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The Pentagon's New Africa Command

Interviewees: Robert T. Moeller, Rear Admiral, Head of Africa Command transition team
Robert G. Loftis, Ambassador, State Department
Interviewer: Stephanie Hanson
May 16, 2007

In February 2007, President Bush announced the creation of a unified military command for Africa. The Pentagon and many military analysts argue the continent’s growing strategic importance necessitates a dedicated regional command. But some experts suggest the command’s creation was motivated by more specific concerns: China and oil. Two members of the Africa Command transition team, Rear Admiral Robert T. Moeller, the executive director, and Ambassador Robert G. Loftis, a senior security adviser at the State Department, discuss the command’s mission, structure, and how African governments have reacted to its formation. Both acknowledge the command, which is slated to be fully operational by September 2008, is still a work in progress. Moeller says, “It’s like being the plank owner of a new construction ship—all the excitement of being the first crew member and all the work involved of figuring out if we have enough welding rods to do a particular day’s work.”

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