On February 11 and 12, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) conducted the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) Africa Advanced Area Studies Program at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany. About 40 civilian and military personnel at AFRICOM, US Air Force in Europe (USAFE), and Special Operations Command Africa (SOCAFICA) attended this program. The course aimed to develop a greater understanding of current security vulnerabilities and threats in Africa, as well as effective ways for African nations and international partners to respond to them.
Ambassador Helen La Lime, the Director of J9 (Outreach) at AFRICOM, welcomed participants with opening remarks, and speakers across the two days addressed issues of governance trends, transnational threats, the evolving role of external actors, and the evolution of US policy in Africa. Special focus was placed on institution building, counterterrorism, and maritime safety and security.
“This seminar is an excellent example of partnership between ACSS and AFRICOM,” said Benjamin Nickels, Academic Chair for Transnational Threats and Counter-terrorism at ACSS and faculty lead for the course. “The Africa Center provides speakers and facilitators with significant knowledge about the continent, and AFRICOM participants bring to the table their considerable professional experience working on security issues, often within more than a single US combatant command.”
The program dedicated as much time to small-group discussion as to the lectures, and in-depth conversations on African security challenges continued on during pauses. A short but intensive course, the Africa Advanced Area Studies Program that ACSS holds at AFRICOM “provides an opportunity for us to share information and ideas, and to better understand the distinct missions and tasks of our respective organizations,” Nickels added.
The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is one of five Department of Defense regional centers for research and academic outreach and supports U.S. policy by bringing civilian and military leaders together for informed debate on current security challenges facing Africa and the international community.
Since 1999, more than 6,000 African and international leaders have participated in ACSS programs.