African Security and the African Command

After the end of the Cold War and a failed mission in Somalia, the US decided to wash its hands of major military operations in Africa. Within the past few years, however, strategic interests in the region have grown, based largely on the threat of international terrorist group activities there. In 2007, the Bush Administration created a new military presence in Africa, AFRICOM (United States Africa Command), professed to be based not on occupying military or fixed bases, but rather on capacity building for and collaboration with African security forces.

Some see AFRICOM as the answer to an African security system crippled by a lack of resources, widespread politicization and institutional weakness. Others claim the program is nothing more than a characteristic attempt by the US to secure its own interests in the region without regard to the actual needs of Africans. A variety of viewpoints on the debate, both from the US and Africa, come together in this collection to examine the objectives and activities of AFRICOM. The result provides the reader with a well-rounded picture of longstanding security challenges in Africa and what might be done to address them.