Congress should beef up the capabilities of US Africa Command, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. Testifying on the terrorist attack that killed four State Department officials in Benghazi, Libya, last year, Clinton said weapons “liberated” from Libyan stocks are a “Pandora’s box” making the Middle East and North Africa “the source of one of our biggest threats.” These weapons have made their way to Algeria, Mali, Syria, and other places, she said, highlighting the need for US engagement in Africa. AFRICOM has in recent years been scaled back as a Pentagon cost-cutting move. Recent conflicts and terrorist actions make it plain now, Clinton asserted, that “we need to pay much more attention to AFRICOM, to its capacity inside Africa.” The command is based in Germany “for all kinds of complicated, logistical, and political reasons,” she observed. And while Army Gen. Carter Ham “has been a very dedicated leader of AFRICOM during his time there . . . we’re going to see more and more demands on AFRICOM, and I think that’s something else that the Senate and House are going to have to address,” she said during the Jan. 23 hearing. (Clinton’s prepared remarks)
Adm. Christopher Grady, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs and head of the Joint Requirements Oversight Council, is pushing a “portfolio” approach to requirements and wants his position to have “more teeth” so he can enforce it.