AFRICOM as Model for Leaner Forces

Army Maj. Gen. Charles Hooper, US Africa Command’s director of strategy, plans, and programs, said AFRICOM’s small force structure, limited assets, and relatively small budget stand as a model for the leaner, more agile operations outlined in the Obama Administration’s new defense strategy. “If you look at the strategic guidance, it talks about a small footprint,” said Hooper in a June 11 Pentagon release. He added, “I would say that Africa Command is the quintessential small footprint. . . . We have become masters at providing the maximum return on investment.” AFRICOM has no permanently assigned forces and limited headquarters forces on the ground. “I think we get a disproportionately positive effect for a relatively small investment,” said AFRICOM Commander Army Gen. Carter Ham. “We don’t use lots of troops. Generally, our exercises and engagements are pretty small-scale.” He said the effect of AFRICOM’s engagement “is multiplied because our focus is on training and enabling the Africans to do things for themselves.” (AFPS report by Donna Miles)