View photos from the event.
The U.S. Government is relying on regional cooperation and African leadership to solve the most pressing issues facing the continent, a senior military official told participants at the African Defense Attaché Seminar on Feb.9, 2012.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS), the seminar organizer, invited Major General Christopher Leins, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) Deputy Director of Politico-Military Affairs (Africa), to explain how African issues affect U.S. military strategy. He also talked about the role the JCS plays in implementing U.S. security and foreign policies toward Africa.
“From a U.S. perspective, the greatest challenge is to think about how we work together—the European Union, African Union, and the United States—for the next crisis,” Leins said. “We value partnership, and our intention is to help our African partners take the leadership on African issues.”
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies organized the week-long seminar at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. to show African defense attachés and embassy personnel with security portfolios how the U.S. Government creates and implements policy toward Africa.
Leins reminded the audience that African security issues once rested in the domain of other geographic combatant commands before the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) was created in 2008. Now AFRICOM takes the lead on all African issues and coordinates U.S. military operations on the continent. His presentation triggered questions from the audience on how the United States has dealt with the crises in Libya and Cote d’Ivoire. Leins acknowledged that during those crises, the U.S. military learned a powerful lesson on the importance of partnership.
He said those experiences have reinforced the U.S. government’s plan to build long-lasting institutions in which civilian and military personnel can continuously work together rather than meet during sporadic training events. The goal is to bolster African leadership on security and crisis management and, in the long term, foster peace and stability on the continent.
Finally, Leins said his team is looking forward to more engagement with African defense attachés in Washington, D.C. “We are committed to reaching out to you,” he said.