Increasing African Capacity To Promote Peace and Security

April 4, 2011
Assistant Secretary Shapiro With Military Officials in DRC

I recently traveled to Djibouti, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vicki Huddleston and representatives from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and a colleague from the Department's Bureau of African Affairs. This was the first trip to the region by an Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in at least the last 10 years, and a unique opportunity to see first-hand much of the assistance we have provided to the region. My visit reinforced to me the importance of the efforts of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in Eastern and Central Africa to train peacekeepers, combat piracy, support military reform, and eliminate excessive quantities of small-arms. These security assistance programs, overseen by our Bureau, support the State Department's mission to promote stability and good governance and set the stage for humanitarian aid and development.

DASD Huddleston and I began our visit in Djibouti where we met with the President of Djibouti and other senior leaders to discuss counterterrorism issues, the future deployment of Djiboutian peacekeepers to the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), and maritime security. Djibouti also hosts the largest U.S. military presence on the continent, Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) at Camp Lemonnier, which is very active in the region.

Djibouti is a new partner in our Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI) program and its implementing partner in Africa, the Africa Contingency Operations Training and Assistance (ACOTA) program. Through GPOI and ACOTA, we are helping to train and equip a Djiboutian peacekeeping unit. I felt it was important to see the GPOI and ACOTA programs up close as they are the single largest peacekeeping programs on the continent. I visited the Djibouti National Peacekeeping Training Center, which we are supporting, located in a relatively austere and difficult training environment. There I met with the ACOTA trainers, U.S. military mentors, and Djiboutian peacekeeping trainees and was able to see first-hand the commitment and dedication of the U.S. trainers Djiboutian trainees alike. Peacekeeping capacity building is one of our major contributions to further peace and stability in Africa because of its need for additional peacekeepers -- in particular in Somalia, Sudan and, more recently, Cote d'Ivoire.

Djibouti is also central to our efforts to combat piracy, as it is on the front line of maritime threats including piracy in the Gulf of Aden and surrounding waters. I was able to visit the Djiboutian naval base where I saw the patrol boats and the radar that we have provided to Djibouti to increase its maritime security capabilities.

In Kenya, I observed another vital contribution of U.S. security assistance -- the International Peace Support Training Centre (IPSTC), which is helping to build peacekeeping capacity in East Africa. The IPSTC is supported by the United States and several other international donors and the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom all provide staff officers. I was very impressed by the work that has gone into the IPSTC which hosts year-round peacekeeping training courses for military and civilian personnel. Our contribution through the GPOI program is helping to meet the growing global demand for specialized personnel essential to successful peacekeeping missions.

On the trip, I also met with the head of the East Africa Standby Force to discuss ways in which the United States can support the African Union's pledge to have their Africa Standby Force fully operational by 2015. They face many challenges, but this is an important effort and we will do our best to tailor our assistance to meet the goals of developing peacekeeping capacity in East Africa.

My last stop on the trip was to the DRC where I observed another facet of our security assistance. The Government of the DRC faces many challenges in its effort to stabilize the country as a whole, integrate former rebel groups into its regular forces, and professionalize its military. To this end, we have, with the international community, focused our efforts on post-conflict security sector reform. Our goal is to help the Congolese government develop a military that can break with its past and better serve and protect the Congolese people. As the DRC military has well over 100,000 troops, defense sector reform is a long term effort whose progress will not be seen overnight. But our efforts are proving effective, as defense sector reform has advanced in the eastern DRC. I was extremely impressed with the training facilities at Camp Base in Kisangani, largely built with U.S. funds, and with the Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) that we trained and equipped.

Finally, I observed another vital effort of the PM bureau: the removal and destruction of excessive quantities of military small arms and light weapons in the DRC. Since 2006, the United States has contributed nearly $5 million toward removal and destruction of excess small arms in the DRC, including more than 102,000 small arms and 315,000 tons of excess and unstable munitions. U.S.-funded Conventional Weapons Destruction programs are making a difference across the continent, promoting stability and mitigating threats to civilians.

While much work remains ahead, I am proud of the role that the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs has played in increasing capacity in Africa through our GPOI and Partnership for Regional East Africa Counterterrorism programs, counter-piracy efforts, and defense sector reform programs. My trip to Africa provided me an invaluable look into the excellent work that the Department of State and the Department of Defense are doing together with regional partners to promote peace and security in Africa.

Comments

Comments

jitendra s.
|
India
April 6, 2011

Jitendra S. in India writes:

Respected sirs I wish to state that the hooch tragedy which has killed more than 150 people in Gujarat recently, I want to draw your attention about the another aspect of that accident, I want to remind you that as we all know very well that our state Gujarat is already on the hit list of terrorists and because of the liquor prohibition policy of our state govt. daily thousands of bottles in trucks of English liquor illegally made in our neighboring states and are supplied to our state. and whole of this network is operated by liquor bootleggers and mafias who can fall in to the hands of terrorists at any time and terrorists can supply a lot of poisonous liquor and can kill a largest number of innocent people any time and this will be comparatively easy and effective way for them.

So I want to request you to establish the responsibility that who will be sole responsible for the accident if it takes place. Because directly govt is only responsible to first implement the liquor prohi. policy then to allow mafias to smuggle liquor in to the state, the smuggling of liquor is not possible without the cooperation of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats therefore I request you to accept my this request as a PRL and give the right directives to govt. so any major accident can be avoided. Respected sirs I am giving you some more aspects of this policy so please consider my that letter also a request to you which is as follows:-
Respected sirs ,please consider the following points in the aspect of relevancy of liquor prohibition policy of Gujarat and direct the govt. to rethink over it.

Though the liquor prohibition policy is there in force in Gujarat but three times more liquor is being sold here compare to any other state of India.

Local gujarat govt. justifies this policy by saying that because this is the Gandhi’s Gujarat therefore we implemented this policy here, on moral grounds. But today we have to think that who they are to say that Gujarat’s Gandhi or Gandhi’s Gujarat. Gandhi is the father of nation and whole nation is Gandhi’s. Gandhi struggled for whole India and he never said that he is for Gujarat or Gujarat is for him so today we have to think that Don’t we put question mark on his thinking by saying Gandhi’s Gujarat.? And after all finally we have to think that Gandhi never taught us the lesson to move on morality by crushing humanity.

On the name of country liquor which liquor is being made and being sold here, millions of people are drinking that is made by car battary’s acid, detergent soaps water, saltpeter(anum) or ( FITKARI),and Gud(brown sugar).Now it can be understood that drinking such liquor can be how much harmful. This liquor causes the liver diseases, tuberculosis, and other so many skin diseases also.

This is the totally failed and unsuccessful policy which violates our religious and human rights because we hindus think we have the right to worship our god Kal bhairav but we cant do so because liquor is required to worship the same god .but we cant get liquor because of this Islamic policy is implemented on our heads.

Respected sirs I wish to state that there are 5 crore people living in Gujarat state of India in which about thirty percent people consume liquor. Still the liquor prohibition policy is in force there. Due to this policy now you can imagine how a big number of people is consuming the poisonous liquor regularly and how big damage the society is bearing due to this policy.

Respected sirs, I want to say one thing about the liquor prohibition policy of Gujarat, that due to this policy the general public of Gujarat does not get any benefit but if this policy is demolished, and due to that the government gets the revenue from liquor business, by that money government can give at least one kg sugar every month to every poor or middle class family in the state, so I wish to state that please ask the govt. on the liquor pro. Policy, assessing the relevancy and profit and losses to the society . Because today the time has come to tell the people that this policy does not give any thing except the crime, corruption and diseases, deaths of innocents to the society. And only corrupted bureaucrats, politicians, and liquor mafias are enjoying this policy, Therefore we want your help in this regard.

Respected sirs once again I request you in public interest please accept my this letter as a PRL and do the needful but I request you to keep my name and my address secret to you only. because either party A sitting in power or party B sitting in opposition, no one want to demolish this policy because this policy is like a cow giving milk to them, no matter who is having turn today either A or B, tomorrow will be the turn of other.so both of them will not like that my voice should be heard by you thanking you yours faithfully: jitendra ahmedabad 63

(letter to c.j.,guj high court,copy to you)

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