chapter  4
The Establishment of AFRICOM
Pages 24

Africa’s growing strategic importance and the increasing threats emanating from the region, especially since the August 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, prompted a change of policy designed to focus more explicitly on security on the continent. President George Bush’s February 2007 announcement that the U.S. would create a new U.S. Military Command for Africa (AFRICOM) clearly demonstrated a more systematic approach to security in Africa. Recognition that there was a lack of expertise in the Defense Department led to this reorganization of the U.S. Unifi ed Command Plan. 1 Up until that point, responsibility for the continent had been divided among the European, Central, and Pacifi c Commands. AFRICOM unifi ed responsibility for the continent in one combatant command and made Africa a more explicit part of the Unifi ed Command Plan, the military’s framework for geographic responsibility and military missions. 2 After a year of preparation in which the various military programs overseen by the three regional commands with previous responsibility were transferred to AFRICOM, the U.S. Military Command for Africa began formal operations on October 1, 2008.