In March 2018, General Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), testified in front of the House Armed Services Committee, as he gave command’s annual Posture Statement to Congress. Part of the importance behind military Generals testifying before Congress is to consider funding for various national defense and military operations. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 was in question during this time, which eventually received the number of votes to be passed. The FY 2019 defense spending budget is $716 billion, an $82 billion increase from 2017 and the highest at any time other than the height of the Iraq war (CITE).
Waldhauser began by noting the 10-year anniversary of U.S. Africa Command, and that it continues to promote security and stability of Africa and its people. He stated general information about AFRICOM, such as the 7,200 U.S. uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors that work on any given day. However, he was quick to declare that “none of Africa’s challenges can be resolved through the use of military force as the primary agent of change.” Therefore, AFRICOM’s strategic theme explained by Gen. Waldhauser is the By, With, and Through framework. The central idea behind this framework is based on the U.S.’s role being a supporting role, “not as principal participants in armed conflict.” Operations are to be carried out by partnered security forces, with partnered security forces based on their operational needs, and through cooperative relationships in which AFRICOM plays a supporting role. This grand strategy is based on the motive to find “African solutions to African problems.”
AFRICOM’s By, With, and Through strategy seems reasonable and promising, yet a careful examination of the U.S.’s past and present military operations undertaken by AFRICOM prove that the strategy is merely a thought on paper, not an effective strategy.