US African Command Established by President Bush

On the heels of Ethiopia's decisive victory  over terrorists and their Iranian sponsors in Somalia, President Bush announced yesterday the formation of a new unified command.  The US African Command (AFRICOM) will better focus both civil and military actions on a continent that has become increasingly important in the Global War on Terror, yet is divided between three separate geographic commands.

Even before the "Blackhawk Down" ambush in Mogadishu, the mullahs of Iran had taken advantage of the chaos in the strategic country in their bid to seal off  the western approaches to the Arabian Peninsula.  Almost unnoticed were the military and civilian assistance operations set up under the Combined Joint Task Force - Horn of Africa  to regain control of the strategic area.  Additionally, several NATO nations and the US patrolled the waters off the coast to prevent Somalia from becoming a dumping ground for terrorists and insurgents who had managed to escape from Coalition forces in the Central Region.

Even GW's critics admit that the President has done more to move Africa forward towards a more secure future.  The administration first established the African Crisis Response Initiative which has morphed into a new program called the African Contingency Operations Training and Assistance.  This operation trains African national militaries to conduct peace support operations and humanitarian relief, and as such focuses on,
...the capabilities of these militaries in areas such as human rights, interaction with civil society, international law, military staff skills, and small unit operations.
The head of the transition team for AFRICOM is Navy Rear Adm. Robert Moeller, who was previously the Special Assistant to the Commander, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).  He is now at European Command (EUCOM) headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany planning for the activation of the command, which will hopefully be physically located on the continent.

Admiral Moeller stated that DoD's goal is to have AFRICOM fully operational by the end of fiscal 2008, and that establishing the command will not adversely affect operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Also, AFRICOM will cost about $50 million in fiscal 2007, and costs for 2008 are still being evaluated.