December 7, 2006

HARRISONBURG—In his weekly column for the World Defense Review, Dr. J. Peter Pham, Director of the Nelson Institute for International and Public Affairs at James Madison University, calls for the creation by the United States Department of Defense of a unified regional combatant command for Africa.

Currently three of the five regional commands have some part of Africa in their area of responsibility: the U.S. European Command (EUCOM), based in Stuttgart, Germany; the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), based in Tampa, Florida; and the Hawaii-based U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM). Dr. Pham quotes the incoming EUCOM commander, Army General Bantz J. Craddock, as acknowledging that “from a unity of command and unity of effort perspective, a change in U.S. command arrangements in Africa has merit and should be considered” and concludes “our enemies have already decided that Africa is the next front for their land and sea war of terror on America and our potential strategic rivals, like China, have also made of it a theatre of competition. The question is whether, in this era of tight budgets and myopic partisan politics, the Washington political establishment—especially incoming Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—will be farsighted enough to invest in an adequate response for which, as the men and women in uniform have come recognize, the time is now.”

o read Dr. Pham’s article, “The Time is Now for a U.S. Africa Command,” click here