Americans go a-wooing
The Economist, April 10, 2008
Military meets public relations as the U.S. military travels West Africa to persuade suspicious African governments to welcome America's planned Africa Command (AFRICOM.)

Africa: What is Africom Really About?
Fahamu (via, March 28, 2008
One participant provides notes and commentary of the "Transforming National Security: Africom--An Emerging Command" conference organized by the Center for Technology and National Security Policy at the National Defense University in Virginia, February 19-20, 2008.

U.S. Africa Command: Challenges and Opportunities
Heritage Foundation, March 21, 2008
More than just an administrative change, AFRICOM was the direct result of Africa's increasing strategic importance to the U.S. and represents responsible officials' recog­nition that the U.S. can no longer address the region's unique security concerns by splitting responsibility among three independent combatant commands.


Statement of General William E. Ward, USA Commander, United States Africa Command before the House Armed Services Committee [PDF]
House Armed Services Committee, March 13, 2008

Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa
Congressional Research Service, March 10, 2008
Updated periodically, the CRS provides a comprehensive look at the creation and establishment of AFRICOM.

Nigeria: In Guns They Trust
Vanguard (via, March 7, 2008
One Nigerian writer questions Foreign Minister Ojo Maduekwe's statement that Nigerians are in far greater danger rejecting AFRICOM than accepting it.

U.S.-African Partnerships Evolve Ahead of New Command
PressMediaWire, February 28, 2008
While AFRICOM may gain the most attention as it works to establish itself through key partnerships, other instances of current U.S.-African partnerships often are overlooked.

Geldof and Bush: Diary from the Road
TIME Magazine, February 28, 2008
Bob Geldof chronicles his trip through Africa with President Bush and highlights questions regarding a future U.S. military presence.

AFRICOM: DOA or in Need of Better Marketing? No and Yes., February 25, 2008
Concerns that AFRICOM hasn't been thought out or is unnecessary aren't supported by the actions and statements of those charged with building this entity. However, based on the poor marketing of AFRICOM, these concerns are not surprising.

Militarizing Africa (Again)
Foreign Policy in Focus, February 21, 2008
The Pentagon claims that AFRICOM is all about integrating coordination and “building partner capacity.” But the new structure is really about securing oil resources, countering terrorism, and rolling back Chinese influence.

Bush's Africa Burden
Los Angeles Times, February 21, 2008
A sensible U.S. effort to promote stability on the continent may be undermined by using the military to spearhead it.

Bush Comments Spark Debate on AFRICOM in Liberia
VOA News, February 20, 2008
The Liberian government is expressing its support for hosting the AFRICOM continental headquarters, but security analysts are wondering about such a command's usefulness.

Bush: No new US bases in Africa
AFP, February 20, 2008
US President George W. Bush states that the United States has no plans to build new military bases in Africa, amid concerns on the continent about a new AFRICOM command.

Implementing AFRICOM
American Diplomacy, February 12, 2008
One of the Foreign Service’s most experienced Africa specialists assesses the Pentagon’s new Africa Command and finds there will be issues, but they can be managed, and it will be “up to U.S. ambassadors in the field to guide all these new boots into careful paths.”

US African Foreign Policy Evaluated
Daily Trojan, February 11, 2008
Coverage of the USC conference on the United States' new military operative in Africa stresses the importance of taking a supporting rather than a dominating role in African foreign policy.

US Africa Command Focuses on Security, Diplomacy, Development
VOA News, February 9, 2008
As the U.S. Defense Department reorganizes its efforts in Africa under a unified structure called the Africa Command (AFRICOM), the new command appears to have a broader mandate than just security.

AFRICOM Threatens the Sovereignty, Independence and Stability of the African Continent
National Conference of Black Lawyers, January 15, 2008
The National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL) concludes that the mission of Africa Command (Africom) infringes on the sovereignty of African states due to the particularity of Africa’s history and Africa’s current economic and political relationship to the United States.

Into Africa Without a Map
The Washington Post, January 9, 2008
The Pentagon has established a new command for the African continent, known as AFRICOM, but it doesn't yet have a plan for where it will be based or even a clear statement of its role- it's a headquarters in search of a mission.

U.S. Africa Command: A New Paradigm?
Military Review, January/February 2008
One military analyst explores possibilities by analyzing AFRICOM’s origins, timing, strategy, and composition as well as the early challenges that will confront the nascent command.

Mission, not Location, is AFRICOM's Goal, Deputy Tells Reporters in New York
AFRICOM Public Affairs, December 5, 2007
The U.S. Africa Command is focused on creating a staff of specialists to develop long-term relationships with African militaries, not on establishing presence on the African continent or responding to immediate crises.

Why AFRICOM Has Not Won Over Africans
CSIS Africa Policy Forum, November 26, 2007
The main reasons for Africa’s generally negative reaction to AFRICOM may lie in Washington, not in Africa, one scholar says.

Say No to Africom
The Nation, November 19, 2007
With little scrutiny from Democrats in Congress and nary a whimper of protest from the liberal establishment, the United States will soon establish permanent military bases in sub-Saharan Africa- an alarming step forward in the militarization of the African continent.

America's Africa Misadventure, November 5, 2007
When debating AFRICOM, that the United States must engage with Africa is not in question; what causes controversy is the mode and nature of its engagement.

The Next Frontier
The Atlantic, November 1, 2007
The creation of AFRICOM, the U.S. military's new Africa Command, offers the hope of steady, low-key progress in the war on terror. It also provides a way for the United States to deal with a rising China.

US Africa Command: aid crusader or meddling giant?
Reuters, September 30, 2007
The U.S. military presents its new Africa Command (AFRICOM) as a helping hand offering aid and training to the world's poorest continent, but many Africans fear it could bring double trouble to a conflict-racked region.

Geostrategic Shift
editorial by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), August 2, 2007
Pentagon planners are quietly reconfiguring the U.S. military presence in a region that is rich in oil, susceptible to Islamist terrorists, and is gaining strategic attention worldwide. It's not Iraq, but the African continent. Done right, this development should be welcomed, not feared.

Africa Command: Opportunity for Enhanced Engagement or the Militarization of U.S.-Africa Relations?
House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health, August 2, 2007
Text of the House of Representatives hearing featuring testimony by Michael E. Hess, Stephen D. Mull, Theresa M. Whelan, Mr. Kurt Shillinger, Wafula Okumu, and J. Peter Pham.

The Americans Have Landed
Esquire, July 2007
A few years ago, with little fanfare, the United States opened a base in the horn of Africa to kill or capture Al Qaeda fighters. By 2012, the Pentagon will have two dozen such forts- thanks to the Pentagon's new Africa Command.

AFRICOM Dialogue
A clearinghouse of the U.S. Africa Command's senior leader's updates on issues important at AFRICOM