World
Pentagon to keep Africa Command headquarters in EuropePublish Date: Feb 02, 2013
Pentagon to keep Africa Command headquarters in Europe
  • mail
  • img
General Carter F. Ham, commander of the U.S. militarys Africa Command, speaks during a news conference at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers June 1, 2011. PHOTO/Reuters
newvision

WASHINGTON - Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has decided against moving the U.S. military's headquarters overseeing Africa from Germany to the United States, concluding the benefits of staying in Europe - closer to African hot spots - are worth the extra cost, officials say.

The Pentagon notified Congress of its decision this week. Some lawmakers had been pushing for Africa Command to move stateside, with South Carolina and Georgia promoted as possible locations.

"The decision was based on the operational needs of the commander," a U.S. defense official told Reuters, referring to General Carter Ham, the outgoing head of Africa Command.

Africa has become much more important for the U.S. military in the last decade. American forces played a prominent role in NATO operations during the uprising in Libya, and is assisting the French mission in Mali.

The decision about the location of AFRICOM, as it is known in the military, was shared with Congress the same week that news emerged of a deal with Niger that could pave the way for a U.S. drone base there.

AFRICOM is the only U.S. regional combatant command that is neither in the United States nor in its area of responsibility.

Central Command, which oversees the Middle East and Afghanistan, is headquartered in Florida. Pacific Command, which monitors Asia, is in Hawaii.

Benefits of overlap

The scope of the Pentagon study informing Panetta's decision focused exclusively on moving AFRICOM to the United States.

The Pentagon discarded the idea of locating it in Africa before AFRICOM was established five years ago, partly because of sensitivities among potential host nations.

Logistics and overlapping of resources with the military's European Command also made it logical to locate both in Stuttgart, Germany.

That overlap persists with U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine assets dedicated to AFRICOM located in places like Vicenza, Italy, and Ramstein, Germany.

Ham had recommended against moving the headquarters back to the United States. There are about 1,500 personnel at the command's base in Stuttgart, Germany, according to AFRICOM's website.

"The Secretary, informed by the judgment of the AFRICOM commander and a study of locations, decided the current location serves the operational needs of AFRICOM better than a (continental U.S.) location," the official said.

Among the benefits of staying put in Europe is the ability to better respond in a crisis, with shorter travel times for commanders to hot spots, one official said.

There are already some 2,000 military personnel assigned to Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, according to AFRICOM's website.

AFRICOM gained its own rapid-reaction force last year, no longer relying on one hosted by the European command. For example, such a force could be mobilized if U.S. personnel in Mali needed to be evacuated.

Reuters

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Man chops off four patients
A man is arrested for using a blunt razor to chop off the testicles of four patients at a Chinese nursing home....
More than 2.2 billion people poor - UN report
Nearly 1.5 billion people in 91 developing states live in poverty while another 800 million are teetering on the edge...
US lifts Israel flight ban as Kerry cites truce
US airlines lifted a flight ban to Israel Thursday as Washington''s top diplomat cited progress in ending 17 days of bloodshed in Gaza which has killed 718 Palestinians....
Children suffering in Australian asylum-seeker camp
Australia''s human rights commissioner on Thursday said conditions at an asylum-seeker camp on Christmas Island have "significantly deteriorated" with children plagued by despair and suffering symptoms consistent with post-traumatic stress disorder....
Executed man
A death row inmate being executed in Arizona took nearly two hours to die, prison officials said Wednesday....
U.N. chief names Danish diplomat new envoy to South Sudan
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday named Danish diplomat Ellen Margrethe Loj as his new special envoy to South Sudan and head of the U.N. peacekeeping mission...
Should government review powers of kings?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter