Under One Umbrella: US Army Merges US Army Europe and Africa Commands

Written by | Thursday, February 25th, 2021

Moving troops between Europe and Africa more efficiently during a crisis is expected to be streamlined and allow better synchronisation between European NATO allies and Africa, US generals said on Tuesday (23 February). The Pentagon merged last November the commands in charge of operations in Europe and Africa into a single new combined command (USAREUR-AF), headed by a four-star general, which will be located in Wiesbaden, Germany. The consolidation is an acknowledgement that the security situation between the two continents is “inextricably linked,” says Christopher Cavoli, US Army Europe and Africa commander, adding that “the close geography and economic ties between the two continents mean that regional security issues, left unchecked, quickly spread from one area to another.”
Cavoli, who previously led US Army Europe from his office in Wiesbaden, Germany, also said that “this consolidation enables greater synchronisation of operations in Africa with our NATO allies here in Europe, many of whom have very important security concerns and security interests in Africa,“ adding that “so this is a very big advance, both north of the Mediterranean and south of the Mediterranean.” Cavoli stressed the US Department of Defense would be coordinating very closely with its partners in different countries, including in Mali, where the US military is providing support to French-led peacekeeping operation Operation Barhkane. “The United States is very eager to see our European allies lead in that fashion,” Cavoli said, recalling that the involvement of the US military in Africa consists, on the one hand, in supporting anti-terrorism forces and, on the other, in building capacity with partner countries.
“The violence in this region has increased precipitously,” his deputy commander, Andrew Rohling, added. “Terrorist attacks in the tri-border region of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger doubled from 2018 to 2019 (…) and violent extremist organizations such as Shabab, Boko Haram and others are still a threat.” The Pentagon had been carrying out a review of US forces globally before former US President Donald Trump’s long-running dispute with Germany bubbled over. Last summer, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to cut the number of US troops in Germany to 25,000, faulting Berlin for failing to meet the military alliance’s 2% GDP defence spending target and accusing it of taking advantage of America on trade. That decision is now under review by the Biden administration that has now put the planned US troop withdrawal from Germany ‘on freeze’.

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