Africa Center Provides U.S. Government Officials With Enhanced Understanding of African-Security Issues

By Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Updated: 09/14/2011

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The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), located at the campus of the National Defense University at Fort Lesley J. McNair, welcomed 43 U.S. government officials at its “Introduction to African Security Issues” seminar. The four-day program, conducted 6 to 9 September, was designed to  help U.S. government personnel who work on some aspect of U.S.- Africa security policy, but possess limited experience or training in African issues, to learn more about the political, social, military, and economic aspects of security in Africa. Participants also received  an overview of major U.S. policies and programs on the continent.

Attending this year’s seminar were civilian officials and military officers from the Department of Defense’s Joint Staff, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Strategic Command, Department of the Army, Defense Threat Reduction Agency, Defense Security Cooperation Agency, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,  and Institute for Defense Analyses. Representatives from the Departments of State and Agriculture also attended the seminar. In addition to Africa Center faculty, guest speakers included university professors and subject-matter experts from the Africa Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, and the Office of African Affairs, Office of the Secretary of Defense.

Participants discussed the historical, political, economic, and social roots of some of today’s security challenges that are critical to the development and implementation of U.S. policies in Africa. They also examined current and emerging security threats and challenges such as terrorism, the proliferation of small arms and light weapons, and human and narcotics trafficking.

Subject-matter experts helped participants examine U.S. interests on the continent and specific U.S. political, defense, and economic policies aimed at supporting those interests. Also studied was the role of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the growing influence of Africa’s other international players and partners such as China, India, and Brazil. The seminar concluded with a discussion of the responsibility of multilateral institutions and non-governmental organizations in Africa’s security. According to many participants, the gathering was a successful forum for the attendees to discuss strategies addressing African security challenges.

The Africa Center has offered the Introduction to African Security Issues seminar for more than five years.  For more information about this program, go to our website at

Welcome remarks by Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.), Director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies

Dr. Joseph Siegle, Director of Research at the Africa Center for Strategic Studies
Session 1 – Africa: History and Politics

Mr. Richard Downie, Deputy director and fellow with the CSIS Africa program
Session 3 – U.S. Policy Toward Africa I: History and Current Interests and Priorities

Prof. Adrienne LeBas: Session 4 – Conflict in Africa


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