Posted May 23rd, this article is cross-posted from the Africa Human Security Working Group site
While US Senators from Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina vie to host AFRICOM’s new headquarters, the location is still very much up in the air, even regarding which continent. There has been much resistance in Africa for a headquarters on the continent, but quite a few US states would love the boost in jobs and potential manufacturing deals as the young command grows. AFRICOM’s current headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany (described by the Economist as “perhaps the least African place in the world”) houses its 2000 some employees which includes “no regular troops, no “trigger-pullers”” and requires long flights to most areas of Africa. General Carter Ham, the head of AFRICOM, is due to announce locations by 2012.
In a recent interview in Uganda, when the obligatory question about AFRICOM’s headquarters came up, it seemed moving may not be worth it: “And frankly, I think just the disruption that would occur to the headquarters if we had to pick it up and move it someplace — our view is for us to probably stay where we are.”
He also said about their current headquarters in Germany: “That’s actually worked out pretty well for us. We are generally in the same time zone as most countries in Africa; a reasonably good commercial air access into the continent, so that’s worked out quite well for us.”
Ham also said it was unlikely that AFRICOM would have a permanent base, aside from the operational base in Djibouti. He urged Ugandans to not judge by bases, but by sustained partnerships.
No one knows for sure yet, but for now it looks like AFRICOM just may stay put.
The Africa Human Security Working Group (formerly ResistAFRICOM) is a group that AFJN helps to run within the greater Africa Advocacy Network. AHSWG focuses on alternatives to traditional militarism as well as civilian leadership, development and diplomacy.