Africa's Oil Coast: How the Region's Strategic Importance May Cause Operational Challenges for AFRICOM as Currently Constructed
ARMY COMMAND AND GENERAL STAFF COLLEGE FORT LEAVENWORTH KS SCHOOL OF ADVANCED MILITARY STUDIES
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The U.S. Africa Command AFRICOM is at a critical crossroads regarding the trajectory of its organizational design and operational approach. As problems in Africa continue to escalate and present additional threats to U.S. national security, the combatant command faces issues it is not equipped or organizationally structured to negotiate. Since AFRICOMs formation in 2007, the organization has encountered several challenges due to its limited resourcing, manning, and operational reach. AFRICOM cannot be everywhere on the continent therefore, the command must prioritize its efforts to improve African security and maximize organizational effectiveness. Senior U.S. policy makers and Department of Defense DOD officials should consider reframing the African operational environment and generate options that more effectively employ military means to foster continental stability and achieve American strategic objectives. One prospective approach is to place more emphasis and resources towards stabilizing Africas Oil Coast. Violent extremism, illicit drug trafficking, and lucrative oil resources represent interdependent subjects that are manifesting instability throughout the Oil Coast. These emerging transnational threats jeopardize long-term African security, endangering prosperity throughout the international system. Therefore, a plausible option for U.S. policy makers and DOD officials to consider is making the region AFRICOMs decisive operation. Through increased resourcing and structural adaption, this approach may increase AFRICOMs operational efficiency and more effectively facilitate the commands linkage of tactical actions to strategic ends across both time and space.
- Government and Political Science
- Sociology and Law