As a prominent counter move against China's increasing presence, and influence, across Africa, the Pentagon is already well underway to establishing a new African Command, despite the Department of Defence's announcement (below) that it is something they've only just come up with.
With the increasing power and spread of jihadists across Africa, the chaos in Somalia threatening to tip over into Ethiopia, and the endless attacks and kidnappings launched on oil platforms, pipelines and international workers in Nigeria, the US can hardly afford not to pour thousands of permanent soldiers, special forces, diplomats and spies into the region.
A recent White House national energy policy paper predicted that Africa would become "one of the fastest growing sources of oil and gas" for future American markets, as they try to break free of their "addiction" to Middle East oil.
But China has moved fast and decisively in Africa, showering development money and spreading bribes far and wide to niche up their own increasing energy demands, which will only grow in the next decade.
The question now is whether the United States has left their move into Africa too late to get their hands on the best quality, and easiest to harvest, oil and gas reserves.
From the US Department of Defence :
The U.S. military will establish a separate U.S. Africa Command to oversee military operations on the African continent, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates announced during Congressional testimony today.
“The president has decided to stand-up a new unified, combatant command, Africa Command, to oversee security cooperation, building partnership capability, defense support to non-military missions, and, if directed, military operations on the African continent,” Gates said in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
The command will enable the U.S. military to have a more effective and integrated approach than the current command setup, Gates said.
Responsibility for operations on the African continent is currently divided among three combatant commands: U.S. European Command, which has responsibility for most of the nations in the African mainland except in the Horn of Africa; U.S. Central Command, which has responsibility for Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Kenya; and U.S. Pacific Command, which has responsibility for Madagascar, the Seychelles and the Indian Ocean area off the African coast.
Gates called this arrangement an “outdated arrangement left over from the Cold War.”
He added that DoD will consult closely with Congress and European and African allies to implement the effort.
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