Academic journal article Military Review

African Security and the African Command: Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa

Academic journal article Military Review

African Security and the African Command: Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa

Article excerpt

AFRICAN SECURITY AND THE AFRICAN COMMAND

Viewpoints on the US Role in Africa

Terry F. Buss, J. Adjaye, D. Goldstein, and

L. Picard, eds., Kumarian Press, Sterling, VA

2011, 277 pages, $27.95

THE EDITED VOLUME African Security and the African Command is an outgrowth of a Matthew B. Ridgway Center for International Security Studies conference held on 20 March 2009 to debate African security issues and the formation of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). With 18 academic and practitioner contributors covering 13 chapters, the book provides a wide set of Africa-relevant themes: U.S. interagency imbalances, Al-Qaeda in Africa, private security contractors, small arms proliferation, Chinese inroads, and the scramble for the continent's resources, to name just a few. The initial chapters delve into the reasons for creating AFRICOM, while highlighting the differences between concept and reality, and the often-negative African perspective on AFRICOM's creation.

From an interagency perspective, the book offers lessons on the resource imbalances between the military and its government counterparts. For example, when deciding the staffing requirements for AFRICOM, Pentagon planners did not consult the civilian agencies it expected to provide personnel, resulting in unrealistic human resource expectations--the Department of State, USAID, Treasury, and other agencies simply did not have enough personnel to fill the originally allocated 300-plus staff positions for civilians. Thus, by 2010, AFRICOM was less different from other regional commands than claimed in 2007-2008. …

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