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GAO: Defense Management

February 2009

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The United States Government Accountability Office Defense Management February 2009 report (No:09-181) to the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives.

DOD declared AFRICOM fully operational on September 30, 2008, and had more than 950 military and civilian personnel assigned to the command; however, concerns about its planned mission and activities persist. DOD created AFRICOM to bring a more cohesive and strategic focus to its efforts in Africa. However, initial statements made about its mission and the scope of its activity raised concerns among U.S. and African stakeholders that AFRICOM could militarize diplomacy and development. Since the initial announcement, DOD has taken some steps to clarify its mission and in May 2008 published an approved mission statement. But concerns persist and DOD has not yet finalized a strategy for future communication with the wide range of stakeholders. It will take time for concerns generated by the initial announcement to subside and will largely depend on AFRICOM's actions. Unresolved concerns about AFRICOM's intentions could limit support from key stakeholders like State and potential African partners. GAO's prior work shows that a communications strategy can help address stakeholder concerns and clarify expectations.

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