AFRICOM Commander Testifies Before House Committee

March 06, 2018

Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander of U.S. Africa Command, testified before the House Armed Services Committee on national security challenges and U.S. military activities in Africa, March 6, 2018. 

Waldhauser opened up his testimony highlighting AFRICOM’s strategy for the continent.

Mission Statement

AFRICOM, with partners, strengthens security forces, counters transnational threats, and conducts crisis response in order to advance U.S. national interests and promote regional security, stability, and prosperity in Africa.

“Our mission statement deliberately highlights the importance of ‘with partners,’” said Waldhauser. “In reality, very few, if any, of the challenges on the African continent can be resolved through the use of military force.”

Waldhauser explained how AFRICOM tackles these challenges without the use of military force by citing some of his commands strategic themes.

Support and Enable U.S. Diplomatic Efforts

“AFRICOM’s first strategic tenet underscores that our military activities are designed to support and enable U.S. diplomatic and development efforts,” said Waldhauser. “We can create time and space for governments to establish effective and accountable governance while fostering conditions for economies to develop.”

The “By, With, and Through” Strategic Approach

The second main theme Waldhauser discussed was the strategic approach of “By, With, and Through.”

“This framework emphasizes our main effort to build the capacity of African partner nation defense forces to credibly provide for their own security,” said Waldhauser. “While our African partner nations have enormous potential, they are often challenged by instability and exploitation stemming from the disruption caused by Violent Extremist Organizations or VEOs.”

Keeping Pressure on the VEOs

“We approach these security threats through our third strategic principle of keeping pressure on the networks of VEOs such as Al-Shabaab, ISIS, Al Qaeda, and Boko Haram in order to mitigate their destabilizing influence,” said Waldhauser. “At the same time, we remain postured and ready to respond to contingencies and to protect U.S. personnel and facilities on the continent.”

National Defense Strategy

Waldhauser mentioned that the strategic themes covered in his remarks are aligned with national-level guidance.

“In accordance with the recently released National Defense Strategy and in the context of changes in the operating environment, we are updating our strategy and theater campaign plan to reflect the guidance provided by the Secretary of Defense,” said Waldhauser.

Waldhauser finished by describing some of the challenges AFRICOM faces each day on the continent, as well as recognizing those under his charge.

“The continued progress on the continent with our partners reflects dedicated efforts by the men and women of AFRICOM,” said Waldhauser. “I am proud to lead these professionals who have built strong and trusting relationships with the U.S. interagency and with our international community in order to foster the security, stability, and prosperity on the African continent.”