January 2011

  • Gabon Establishes 26th Africa Center Community Chapter

    Gabon Community Group 1The event took place Jan. 23 during a reception at the residence of Eric D. Benjaminson, U.S. Ambassador to Gabon and Sao Tome & Principe, with about 80 people attending. Newly appointed Minister of Defense Pacome OdZounga attended and delivered remarks.

    According to Amelia Carvalho, Africa Center Community Affairs Specialist, following remarks and presentations, Africa Center Director Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.), Ambassador Benjaminson, and H.E. OdZounga participated in a press conference where the media was particularly interested in the role the chapter will play in addressing pertinent security issues such as maritime security. H.E. OdZounga answered questions regarding the chapter’s mission and its role with the Africa Center and the local government.

    The following day the community chapter members held a strategic planning meeting and general assembly at the Ministry of Defense. Twenty community members attended. Joining them were  Lieutenant Colonel John Aalborgm, U.S. Defense Attaché to Gabon; Ms. Carvalho; Colonel Xavier Collignon, Senior French Representative to the Africa Center; and Elisabeth Feleke, Regional Program Manager for West Africa for the Africa Center’s West Africa office in Dakar, Senegal.

    Community members at the general assembly held an election for its executive committee and reviewed their by-laws and constitution. All present were given the opportunity to ask questions and propose edits to the document. Clarifications were made for levels of membership such as honorary members and vetted Africa Center community members.

    Ms. Carvalho said “the level of organization and enthusiasm among the community members may place the Gabonese chapter among the strongest chapters.”

    She added that community members have “everything in place including enormous government support, a diverse board and membership, and great synergy among the members as far as organization and planning.”

    The Africa Center “community” is a global network of professionals who have participated in various Africa Center programs. While other institutions use terms like “alumni,” the Africa Center prefers to call these individuals “community members” to reinforce the long-term and mutually rewarding relationships between the Africa Center and its community throughout the world. The Africa Center works to maintain and enhance the relationships forged during its programs through a variety of efforts.

    In many African countries, community members have organized to form their own associations in order to have a mechanism for continuing dialogue and networking events. Chapters can develop formalized programs of their own or simply provide members a venue to meet regularly and share thoughts and ideas with U.S. officials and colleagues in their country or region.

    Go to http://africacenter.org/community/ to learn more about community members and community chapters.

    Click here to view photos from this event.

  • Africa Center Releases Security Brief on South Africa and Terrorism

    sbrief09The Africa Center for Strategic Studies is pleased to announce the latest Africa Security Brief, "Playing Ostrich: Lessons Learned from South Africa's Response to Terrorism" by Hussein Solomon.

    While not often considered a hub in global terrorist networks, South Africa has seen a steady and growing pattern of domestic and al-Qaeda-linked terrorist activity over the past decade. Coinciding with the creeping expansion of terrorist threats in other parts of the continent, this Security Brief examines lessons learned from South Africa's experience and their potential relevance to other African countries and their security sectors."

    Author Hussein Solomon’s main points are: (1) South Africa has come to occupy a central node in global terror networks in recent years. (2) Despite growing evidence of the risks posed, South Africa has been slow to adopt and implement a more robust counterterrorism policy. (3) Creating the political will to address this threat will require independent oversight of national intelligence efforts and an objective assessment of the terrorism risk in order to make counterterrorism a national priority.

    Copies of the security brief may be downloaded at http://africacenter.org/2011/01/sb09/. French and Portuguese translations of this article will be posted on the website in the near future.

    Hussein Solomon is Senior Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of the Free State, South Africa and Visiting Professor at the Global Collaboration Centre at Osaka University, Japan.

  • Africa Center and U.S. Embassy in Cameroon Organize Cross-Border Resources Workshop

    cameroon_topsThe Africa Center and the U.S. Embassy in Cameroon teamed together Jan. 12 to organize a workshop on the management of cross-border resources in Central Africa and on combating maritime piracy.
  • Transnational Threats and Prospects for Regional Collaboration Examined in Morocco

    Rabat_webAfrica Center Academic Dean Monde Muyangwa, PhD, chaired the panel “Prospects for Regional Collaboration to Meet Transnational Threats” at the Northwest Africa Transnational Threats Seminar, which took place Jan. 11-14 in Rabat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

    A collaboration of the Near East South Asia Center Center for Strategic Studies and the Ministry marked the first collaboration of three Department of Defense regional centers: NESA, the Africa Center, and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Thirty participants from the United States and 12 African nations took part in the program. The panel was a highlight of the Executive Level Seminar which gave participants extensive opportunities to discuss a broad range of pressing regional and international security issues that deal with transnational security threats, particularly combating terrorism, counterinsurgency and transnational crime.

    Speakers on the panel included Patrick Worman, regional advisor for the Middle East and North Africa for the Office of the State Department’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism; Dr. Lamia Radi, permanent secretary of the Ministerial Conference of African Atlantic States; and Dr. Yonah Alexander of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.

    The seminar fostered informal and constructive dialogue among national security professionals of differing backgrounds and perspectives and generated ideas and suggestions for cooperative problem solving.

  • Africa Center Hosts Roundtable Discussion with Egyptian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Africa

    Mona Omar - Ambassador BellamySudan and Somalia were the principal topics of discussion at a well-attended roundtable forum held Jan. 13 at the Africa Center with principal guests H.E. Ambassador Mona Omar, Egyptian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Africa and Ahmed Abu Zeid, Minister-Counselor at the Egyptian Embassy in Washington, D.C.

    The gathering supported several of the Africa Center’s goals in advancing U.S. security cooperation in Africa. Ambassador Omar and Mr. Zeid described in detail Egypt’s policies in Africa, pointing to a range of shared values and common interests with the United States.

    Africa Center Director Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.) welcomed Ambassador Omar and Mr. Zeid, and introduced to the participants Kate Almquist, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow at the Africa Center, and Andre LeSage, PhD, Counter-Terrorism Fellow at National Defense University’s Institute of National Security Studies.

    Ms. Almquist presented an overview of Sudan and the Horn of Africa, focusing on the status of the referendum in Southern Sudan. She spoke to the likely outcome of the voting and remaining issues dealing with oil resources and treaties and commitments a new nation of Southern Sudan would have to likely confront.

    She also highlighted other matters in the region such as natural resources, to include the sharing of water from the Nile, and the ongoing crisis in Darfur. Ms. Almquist said the U.S. and international community continue to grapple with how to address the violence in Darfur, and described how the U.S. was dealing with the government of Northern Sudan over Darfur and the looming post-referendum period in the South.

    Dr. LeSage, a former counter-terrorism professor at the Africa Center, turned the group’s attention to Somalia, which he said was experiencing the 20th anniversary of the “collapse” of the Somali state.

    He spoke about U.S. policy towards Somalia in the ensuing years, touching on combating terrorism, regional stability, and resulting refugee issues impacting Kenya and Uganda. Dr. LeSage pointed to added challenges of humanitarian issues due to poor harvests and Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government’s (TFG) demonstrating little progress towards bringing unity and order to the country. He talked about the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and the uncertainties that lie ahead once the mandate for the TFG expires in August.

    Dr. LeSage spoke at length about the expansion of Al-Shabaab through Somalia’s tribal system and solidifying itself in many towns, as well as the organization’s growing cooperation with Al-Qaeda. He remarked about the needed international response to Somalia and Al-Shabaab and the U.S. “dual track strategy.”

    At the conclusion of Ms. Almquist’s and Dr. LeSage’s presentations, Ambassador Omar said how pleased she was to have received the invitation to attend the roundtable discussion and welcomed the opportunity to share views and perspectives and especially to listen to what the group had to share.

    She said she wanted to discuss her nation’s foreign policy, calling Africa Egypt “home.” She cited the example of the 5 million Sudanese living in Egypt, who have had an impact on Egypt’s foreign policy with the expectancy of an influx of more refugees. The Ambassador called Sudan a top priority for Egypt, along with three other priorities: actively working with nine neighboring countries in the region dealing with the issue of water resources from the Nile River basin; security issues in the Sahel and countering radical extremists; and the maintenance of economic ties bilaterally across Africa and with regional organizations.

    Ambassador Bellamy moderated a question-and-answer period for the remainder of the roundtable. Topics included Egypt’s and the African Union’s role on the continent; UN peacekeeping operations in Cote d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo; peacekeeping force compositions in Africa and mandates issued by the Security Council; repercussions of WikiLeaks; and the difficulties achieving reconciliation in Somalia in the face of tribal/clan competition.

    Other roundtable participants included:
    • - Ambassador Joyce Barr, Diplomatic Advisor, Industrial College of the Armed Forces
    • - Kamal Beyoghlow, PhD, Professor of Security Studies, and Middle East, North Africa, and Islamic Studies at the National War College
    • - Colonel Michael Garrison, U.S. Army (ret.), Africa Center Deputy Director
    • - Carolyn Haggis, PhD, Academic Chair, Researcher and Analyst, Africa Center
    • - John Kelly, PhD, Africa Center Associate Dean
    • - Assis Malaquias, PhD, Academic Chair for Defense Economics, Africa Center
    • - Colonel Gene McConville, U.S. Army, Senior Military Advisor, Academic Affairs, Africa Center
    • - Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, U.S. Navy (ret.), Senior Fellow for Defense Policy, Africa Center
    • - Ambassador Dan Mozena, National War College Distinguished Professor
    • - Ambassador Richard Norland, National War College Diplomatic Advisor
    • - Emily Renard, Africa Center Community Affairs Specialist
    • - Colonel Bob Sharp (ret.), Military Advisor, Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies
  • CJTF-HOA-Bound Personnel Visit Africa Center

    cjtf hoa_webFourteen military personnel, soon to report for their year-long tours of duty with Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa, visited the Africa Center for Strategic Studies Jan. 7 to learn more about the center and to discuss how they and the center’s faculty and staff could collaborate while they are stationed in Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Tanzania, and the Seychelles. Leading the CJTF-HOA personnel was Brig. Gen. William L. Glasgow, U.S. Army, Mississippi National Guard, who will serve as the CJTF-HOA Deputy Commander. Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.), Africa Center Director, welcomed the group. John Kelly, PhD, Associate Dean, discussed Africa Center academic and outreach programs. “As vital emissaries of the U.S. Government, these individuals need all of the academic support we can give as they operationalize policy in this complex environment,” said Dr. Kelly. “Given the confluence of factors converging on this fragile region, I am hopeful that we can shed some light on what are the points of significance in an often turbulent and confusing environment.” Also speaking to the visitors and answering their questions were Colonel Xavier Collignon, Senior French Representative; Assis Malaquias, PhD, Academic Chair for Defense Economics; Colonel Gene McConville, U.S. Army, Senior Military Advisor, Academic Affairs; Mary McGurn, Interim Director of Community Affairs; and Joseph Siegle, PhD, Director of Research.
  • Africa Center’s Associate Dean Welcomes 17th Air Force Foreign Policy Advisor

    bohne_webBrent Bohne, Foreign Policy Advisor for 17th Air Force/U.S. Air Forces Africa, came to the Africa Center for Strategic Studies Jan. 7 to further familiarize himself with its operations and to discuss upcoming joint programs. As Foreign Policy Advisor, Mr. Bohne serves as an advisor to Maj. Gen. Margaret H. Woodward, Commander, 17th Air Force and U.S. Air Forces Africa, Ramstein Air Base, Germany. The command is the Air Component for U.S. Africa Command and has responsibility for all Air Force activities in the Africa theater spanning 53 countries, 11 million square miles and more than 900 million people. John Kelly, PhD, Associate Dean at the Africa Center, welcomed Mr. Bohne and discussed with him the center’s academic and outreach programs as well as its commitment to supporting the command. “We stand prepared to assist this vital part of the U.S. support to the African security architecture,” said Dr. Kelly. “The 17th Air Force and the Africa Center are working together with our African partners to make sure that the airspace domain of the continent receives high priority in every critical strategic topic that needs to be addressed by policy leadership.” Joining Dr. Kelly in briefing Mr. Bohne and discussing Africa Center-17th Air Force/U.S. Air Forces Africa programs were center staffers U.S. Army Colonel Gene McConville, Senior Military Advisor, Academic Affairs; and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Ronald Miller, U.S. Army, Director of Operations.
  • Africa Center Launches West Africa TOPS Trip

    cameroonCommunity Outreach Specialist Amelia Carvalho has begun an ambitious coordinating mission to four West African countries as part of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ Topical Outreach Program Series (TOPS).

    The first stop on Ms. Carvalho’s Jan. 10–27 TOPS trip is Cameroon for a community chapter reunion. Mathurin Houngnikpo, Ph.D., the Africa Center’s Chair of Civil-Military Relations, will be on hand to give a presentation on “Transnational Cooperation and Resource Management in Central Africa.”

    Joining Ms. Carvalho and Dr. Houngnikpo will be Colonel Xavier Collignon, the Senior French Representative to the Africa Center, who will speak at the Cameroon War College on maritime piracy in the Gulf of Guinea. Jeffrey McManus will follow Colonel Collignon with a talk at the Cameroon Defense Staff College about U.S. foreign policy toward Africa. Mr. McManus is the Director, Central-North-West Team, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, International Security Affairs, Africa.

    The Africa Center team will then travel to Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Ms. Carvalho has coordinated arrangements for Dr. Houngnikpo to speak to the local community chapter and guests on the “Challenges of Democracy: Lessons from the Ivory Coast” as well as “The Army and the Nation: The Role of the Army in the Nation and the State’s Response to the Army.”

    A short ride across the Congo River will bring the party to Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Africa Center visit will commence with a community chapter planning meeting and reception. According to Ms. Carvalho, Dr. Houngnikpo’s reputation as a scholar has preceded him, with the Congolese community chapter expressing great interest in hearing him speak about combating corruption.

    The final stop of the TOPS tour will be Gabon for the launch of a new Africa Center community chapter on Jan. 23. With 66 Gabonese alumni of Africa Center programs, the country has a solid foundation on which to build a chapter. U.S. Ambassador Eric Benjaminson will host a reception and Elizabeth Feleke, Director of the Africa Center West Africa Regional Office, will speak on the topic of narcotics trafficking.

    The West Africa trip will conclude with a strategic planning meeting at the Gabon Ministry of Defense.

  • Northwest Africa Seminar Opens in Morocco

    Rabat_webThirty participants from the United States and 12 African nations are gathering in Morocco for the first program supported by three of the Department of Defense’s five regional centers. The Africa Center for Strategic Studies, represented by Academic Dean Monde Muyangwa, PhD., and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies are joining the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies in presenting the Northwest Africa Transnational Threats Seminar taking place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in Rabat from Jan. 11-14. The Moroccan government has been deeply involved in planning this unique program, which is looking at countering transnational trafficking in arms, weapons and narcotics in northwestern Africa.
  • Dr. Brad A. Gutierrez Departs Africa Center for New Professional Challenges

    gutierrez_farewell Brad A. Gutierrez, PhD, recently left the Africa Center to assume the position of Director, International Policy and Relations, at the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C. According to Africa Center Academic Dean Monde Muyangwa, PhD, Dr. Gutierrez, who had been at the center for almost 18 months serving as the Academic Chair of Security Studies, “helped to carry forward the Africa Center mission.” “I would especially like to thank Dr. Brad for his work on our Introduction to African Security Issues seminar, our African Defense Attaché program, and for his very strong contributions in support of the Africa Center’s outreach mission, both in Academic Affairs and the Directorate of Communications and Community Affairs,” Dr. Muyangwa said. Explaining that Dr. Gutierrez made significant progress on several programs slated for fiscal year 2011, Dr. Muyangwa added: “We will miss his input and presence on those programs. In addition to his work as faculty lead on the before-mentioned Academic Affairs programs, Dr. Brad also contributed to other programs such as our revamped Senior Leaders Seminar, which we unveiled to much success in Portugal this year, and to the Civil-Military Relations Workshop.” John Kelly, PhD, Associate Dean added: “Dr. Gutierrez will be solely missed as an integral part of the U.S. Department of Defense’s programs in Africa. Brad knows the continent like the back of his hand, from Kilimanjaro to the Niger Delta, and the Red Cross will be a great beneficiary of his knowledge.” Dean Muyangwa pointed out that although Dr. Gutierrez was moving on, he expressed his interest in remaining connected to the Africa Center and of his desire to participate and contribute to our efforts whenever possible in the future.