March 2011

  • Africa Center Hosts American University Students

     

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    Africa Center faculty and staff served as hosts March 24 for a group of American University international relations students and several International and Counter-Terrorism African fellows who are attending National Defense University in Washington, D.C. The students and fellows were invited to meet together so they could learn more about the Africa Center and U.S. Africa Command as well as meet in a joint forum to discuss African security issues. Africa Center public affairs outreach specialist Michelle Cavalcanti, who organized the visit, said it proved beneficial in having the NDU fellows present since it offered the American University students perspectives on different security challenges from all regions of Africa. The students are college graduates and are enrolled in the American University Graduate Gateway Program, which is preparing them for either graduate or law school, or jobs with the government, non-governmental organizations, or private sector. The students work at internships Monday through Wednesday. Michael E. Garrison, Deputy Director of the Africa Center, welcomed the students and fellows. John Kelly, Ph.D., Associate Dean, briefed the group about the Africa Center’s academic and outreach programs. Following a working lunch and prior to a guided tour of the NDU campus, U.S. Air Force Colonel Chase McCown, Deputy Director of AFRICOM’s Washington, D.C., liaison office, presented a briefing about the Command and human rights training for African militaries. According Claudia Anyaso, the students’ instructor, their visit to the Africa Center complemented what they have studied in international relations theories, the National Security Strategy, U.S. foreign policy towards the various geographic regions of the world, and as they begin studying transnational issues, international development, conflicts, terrorism, military force, the intelligence community, global finance and business, and NGO’s. “Our visit to the Africa Center,” Ms. Anyaso said, “falls squarely into the students’ studies of conflicts, terrorism, and military force. Their assigned readings prior to the visit and to help prepare them to meet with the NDU International and CT Fellows were ‘Explaining the Bush Doctrine,’ ‘War in Afghanistan: Military Operations and Issues for Congress,’ and ‘The Salafist Challenge to al-Qaeda’s Jihad.’” Other required readings included “Remarks of Assistant Secretary of African Affairs, Johnnie Carson before the Council on Foreign Relations,” “Africa: U.S. Foreign Assistance Issues,” and “The Global Economic Crisis: Impact on Sub-Saharan Africa and Global Policy Responses.” Additional readings included “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa,” “Sexual Violence in African Conflicts,” and “Piracy off the Horn of Africa.” No stranger to African affairs, Ms. Anyaso, before becoming a faculty member at American University, was a member of the Senior Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. She served for 38 years retiring after having been the Director of the Bureau of African Affairs’ Office of Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Ms. Anyaso was a Department of State member on the Implementation Planning Team for AFRICOM.
  • Next Generation Course Participants Visit Gettysburg and U.S. Army War College

    Gettysburg 027 copyThe 40 participants attending this year’s Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Course traveled to Pennsylvania on March 22 to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park and U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks. Course participants toured the Gettysburg battlefield where on July 1-3, 1863, Union and Confederate forces clashed. An estimated 46,000-51,000 troops were casualties. This was the largest number of casualties in any battle of the American Civil War and is often described as the turning point of the war. The group was escorted throughout the Gettysburg battlefield by two Army War College faculty members, Colonel Len Fullenkamp, U.S. Army (ret.), and David C. Bennett, a retired U.S. Department of State Foreign Service officer with many years of Africa experience. Both Colonel Fullenkamp and Mr. Bennett are experts on the battle and the American Civil War era, sharing with the participants an in-depth narrative of the three-day battle and its consequences on American history. Mr. Bennett, explaining that the purpose of the participants’ visit to Gettysburg was twofold, said: “On the battlefield, leadership matters. At Gettysburg it was important in the decisions the commanders made and with the battle’s outcome. “We had to go through four years of civil war as part of our country’s history and founding. We have worked at resolving this and learned from it. We survived our civil war. Other countries can, too.” Course participant Lieutenant Colonel Jean Paul Habimana of Burundi, Commander of the Ministry of Defense and Veterans Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, said he learned from his visit to Gettysburg and hearing about the American Civil War was “from a sad experience a better future can come about. “Looking at what happened in my country, it was a war between brothers. In war there are winners and losers,” Colonel Habimana continued. “We had to go through this. We realized a cease-fire agreement, and the rebels were integrated into the national army. We had a new army that was restructured and reformed. Now the army represents all of the population.” He added: “The army became more professional, and our experience has become an example in Africa. Within one year, two enemies have become brothers. Within two years, the same army was called to intervene in Somalia. So two enemies are today brothers, fighting side by side in Somalia. Often from a sad experience we can get a better future.” Upon arriving at Carlisle Barracks, the participants were treated to a speaker who portrayed President Abraham Lincoln. Saying that as President he could “replace a general but can’t replace an army,” he went on to discuss his many challenges in finding a commander who could successfully lead the Army of the Potomac after it had suffered a series of military defeats at the hands of the Confederates. He also discussed America’s governing principal of civilian authority over the military which was called into question in some quarters during the Civil War. During the session’s question and answer period, one course participant questioned President Lincoln’s judgment and criteria in picking a succession of unsuccessful commanders. Another participant asked for the President’s advice about those seeking to become leaders in Africa. And others queried him about the issue of slavery in America and why Lincoln opposed it. Following the participants’ meeting with President Lincoln, Moroccan Lieutenant Colonel Younes El Kabbadj, head of the Instructional Division, Royal Armed Forces Armory Inspection, pointed out about America’s founding years: “Morocco was the first country to recognize the U.S. (independence).” Colonel Fullenkamp next presented an historical overview of the American Civil War. He discussed the basis for the country’s civilian authority over the military and the roots of the Civil War, pointing out that “war is a glorious thing for those who have not seen it.” He explained the strategy that the two sides chose to fight the war and delved into the role of American presidents as commander-in-chief of the military outlined in the Constitution. Colonel Fullenkamp said successive U.S. presidents have looked back to Lincoln for lessons in matters of civilian control of the military. Senegalese Major Jean Sylvestre Djibiany Biagui, Division Head, Ministry of the Armed Forces Legislation Control, remarked after Colonel Fullenkamp’s presentation: “There are lots of lessons from the (American) civil war. It was in many respects like a modern war, lasting four years, involving thousands of men. How can military leaders think both strategically and tactically about logistical needs? What made him (General Robert E. Lee) decide to attack on the third day and have no reserve? It’s a paradox.”H Guest speaker at the evening dinner held at the Carlisle Barracks Officers Club was Dr. Neil B. Weissman, Provost and Dean at Dickinson College. Expounding on universities in U.S. society, he focused his remarks particularly on the evolving relationship between academia and the military.

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  • Africa Center Announces New Research Paper

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    The latest research paper from the Africa Center entitled “Africa’s Evolving Infosystems: A Pathway to Security and Stability" documents the growing role that information technologies are playing in reshaping state-society relations in Africa, seen most dramatically in the popular protests in North Africa. [PDF]

     Photo: Stephen Song, http://manypossibilities.net/
  • Africa Center Welcomes Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders

    2011_nextgenThe opening ceremony for the Africa Center for Strategic Studies’ 2011 Next Generation of African Security Sector Leaders Course was held Mar. 1 at the Sheraton Hotel Crystal City in Arlington, Virginia. Forty mid-level African officers, mostly majors and lieutenant colonels (army, police, and gendarmerie) representing 25 African nations are attending the course. Conducted in English, French, and Portuguese, the four-week program continues through Mar. 25; it is providing the participants with practical and effective tools upon which they can draw to contribute to the enhancement of their nations’ security and development. The officers are deepening their knowledge on professionalism, ethics, and leadership in the security sector. Professor Mathurin C. Houngnikpo, Academic Chair of Civil-Military Relations at the Africa Center and faculty lead for the course, said the course material and speakers are focusing on the discussion of governance, leadership, and ethics in the context of issues relating to civil-military relations, security/terrorism studies, and defense economics. In his opening and welcoming remarks, Ambassador William M. Bellamy (ret.), Africa Center Director, said the timing of this year’s course was especially appropriate for a workshop devoted to the issue of military leadership. “Across Africa, and indeed through areas adjacent to Africa,” he said, “we are today witnessing historic events. An upheaval that began with a single individual's protest against injustice, a small act magnified many times over by the power of modern social media, is still unfolding. “Citizens have claimed their rights. Long-serving political leaders have been expelled from office. Existing political orders have been challenged, shaken to their foundations, and uncertainty reigns as to what will replace them. But even now, it should be clear to us that in moments of crises such as those we are now witnessing, certain basic rules regarding appropriate military conduct must apply. And foremost among those rules is that modern, professional militaries cannot function as the agents of a ruler, or a ruling family, or ruling elite. “Militaries do not serve families, or clans, or tribes or factions. They do not serve parties. They do not even serve governments. They serve the nation, in its broadest sense. They serve and protect the public. And for militaries to play this role, they must do within a legal and constitutional framework that has broad legitimacy. “What is clear is that it is incumbent on the military that serves the nation to do everything possible to ensure public safety, to ensure public order, and to ensure a quick restoration of legitimate civilian authority. It is never the business of militaries to supplant civilian leaders--to govern." Vice Admiral Ann Rondeau, U.S. Navy, President of National Defense University, told the audience that the “Ambassador (Bellamy) proposed a number of ideas to all of us to think about. I would ask you do you agree with him? And it's okay if you don't. What is important is to have this dialogue and to understand what we actually understand about ourselves and our nations. “Leaders matter. Leaders' intellectual development is critical. So we will hear from the General (Mgwebi) about important things that are happening in South Africa and his views of the continent and leadership. “Leadership is about influencing people to do something, to drive toward an object with a goal. We see so much in the way of different kinds of reactions by citizens in response to demands to be led well. The time is now ripe for great leaders to lead their countries." Keynote speaker Lieutenant General Derick Mgwebi, Chief Human Resources, South African National Defence Force, said to the officers that Africa was their home and they needed to “cherish our home by transforming our societies for the better. This can only be done through excellent leadership. “For us as military leaders, we must focus firstly on driving the process of professionalizing our own armed forces, re-modelling and re-positioning our armed forces, to be aligned with the principles and demands of democratic societies. We must exert influence beyond the domain of the armed forces, in creating favourable conditions for, as well as directly supporting the reform of our entire societies. “For these responsibilities, we, as military officers, are to be well educated across the entire spectrum of aspects impacting on the expanded concept of security and above all we need to be professional and ethical in all of our conduct. “I have full confidence in the Africa Center for Strategic Studies, through this course, to provide you with a unique opportunity here in Washington, to enhance your knowledge and skills on how best to deal with our security and development challenges in Africa. “You are the next generation of African military leaders. Grab this opportunity to prepare you for this responsibility. Work hard on this course and make the most of each opportunity given here, for your own development. Your country and Africa at large need you as a well educated, professional and ethical military leader, to lead the way to security and prosperity."

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