Alternatives and Recommendations for AFRICOM
Instead of establishing a military command, the US government should promote a just security doctrine. AFRICOM is not what the people of Africa need and it is not what will achieve long-term stability on the continent. What is needed is a boost in education, job opportunities, health care, debt relief, fair trade policies, and many other things that would ensure development, peace and prosperity.
With enough pressure from the American people, Congress can decline to fund AFRICOM in the coming defense appropriations cycle. When President Bush unveiled his FY2009 Defense Budget, within it, he requested $389 million for the AFRICOM headquarter operations in Stuttgart, millions more for operations on the continent, and a continuation of the funding for the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa located in Djibouti.
It is our hope that Congress will take this stand against AFRICOM. However, if AFRICOM must be established, we insist that:
- The role of Ambassadors as point-persons in US-Africa policy is maintained and that the command structure is delineated to ensure that diplomatic efforts do not fall under the jurisdiction of the military.
- Congress has sufficient oversight whether through regular reports or a special committee.
- Restrictions are placed on funding to ensure that private military sub-contractors are never used to carry out the mandate of AFRICOM.
- Restrictions are placed on funding to ensure that the military is under the same guidance as the State Department and that human rights violations never occur.
- When training and equipping foreign armies, local communities are made fully aware of US presence and its intended goals.
- The military acts in the most culturally respectful way possible when engaging in activities on the continent.
- Every decision is made with the interests of Africans in mind.
- Long overdue attention is given to the development and diplomacy facets of foreign relations, including increased funding and a reform of the Foreign Assistance Act.