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Command for Africa Is Established by Pentagon
Key Excerpts from Article on Website of New York Times

New York Times, October 5, 2008
Posted: October 10th, 2008

For decades, Africa was rarely more than an afterthought for the Pentagon. But since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a new view has gained acceptance among senior Pentagon officials and military commanders: that ungoverned spaces and ill-governed states ... pose a growing risk to American security. Last week ... Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, inaugurated the newest regional headquarters, Africa Command [AFRICOM], which is responsible for coordinating American military affairs on the continent. Already ... analysts at policy advocacy organizations and research institutes are warning of a militarization of American foreign policy across Africa. Mr. Gates said the new command was an example of the Pentagons evolving strategy of forging what he called civilian-military partnerships, in which the Defense Department works alongside and supports the State Department and the Agency for International Development. While that thinking has influenced the work of all of the militarys regional war-fighting commands, it is the central focus of Africa Command. And over the past two years, it has quietly become the central focus of the militarys Southern Command, once better known for the invasions of Grenada and Panama. A number of specialists in African and Latin American politics at nongovernmental organizations express apprehension, however, that the new emphasis of both these commands represents an undesirable injection of the military into American foreign policy, a change driven by ... desires for natural resources.

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