Africa Command Nears:

Army Gen. William Ward, deputy commander of US European Command, told defense reporters in Washington Friday that the Secretary of Defense had proposed to President Bush an alteration for the Unified Command Plan that “would look at Africa in a different way.” He emphasized the need to establish a “horizon of hope” within an increasingly unstable Africa, which under the current UCP falls under the umbrella of three commands: EUCOM, US Central Command, and US Pacific Command. Asked specifically about the terrorist group GSPC, Ward acknowledged the group is operating in Northern Africa and poses a threat to Europe. Creating a separate command for Africa has been debated for years, but it’s only within the past year that the Pentagon, working with other federal agencies, has begun a concerted planning effort. Outgoing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said in December that he expected to see an Africa Command within two months. Ward would not hazard a timetable.