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Going Farther by Going Together: Building Partner Capacity in Africa

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Journal article

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Building partner capacity is an essential military mission and an important component of the U.S. Government s approach to preventing and responding to crisis, conflict, and instability. Demanding fiscal realities, the end of the Iraq War, the unfolding transition in Afghanistan, and a renewed focus on enduring interests in Asia and the Middle East are increasing the importance of burden-sharing. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta s January 2012 strategic guidance, Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership Priorities for 21st Century Defense, was clear on this point. Recognizing that building partnership capacity remains important for sharing the costs and responsibilities of global leadership with states that value freedom, stability and prosperity, Secretary Panetta directed that whenever possible, we will develop innovative, low-cost, and small footprint approaches to achieve our security objectives, relying on exercises, rotational presence, and advisory capabilities. Some may argue that changes in the strategic environment diminish the value of building partner capacity as a component of our nation s overall defense strategy. It makes more sense, they say, to dedicate those scarce resources toward improving our own capabilities than to improve those of other partners. We disagree. Building the capacity of our willing and important partners is not a strategic indulgence but rather an enduring strategic imperative. We believe that a small investment now that enables our partners to address an emerging challenge is a bargain. This is exactly U.S. Africa Command s USAFRICOM s approach to the complex security challenges in its area of responsibility AOR.

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  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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