Small Wars Journal

AFRICOM: DOA or in Need of Better Marketing?

Matt Armstrong has a piece up at his MountainRunner blog - AFRICOM: DOA or in Need of Better Marketing? No and Yes.

Like Mark Twain's "death" in 1897 (he died in 1910), reports of AFRICOM's demise may be exaggerated. Concerns that AFRICOM hasn't been thought out or is unnecessary aren't supported by the actions and statements of those charged with building this entity. However, based on the poor marketing of AFRICOM, these concerns are not surprising.

I attended USC's AFRICOM conference earlier this month and between panel discussions and offline conversations, I came away with a new appreciation (and hope) for the newest, and very different, command.

This is not like the other Combatant Commands (one DOD representative said they dropped "Combatant" from the title, but depending on where you look, all commands have that word or none of the commands include that adjective). Also unlike other commands, this is "focused on prevention and not containment or fighting wars." This is, as one speaker continued, is a "risk-laden experiment" that is like an Ironman with multidisciplinary requirements and always different demands (note: thank you for not saying it's a marathon... once you've done one marathon, they're easy, you can "fake" a marathon... Ironman triathlons are always unpredictable, I know, I've done five.). The goal, he continued, was to "keep combat troops off the continent for 50 years" because the consensus was, once troops landed on Africa, it would be extremely difficult to take them off...

Much more at MountainRunner.