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Testimony: 

Before the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, 
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, House of Representatives: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 

GAO: 

For Release on Delivery Expected at 10:00 a.m. EDT: 

Tuesday, July 15, 2008: 

Force Structure: 

Preliminary Observations on the Progress and Challenges Associated with 
Establishing the U.S. Africa Command: 

Statement of John Pendleton, Director Defense Capabilities and 
Management Issues: 

GAO-08-947T: 

GAO Highlights: 

Highlights of GAO-08-947T, a testimony to the Subcommittee on National 
Security and Foreign Affairs, Committee on Oversight and Government 
Reform, House of Representatives. 

Why GAO Did This Study: 

In February 2007, the President announced the U. S. Africa Command 
(AFRICOM), a Department of Defense (DOD) geographic combatant command 
with a focus on strengthening U.S. security cooperation with Africa, 
creating opportunities to bolster the capabilities of African partners, 
and enhancing peace and security efforts on the continent through 
activities such as military training and support to other U.S. 
government agenciesí efforts. DOD officials have emphasized that 
AFRICOM is designed to integrate DOD and non-DOD personnel into the 
command to stimulate greater coordination among U.S. government 
agencies to achieve a more whole-of-government approach. 

This testimony is based on the preliminary results of work GAO is 
conducting for the Subcommittee on the establishment of AFRICOM. GAO 
analyzed relevant documentation and obtained perspectives from the 
combatant commands, military services, Joint Staff, Department of 
State, USAID and non-governmental organizations. GAO plans to provide 
the Subcommittee with a report later this year that will include 
recommendations as appropriate. This testimony addresses (1) the status 
of DODís efforts to establish and fund AFRICOM and (2) challenges that 
may hinder the commandís ability to achieve interagency participation 
and a more integrated, whole-of-government approach to DOD activities 
in Africa. 

What GAO Found: 

The Department of Defense has made progress in transferring activities, 
staffing the command, and establishing an interim headquarters for 
AFRICOM, but has not yet fully estimated the additional costs of 
establishing and operating the command. To date, AFRICOMís primary 
focus has been on assuming responsibility for existing DOD activities 
such as military exercises and humanitarian assistance programs, and 
DOD plans to have most of these activities transferred by October 1, 
2008. DOD has approved 1,304 positions for the commandís headquarters, 
and by October 1, 2008, plans to have filled about 75 percent, or 980 
positions. Also, DOD plans to have 13 other positions filled by 
representatives from non-DOD organizations, such as the State 
Department. DOD is renovating facilities in Stuttgart, Germany, for 
interim headquarters and plans to use these facilities for the 
foreseeable future until decisions are made regarding the permanent 
AFRICOM headquarters location. 

The initial concept for AFRICOM, designed and developed by DOD, met 
resistance from within the U.S. government and African countries and 
contributed to several implementation challenges. First, DOD has had 
difficulties integrating interagency personnel in the command, which is 
critical to synchronizing DOD efforts with other U. S. government 
agencies. DOD continues to lower its estimate of the ultimate level of 
interagency participation in the command. According to DOD, other 
agencies have limited resources and personnel systems which have not 
easily accommodated DODís intent to place interagency personnel in the 
command. Second, DOD has encountered concerns from civilian agencies 
and other stakeholders over the commandís mission and goals. For 
example, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development 
officials have expressed concerns that AFRICOM will become the lead for 
all U.S. efforts in Africa, rather than just DOD activities. If not 
addressed, these concerns could limit the commandís ability to develop 
key partnerships. Third, DOD has not yet reached agreement with the 
State Department and potential host nations on the structure and 
location of the commandís presence in Africa. Uncertainties related to 
AFRICOMís presence hinder DODís ability to estimate future funding 
requirements for AFRICOM and raises questions about whether DODís 
concept for developing enduring relationships on the continent can be 
achieved. 

To view the full product, including the scope and methodology, click on 
[http://www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-08-947T]. For more information, 
contact John H. Pendleton at (202) 512-3489 or pendletonj@gao.gov. 

[End of section] 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Subcommittee: 

I am pleased to be here today to discuss the Department of Defense's 
(DOD) efforts to establish the U. S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), a new 
geographic command that consolidates responsibility for DOD activities 
in Africa under one command. Previously, responsibility was split among 
the U.S. European, Central, and Pacific commands. Security challenges 
the U.S. faces in the 21st century are fundamentally different from the 
Cold War era, and non-warfighting security cooperation activities are 
an increasingly important aspect of U.S. national security 
policy.[Footnote 1] U.S. government experiences in Afghanistan, Iraq, 
and the Balkans over the last several years have demonstrated that U.S. 
government entities need to improve the coordination and integration of 
their activities. In recognition of these experiences and the 
increasing importance DOD is placing on non-warfighting activities, 
AFRICOM is intended to strengthen U.S. security cooperation with 
African nations, create opportunities to bolster the capabilities of 
U.S. partners in Africa, and enhance U.S. efforts to bring peace and 
security to the continent. AFRICOM officials have stated that ongoing 
and future DOD activities in Africa are and will be based on an 
overarching concept of "active security," which is defined as a 
"persistent and sustained level of effort focused on security 
assistance programs that prevent conflict in order to foster dialogue 
and development." In Africa, U.S. security assistance programs include 
a wide range of activities such as the sale of military equipment to 
African countries, combined military training exercises, humanitarian 
assistance, and programs to help prevent the spread of disease such as 
HIV/AIDs. 

DOD officials have emphasized that AFRICOM is intended to be unique 
from any other combatant command because its focus is on strengthening 
stability and security in Africa and fostering a whole-of-government 
approach to help achieve this goal. In this regard, the command is 
intended to integrate DOD and non-DOD personnel to address security 
issues broadly, stimulate greater coordination among U.S. government 
agencies, and increase DOD's ability to execute its mission in support 
of overall U.S. government policy. Realizing this vision is a complex 
process, involving not only the Department of Defense, but many other 
U.S. government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, multinational 
partners, and ultimately sovereign African countries. Previous GAO work 
suggests that implementations of large-scale transformations, such as 
AFRICOM, are complex endeavors that can take 5 to 7 years to complete, 
and DOD officials have stated that AFRICOM is evolving and will 
continue to change over the next several years. However, as AFRICOM 
approaches full operational capability[Footnote 2] scheduled for 
September 30, 2008, fundamental issues that can play an important role 
in the success or failure of DOD's effort to establish this command 
should be addressed. Therefore, my testimony today will discuss two 
areas: (1) the status of DOD's efforts to establish the command and (2) 
challenges that can hinder the command's ability to achieve interagency 
participation and an integrated approach to DOD stability and security 
activities in Africa. 

My comments are based on preliminary results of work we are conducting 
for the Subcommittee on the establishment of AFRICOM. We plan to 
provide the Subcommittee with a report later this year that will 
include recommendations as appropriate to address the issues we discuss 
today. To assess the DOD's efforts to establish AFRICOM, we obtained 
and analyzed relevant documentation, including AFRICOM's manpower, 
facilities, and funding requirements and periodic progress reports. To 
identify challenges that could hinder AFRICOM's ability to achieve 
interagency participation and an integrated approach to African 
security, we obtained information related to the initial and current 
plans for interagency representation in the command and AFRICOM's 
presence in Africa. We also obtained the perspectives of cognizant 
officials from the U.S. European and Africa commands and the related 
military service component commands in Europe as well as from the 
Office of the Secretary of Defense, Joint Staff, Joint Forces Command, 
military service headquarters, Department of State, the U.S. Agency for 
International Development, and Interaction, an organization 
representing U.S. based non-government organizations. We are conducting 
our work in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 
We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for 
our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. 

Summary: 

The Department of Defense has made progress in transferring activities, 
staffing the command, and establishing an interim headquarters, but has 
not yet fully estimated the additional costs of establishing and 
operating the command. Since the President announced the establishment 
of the command, AFRICOM's primary focus has been on assuming the 
responsibility for DOD activities such as military exercises and 
humanitarian assistance programs, previously managed in Africa by the 
U.S. European, Pacific, and Central commands. DOD plans to transfer 
most of these activities to the new command by September 30, 2008, but 
at that point in time, DOD does not anticipate that AFRICOM will have 
the desired interagency skill sets, the ability to strategically engage 
with African countries beyond the established level, or the capacity to 
take on new initiatives. In addition, DOD has approved 1,304 positions 
for the command's headquarters, and by September 30, 2008, plans to 
have filled 75 percent, or 980 positions. Also, DOD plans to have 13 
other command positions filled by representatives from non-DOD 
organizations. AFRICOM and Department of State officials told us that 
these interagency personnel at AFRICOM are intended to play a more 
significant role than interagency representatives at other commands 
(which have numbered from 5 to 7 individuals), because they will be 
integrated into the command headquarters' organizational structure. DOD 
is also renovating existing facilities in Stuttgart, Germany, to 
provide an interim headquarters for the new command at an estimated 
cost of $40 million. However, this sum does not reflect the full cost 
of establishing the command, which DOD has yet to fully estimate, but 
has the potential to involve billions of dollars over the next several 
years. While DOD has taken important first steps in establishing the 
command and reaching the full operational capability milestone, DOD 
also recognizes that achieving its vision of a command that has 
significant interagency integration and is capable of building 
partnership capacity with African nations will be a work in progress 
for many years into the future. 

The initial concept for AFRICOM designed and developed by DOD met 
resistance from within the U. S. government and African countries and 
contributed to several implementation challenges. First, DOD has had 
difficulties integrating interagency personnel in the command, which is 
critical to synchronizing DOD efforts with other U.S. government 
agencies. DOD continues to lower its estimate of the ultimate level of 
interagency participation in the command. According to DOD officials, 
other agencies have limited resources and incompatible personnel 
systems which have not easily accommodated DOD's intent to place 
interagency personnel in the command. Second, DOD has encountered some 
concerns from civilian agencies, African partners, and nongovernmental 
organizations over what the command is and what it hopes to accomplish. 
For example, State and U.S. Agency for International Development 
(USAID) officials noted that the creation of AFRICOM could blur 
traditional boundaries between diplomacy, development, and defense, 
thereby militarizing U.S. foreign policy. If stakeholder concerns are 
not addressed, these concerns could limit the command's ability to 
develop key partnerships in carrying out its mission. Third, DOD has 
not yet reached agreement with the State Department and potential host 
nations on the structure and location of the command's presence on the 
continent of Africa. DOD officials have previously stated that a 
command presence within Africa was important because it would provide 
AFRICOM staff with a more comprehensive understanding of the regional 
environment, deepen their understanding of African needs, and help the 
command build relationships and partnerships with African nations, 
regional economic communities and associated regional standby forces. 
Although the question of presence is one that the command believes will 
resolve itself over time, uncertainties related to AFRICOM's presence 
hinders DOD's ability to estimate future funding requirements for 
AFRICOM and raises questions about whether DOD's concept of developing 
enduring relationships on the continent can be achieved. 

Background: 

The President has established, and DOD operates geographic combatant 
commands to perform military missions around the world. Geographic 
combatant commands are each assigned an area of responsibility in which 
to conduct their missions and activities (see fig. 1 below). Combatant 
commands are responsible for a variety of functions including tasks 
such as (1) deploying forces as necessary to carry out the missions 
assigned to the command; (2) coordinating and approving those aspects 
of administration, support (including control of resources and 
equipment, internal organization, and training), and discipline 
necessary to carry out missions assigned to the command; and (3) 
assigning command functions to subordinate commanders. Combatant 
commands are supported by Service component commands (Army, Navy, 
Marine Corps, and Air Force) and Special Operations Command. Each of 
these component commands has a significant role in planning and 
supporting operations. 

Figure 1: Geographic Combatant Commands' Proposed Areas of 
Responsibilities on September 30, 2008: 

This figure is a map of the geographic combatant commands' proposed 
areas of responsibilities on September 30, 2008. 

U.S. Northern Command; 
U.S. Pacific Command; 
U.S. Southern Command; 
U.S. Africa Command; 
U.S. European Command; 
U.S. Central Command. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO presentation of DOD data. 

[A] The state of Alaska is assigned to the U.S. Northern Command's Area 
of Responsibility. Forces based in Alaska, however, may be assigned to 
multiple commands. 

[End of figure] 

On February 6, 2007, the President directed the Secretary of Defense to 
establish a new geographic combatant command to consolidate the 
responsibility for DOD activities in Africa that have been shared by 
U.S. Central Command, U.S. Pacific Command, and U.S. European 
Command.[Footnote 3] AFRICOM was officially established on October 1, 
2007, with a goal to reach full operational capability as a separate, 
independent geographic combatant command by September 30, 2008. Full 
operational capability was defined as the point at which the AFRICOM 
commander will accept responsibility for executing all U.S. military 
activities in Africa currently being conducted by the U.S. European, 
Central, and Pacific commands; have the capability to plan and conduct 
new operations; and have the capability to develop new initiatives. 
AFRICOM's mission statement, which was approved by the Secretary of 
Defense in May 2008, is to act in concert with other U. S. government 
agencies and international partners to conduct sustained security 
engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored 
activities, and other military operations as directed to promote a 
stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign 
policy. 

DOD Has Focused on Transferring Existing Activities from Other Commands 
to AFRICOM: 

Since the President announced the establishment of AFRICOM, DOD has 
focused on building the capabilities necessary for AFRICOM to 
systematically assume responsibility for all existing military 
missions, activities, programs, and exercises in the area of 
responsibility it is inheriting from the U.S. European, Central, and 
Pacific commands.[Footnote 4] From the outset, AFRICOM has sought to 
assume responsibility for these existing activities seamlessly, without 
disrupting them or other U.S. government and international efforts in 
Africa. To accomplish this task, AFRICOM officials created a formal 
process to manage the transfer of activities it initially identified as 
ongoing within AFRICOM's area of responsibility. These range from 
activities to combat HIV/AIDS to programs that provide training 
opportunities for foreign military personnel and include the two 
largest U.S. military activities in Africa, the Combined Joint Task 
Force-Horn of Africa[Footnote 5] and Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans 
Sahara.[Footnote 6] DOD plans to transfer most activities to the new 
command by September 30, 2008. The areas of responsibility and examples 
of activities being transferred to AFRICOM from the U.S. European, 
Central and Pacific commands are presented in figure 2. In cases 
involving State Department-led activities where DOD plays a primary 
role in its execution, such as the International Military Education and 
Training program, AFRICOM is assuming only the execution of the program 
from other combatant commands--the State Department still maintains 
overall authority and responsibility for the program. 

Figure 2: Areas of Responsibility and Examples of Activities Being 
Transferred to AFRICOM from Other Combatant Commands: 

This figure is a map and text showing areas of responsibility and 
examples of activities being transferred to AFRICOM from other 
combatant commands. 

U.S. European Command; 
Number of Countries involved: 42. 

Examples of Activities Being Transferred: 

* Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara: 
- A series of military-to-military exercises designed to strengthen the 
ability of regional governments to police the large expanses of remote 
terrain in the trans-Sahara; 

* Africa Partnership Station:  
- A program to enhance maritime safety and security through ship 
visits, training and the provision of equipment to African host 
nations; 

* Medical Exercises: 
- Exercises in which U.S. military doctors and other medical personnel 
interchange medical information and techniques with African host nation 
medical personnel and provide humanitarian assistance such as 
immunizations to the population; 

* International Military Education and Training: 

- Program that provides military education, training, and professional 
development to African military personnel on a grant basis through 
funding from the Department of State; 

* Humanitarian Assistance Activities: 

- Various activities including providing HIV/AIDS prevention education 
to African military personnel, drilling wells, improving school 
buildings, and developing infrastructure; 

[See PDF for image] 

U.S. Central Command; 
Number of Countries Involved: 7. 

Examples of Activities Being Transferred: 

* Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa: 

- One of the two largest military programs in Africa, includes 
operations, training, and humanitarian activities to help nations 
improve their capacity to combat terrorism and prepare for challenges 
such as natural disasters; 

U.S. Pacific Command; 
Number of Countries Involved: 3. 

Examples of Activities Being Transferred: 

* Pacific Endeavor: 

- Workshops that bring nations together to test the compatibility and 
interoperability of their communications systems and assist in their 
integration; 

* Tempest Express: 

- Biannual workshop with multinational military personnel aimed to 
increase the speed of multinational crisis response and improve force 
interoperability. 

Source: Copyright Corel Corp. All rights reserved (map); GAO 
presentation of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Since the initial establishment of the command in October 2007, AFRICOM 
has also sought to staff its headquarters, which will include DOD 
military personnel, DOD civilian personnel, and interagency personnel. 
Officials explained that staffing the command's positions is the most 
critical and limiting factor in the process for assuming responsibility 
for activities in Africa because activities cannot be transferred 
without personnel in place to execute them. DOD has approved 1,304 
positions (military and DOD civilian) for the command's headquarters, 
of which about 270 military positions are being transferred from other 
commands. By September 30, 2008, DOD plans to have filled 75 percent, 
or 980 of these positions. In addition, DOD plans to have 13 command 
positions filled by representatives from non-DOD agencies. As a result, 
on September 30, 2008, 1 percent of AFRICOM headquarters positions will 
be filled by representatives from non-DOD organizations (see fig. 3). 
At this point, the number of interagency representatives in AFRICOM 
headquarters will be only slightly more than the number of 
representatives in other geographic commands, but AFRICOM has been 
designed to embed these interagency personnel at all levels in the 
command, including in leadership and management roles.[Footnote 7] 

Figure 3: Projected Composition of AFRICOM's Headquarters Manpower for 
September 30, 2008 (as of Jul 2008): 

This figure is a pie chart showing projected composition of AFRICOM's 
headquarters manpower for September 30, 2008. 

622 military positions: 63%; 
358 DID civilian positions: 35%; 
13 interagency positions: 1%. 

993 total filled positions. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

While AFRICOM expects to fill 622 (97 percent) of its military 
personnel positions by September 30, 2008, it only expects to fill 358 
(54 percent) of its DOD civilian positions, and 13 out of 52 (25 
percent) targeted interagency positions by this time.[Footnote 8] DOD 
officials explained that unlike military positions, hiring civilians 
may include conducting security clearance investigations and overcoming 
the logistics necessary to physically relocate civilians overseas as 
well as other administrative requirements. Figure 4 compares the 
positions DOD has approved for AFRICOM, the targeted interagency 
positions, the command's progress in filling them as of July, 2008, and 
the progress it expects to make by October 1, 2008. 

Figure 4: Staffing Progress at AFRICOM Headquarters (as of July 2008): 

This figure is a combination bar graph showing staffing progress at 
AFRICOM headquarters (as of July 2008). The X axis represents the 
personnel type, and the Y axis represents the number of personnel. 

Personnel type: Military; 
On board as of July 1, 2008: 524; 
Expected on board by October 1, 2008: 662; 
DOD Approved Positions and Targeted Interagency Positions for FY 2009: 
639. 

Personnel type: DOD Civilian; 
On board as of July 1, 2008: 222; 
Expected on board by October 1, 2008: 358; 
DOD Approved Positions and Targeted Interagency Positions for FY 2009: 
665. 

Personnel type: Interagency; 
On board as of July 1, 2008: 11; 
Expected on board by October 1, 2008: 13; 
DOD Approved Positions and Targeted Interagency Positions for FY 2009: 
52. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

In order to meet infrastructure needs, AFRICOM is renovating existing 
facilities in Stuttgart, Germany, to establish an interim headquarters 
at a projected cost of approximately $40 million. DOD also projects an 
investment of approximately $43 million in command, control, 
communications, and computer systems infrastructure to enable AFRICOM 
to monitor and manage the vast array of DOD activities in Africa. 
Decisions related to the location of AFRICOM's permanent headquarters 
and the overall command presence in Africa will be decided at a future 
date; therefore, DOD expects the command will operate from the interim 
headquarters in Germany for the foreseeable future. 

In total, DOD budgeted approximately $125 million to support the 
establishment of AFRICOM during fiscal years 2007 and 2008 and has 
requested nearly $390 million more for fiscal year 2009. This does not 
reflect the full cost of establishing the command over the next several 
years, a cost that is projected to be substantial and could range in 
the billions of dollars. For example, although DOD has not fully 
estimated the additional costs of establishing and operating the 
command, AFRICOM officials said that as the command is further 
developed and decisions are made on its permanent headquarters, it will 
need to construct both enduring facilities and meet other operational 
support requirements. DOD's preliminary estimates for the command's 
future infrastructure and equipping costs over the next several years 
exceed several billion dollars, excluding the cost of activities 
AFRICOM will be performing. 

The progress AFRICOM intends to make in establishing the command by 
September 30, 2008, will provide it a foundation for working toward 
DOD's goal to promote whole-of-government approaches to building the 
capacity of partner nations. However, AFRICOM officials recognize the 
command will need to continue to develop after its September 30, 2008, 
milestone to move beyond episodic security cooperation events to more 
strategic, sustained efforts. The AFRICOM commander has described the 
command as a "Ölistening, growing, and developing organization." In 
addition, senior DOD officials told us that on September 30, 2008, DOD 
does not anticipate that AFRICOM will have the desired interagency 
skill sets, the ability to strategically engage with African countries 
beyond the established level, or the capacity to take on new 
initiatives. 

In addition to DOD's efforts to establish the combatant command, the 
military services and Special Operations Command are also working to 
establish component commands that will be subordinate to 
AFRICOM.[Footnote 9] They are in the process of developing 
organizational structures and determining facilities, personnel, and 
other requirements, such as operational support aircraft, that have yet 
to be fully defined, but could be challenging for the services to meet. 
For example, personnel requirements for each component command range 
from approximately 100 personnel to more than 400, and Army officials 
said they will likely face difficulties in filling positions because 
many of the positions require a certain level of rank or experience 
that is in high demand. At the time that AFRICOM is estimated to reach 
full operational capability (September 30, 2008), only two component 
commands (Navy, Marine Corps) are expected to be fully operational. The 
Army, Air Force, and Special Operations component commands are expected 
to reach full operational capability by October 1, 2009. 

DOD Faces Significant Challenges to Achieve Its Transformational Vision 
of AFRICOM: 

The initial concept for AFRICOM designed and developed by DOD met 
resistance from within the U. S. government and African countries and 
contributed to several implementation challenges. First, AFRICOM has 
had difficulties in filling interagency positions in the command, a 
difficulty that could limit its ability to facilitate collaboration 
with civilian agencies. Second, AFRICOM has encountered concerns from 
civilian agencies, African partners, and nongovernmental organizations 
over what AFRICOM is and what it hopes to accomplish. If not addressed, 
these concerns could limit AFRICOM's ability to develop key 
partnerships in carrying out its mission. Third, DOD has faced 
difficulty attaining agreement with State Department and potential host 
nations on the size, composition, and location of AFRICOM's presence on 
the continent of Africa. Uncertainties related to AFRICOM's presence 
hinder DOD's ability to estimate future funding requirements for 
AFRICOM and raises questions about whether DOD's concept of developing 
enduring relationships on the continent can be achieved: 

Limited Interagency Participation to Date: 

DOD's first challenge to achieving its vision for AFRICOM is in 
integrating personnel from civilian agencies into AFRICOM's command and 
staff structure. According to AFRICOM, strategic success in Africa 
depends on a whole-of-government approach to stability and security. A 
whole-of-government approach necessitates collaboration among federal 
agencies to ensure their activities are synchronized and integrated in 
pursuit of a common goal. Integrating personnel from federal civilian 
agencies is intended to facilitate collaboration among agencies, but 
AFRICOM has had difficulties in filling its interagency positions. 

Unlike liaison positions in other combatant commands, AFRICOM has been 
designed to embed personnel from non-DOD agencies in leadership, 
management, and staff positions at all levels in the command. For 
example, AFRICOM's Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military 
Activities, one of two co-equal Deputies to the Commander, is a senior 
Foreign Service officer from the Department of State. By bringing 
knowledge of their home agencies, personnel from other agencies, such 
as the USAID and the departments of Treasury and Commerce, are expected 
to improve the planning and execution of AFRICOM's plans, programs, and 
activities and to stimulate collaboration among U.S. government 
agencies. 

Initially, DOD established a notional goal of 25 percent of AFRICOM's 
headquarters' staff would be provided by non-DOD agencies. According to 
State officials, however, this goal was not vetted through civilian 
agencies and was not realistic because of the resource limitations in 
civilian agencies. Subsequently, AFRICOM reduced its interagency 
representation to 52 notional interagency positions and as displayed in 
figure 5, would be approximately 4 percent of the AFRICOM staff. As 
previously discussed, however, DOD officials have indicated that the 
target of 52 interagency positions for the command will continue to 
evolve as AFRICOM receives input from other agencies. 

Figure 5: Projected Composition of Manpower for AFRICOM's Headquarters 
When Fully Staffed (as of July, 2008): 

This figure is a pie chart showing projected composition of manpower 
for AFRICOM's headquarters when fully staffed (as of July 2008). 

665 DOD civilian positions: 49%; 
639 military positions: 47%; 
52 interagency positions for AFRICOM's headquarters: 4%. 

[See PDF for image] 

Source: GAO analysis of DOD data. 

[End of figure] 

Even with a reduction in the number of interagency positions, according 
to DOD officials, some civilian agencies have limited personnel 
resources and incompatible personnel systems that have not easily 
accommodated DOD's intent to place interagency personnel in the 
command. AFRICOM is looking to civilian agencies for skills sets that 
it does not have internally, but many of the personnel who have these 
skills sets and experience outside of DOD are in high demand. Officials 
at the State Department, in particular, noted their concern about the 
ability to fill positions left vacant by personnel being detailed to 
AFRICOM since it takes a long time to develop Foreign Service officers 
with the requisite expertise and experience. In fact, according to 
State Department officials, some U.S. embassies in Africa are already 
experiencing shortfalls in personnel, especially at the mid-level. DOD 
officials also said that personnel systems among federal agencies were 
incompatible and do not readily facilitate integrating personnel into 
other agencies, particularly into non-liaison roles. In addition, many 
non-DOD agencies have missions that are domestically focused and 
therefore will need time to determine how best to provide personnel 
support to AFRICOM. To encourage agencies to provide personnel to fill 
positions in AFRICOM, DOD will pay the salaries and expenses for these 
personnel. 

As previously discussed, while DOD has focused initially on 
establishing AFRICOM's headquarters, the services and Special 
Operations Command are also working to establish component commands to 
support AFRICOM, but the extent of interagency participation at these 
commands has not been fully defined. Neither OSD nor AFRICOM has 
provided guidance on whether AFRICOM's component commands should 
integrate interagency representatives, and among the services, plans 
for embedded interagency personnel varied. The Army has proposed 
including four interagency positions in AFRICOM's Army service 
component command, U.S. Army, Africa. Officials from the Office of the 
Secretary of Defense, the Joint Forces Command, Marine Corps, and the 
Air Force stated that component commands would receive interagency 
input from AFRICOM headquarters and embassy country teams. One OSD 
official added that the level of interagency input at the headquarters 
was sufficient because component commands are responsible for executing 
plans developed by the combatant command headquarters where interagency 
personnel would be involved in the planning process. 

In the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review Execution Roadmap, Building 
Partnership Capacity, DOD recognized the importance of a seamless 
integration of U.S. government capabilities by calling for strategies, 
plans, and operations to be coordinated with civilian 
agencies.[Footnote 10] One of AFRICOM's guiding principles is to 
collaborate with U.S. government agencies, host nations, international 
partners, and nongovernmental organizations. AFRICOM officials told us 
that they had not yet developed the mechanisms or structures to ensure 
that their activities were synchronized or integrated with those of 
civilian agencies to ensure a mutually supportive and sustainable 
effort, but would turn their attention to this synchronization after 
October 2008. Barriers to interagency collaboration, however, could 
arise as AFRICOM develops mechanisms, processes, and structures to 
facilitate interagency collaboration, since both AFRICOM and the 
agencies will likely encounter additional challenges that are outside 
their control, such as different planning processes, authorities, and 
diverse institutional cultures. For example, according to State and DOD 
officials, the State Department is focused on bilateral relationships 
with foreign governments through its embassies overseas, while the 
Defense Department is focused regionally through its geographic 
combatant commands. With relatively few interagency personnel on the 
AFRICOM staff, such coordination mechanisms could be critical for the 
command to achieve its vision. 

Stakeholder Concerns Regarding the Command's Mission: 

DOD's second challenge to achieving its vision for AFRICOM is in 
overcoming stakeholder concerns of the command's mission. This could 
limit its ability to develop key partnerships. Since its establishment 
was announced in early 2007, AFRICOM has encountered concerns from U.S. 
civilian agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and African partners 
about what AFRICOM is and what it hopes to accomplish in Africa. Many 
of the concerns from U.S. government agencies, nongovernmental 
organizations, and African partners stem from their interpretations of 
AFRICOM's intended mission and goals. Although DOD has often stated 
that AFRICOM is intended to support, not lead, U.S. diplomatic and 
development efforts in Africa, State Department officials expressed 
concern that AFRICOM would become the lead for all U.S. government 
activities in Africa, even though the U.S. embassy leads decision- 
making on U.S. government non-combat activities conducted in that 
country. Other State and USAID officials noted that the creation of 
AFRICOM could blur traditional boundaries among diplomacy, development, 
and defense, thereby militarizing U.S. foreign policy. An organization 
that represents U.S.-based international nongovernmental organizations 
told us that many nongovernmental organizations shared the perception 
that AFRICOM would militarize U.S. foreign aid and lead to greater U.S. 
military involvement in humanitarian assistance. Nongovernmental 
organizations are concerned that this would put their aid workers at 
greater risk if their activities are confused or associated with U.S. 
military activities. Among African countries, there is apprehension 
that AFRICOM will be used as an opportunity to increase the number of 
U.S. troops and military bases in Africa. African leaders also 
expressed concerns to DOD that U.S. priorities in Africa may not be 
shared by their governments. For example, at a DOD-sponsored 
roundtable, a group of U.S.-based African attachťs identified their 
most pressing security issues were poverty, food shortages, inadequate 
educational opportunities, displaced persons, and HIV/AIDS, while they 
perceived U.S. priorities were focused on combating terrorism and 
weakened states. 

One factor contributing to persistent concerns among U.S. government 
agencies, non governmental organizations, and African partners is the 
evolution of how DOD has characterized AFRICOM's unique mission and 
goals. Between February 2007 and May 2008 AFRICOM's mission statement 
went through several iterations that ranged in its emphasis on 
humanitarian-oriented activities to more traditional military programs. 
According to an official from an organization representing 
nongovernmental organizations, the emphasis on humanitarian assistance 
as part of AFRICOM's mission early on contributed to their fears that 
AFRICOM would be engaged in activities that are traditionally the 
mission of civilian agencies and organizations. Additionally, the 
discussion of AFRICOM's mission evolved from highlighting its whole-of- 
government approach to referring to it as a bureaucratic reorganization 
within DOD. When articulating its vision for AFRICOM, DOD also used 
language that did not translate well to African partners and civilian 
agency stakeholders. For civilian agencies use of the words 
"integrating U.S. government activities" led to concerns over AFRICOM's 
assuming leadership in directing all U.S. government efforts. Likewise, 
DOD's use of the term "combatant command" led some African partners to 
question whether AFRICOM was focused on non-warfighting activities. 
State Department officials said that they had difficulty in responding 
to African concerns because of their own confusion over AFRICOM's 
intended mission and goals. 

Another factor contributing to concerns over AFRICOM's mission and 
goals can be attributed to unclear roles and responsibilities. Although 
DOD has long been involved in humanitarian and stability-related 
activities, AFRICOM's emphasis on programs that prevent conflict in 
order to foster dialogue and development has put a spotlight on an 
ongoing debate over the appropriate role of the U.S. military in non- 
combat activities. Consequently, civilian agencies are concerned about 
the overlap of DOD missions with their own and what impact DOD's role 
may have on theirs. DOD is currently conducting a mission analysis to 
help define roles and responsibilities between AFRICOM and civilian 
agencies operating in Africa, but broader governmentwide consensus on 
these issues has not been reached. 

An additional factor contributing to U.S. government perceptions that 
AFRICOM could militarize U.S. foreign policy is in part based on DOD's 
vast resources and capacity compared to the civilian agencies. Civilian 
agencies and some African partners are concerned that the strategic 
focus AFRICOM could bring to the continent would result in AFRICOM 
supplanting civilian planning and activities. One USAID official told 
us that an increase in funding executed by AFRICOM could change the 
dynamic in relationships among U.S. federal agencies and in 
relationships between individual U.S. agencies and African partners. 

Uncertainty about DOD Presence in Africa: 

DOD has not yet reached agreement with the State Department and 
potential host nations on the structure and location of AFRICOM's 
presence in Africa. Initially, an important goal of AFRICOM was to 
establish a command presence in Africa that would provide a regional 
approach to African security and complement DOD's representation in 
U.S. embassies. AFRICOM is planning to increase its representation in 
11 U.S. embassies by establishing new offices to strengthen bilateral 
military-to-military relationships. It is also planning to establish 
regional offices in five locations on the continent that would align 
with the five regional economic communities in Africa. DOD, however, 
has faced difficulty reaching agreement with the State Department on 
AFRICOM's future presence on the continent. Therefore, AFRICOM will be 
based in Stuttgart, Germany, for the foreseeable future and plans to 
focus on increasing its representatives in embassies until decisions on 
the structure and location of AFRICOM's presence are made. In testimony 
to the Congress in March of this year, the AFRICOM Commander stated 
that he considers command presence in Africa an important issue, but 
states that it is not considered a matter of urgency. 

DOD officials have previously stated that the command's presence in 
Africa was important. Specifically, DOD officials have indicated that 
the structure and location of AFRICOM's presence in Africa is important 
because being located in Africa would provide AFRICOM staff with a more 
comprehensive understanding of the regional environment and African 
needs. Second, having staff located in Africa would help the command 
build relationships and partnerships with African nations and the 
regional economic communities and associated regional standby forces. 
Enduring relationships are an important aspect of building African 
partner security capacity and in successfully planning and executing 
programs and activities. Third, regional offices are intended to 
promote a regional dimension to U.S. security assistance through their 
coordination with DOD representatives who manage these programs in 
multiple U.S. embassies. As DOD continues to evolve its plans for a 
presence in Africa and decisions involving presence are delayed, DOD 
officials have indicated that other coordinating mechanisms may be 
established as a substitute for a physical presence on the continent. 

In addition, senior DOD officials have stated that preparing budget 
estimates for future fiscal years is difficult without an agreed upon 
AFRICOM presence on the continent. For example, although DOD requested 
$20 million in fiscal year 2009 to begin establishing the presence in 
Africa, AFRICOM has not been able to identify total funding 
requirements for headquarters infrastructure and operations in Africa. 
Furthermore, a senior official from the Office of the Secretary of 
Defense for Program Analysis and Evaluation stated that AFRICOM's 
future presence in Africa was one of the most important policy 
decisions that could affect the ability of the department to estimate 
future costs for the command. For example, in developing the fiscal 
year 2009 budget request, DOD estimated the costs to operate the 
interim headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany, was approximately $183 
million, but these costs may change significantly, according to DOD 
officials, if the headquarters were located in an African country with 
more limited infrastructure than currently available in Stuttgart, 
Germany. Therefore, without an agreed-upon U.S. government strategy for 
establishing AFRICOM's presence on the continent of Africa that is 
negotiated with and supported by potential host nations, the 
potentially significant fiscal implications of AFRICOM's presence and 
impact on its ability to develop relationships and partnerships at the 
regional and local levels will remain unclear. 

Concluding Observations: 

As AFRICOM nears the October 2008 date slated for reaching full 
operational capability, DOD is working to shape expectations for the 
emergent command--both inside and outside the United States. Confronted 
by concerns from other U.S. agencies and African partners, AFRICOM is 
focused on assuming existing military missions while building capacity 
for the future. The ultimate role of AFRICOM in promoting a whole-of- 
government approach to stability and security on the continent is still 
uncertain, but initial expectations that the command would represent a 
dramatic shift in U.S. approach to security in Africa are being scaled 
back. Two key precepts of the command--that it would have significant 
interagency participation and would be physically located in Africa to 
engage partners there--will not be realized in the near term. Looking 
to the future, the difficulties encountered in staffing the command, 
sorting out the military's role in policy, and establishing a presence 
in Africa are emblematic of deeper cultural and structural issues 
within the U.S. government. Having such a command will likely help DOD 
focus military efforts on the African continent, but the extent to 
which an integrated approach is feasible remains unclear. Over the next 
few years, DOD intends to invest billions in this new command-- 
including devoting hundreds of staff--and sustained attention will be 
needed to ensure that this substantial investment pays off over time. 

Mr. Chairman, this concludes my prepared statement. We would be happy 
to answer any questions you may have. 

GAO Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments: 

For questions regarding this testimony, please call John Pendleton at 
(202) 512-3489 or pendletonj@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of 
Congressional Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last 
page of this testimony. Other key contributors to this statement were 
Robert L. Repasky, Tim Burke, Leigh Caraher, Grace Colemen, Taylor 
Matheson, Lonnie McAllister, and Amber Simco. 

[End of section] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Security cooperation activities are defined as military activity 
that involves other nations and are intended to shape the operational 
environment in peacetime. Activities include programs and exercises 
that the U.S. military conducts with other nations to improve mutual 
understanding and improve interoperability with treaty partners or 
potential coalition partners. These activities are designed to support 
a combatant commander's theater strategy as articulated in the theater 
security cooperation plan. 

[2] DOD defines AFRICOM's full operational capability as "the date 
USAFRICOM attains its ability to singularly or collaboratively (through 
the use of reachback or pre-arranged cooperative agreements) execute 
all Africa-based contingency plans, African components of existing 
regional war on terror operations orders, other operations; plan and 
conduct newly assigned missions with its defined area of 
responsibility; and develop new initiatives." 

[3] AFRICOM's area of responsibility will include the African continent 
and its island nations, with the exception of Egypt. Egypt will remain 
within U.S. Central Command's area of responsibility, and AFRICOM and 
U.S. Central Command will have overlapping but distinct relationships 
with Egypt, which will be addressed under separate memoranda of 
agreement. 

[4] For simplicity, we refer to these missions, activities, programs, 
and exercises collectively as "activities." 

[5] The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa was formed to work 
with Horn of Africa governments to promote capacity building, support 
professionalization of militaries, and counter the proliferation of 
terrorism. 

[6] Operation Enduring Freedom-Trans Sahara is designed to strengthen 
the ability of regional governments to police large expanses of remote 
terrain in the Trans-Sahara 

[7] We have previously reported that interagency coordination groups in 
the U.S. European, Central, and Pacific commands had ranged from 5 to 7 
non-DOD representatives. See Military Operations: Actions Needed to 
Improve DOD's Stability Operations Approach and Enhance Interagency 
Planning, GAO-07-549 (Washington, D.C.: May 31, 2007). 

[8] Recently, DOD officials have indicated that the notional goal of 52 
interagency positions for the command is now being reassessed and may 
change based on input from other agencies as they learn more about the 
AFRICOM and the role non-DOD personnel will be asked to perform within 
the command. 

[9] AFRICOM will have four service component commands and a Theater 
Special Operations Command. They are: U.S. Army Africa (USARAF); U.S. 
Naval Forces, Africa (USNAVAFRICA); U.S. Marine Forces, Africa 
(USMARFORAFRICA); U.S. Air Forces Africa Command (USAFAC); and Special 
Operations Command, Africa (SOCAFRICA). 

[10] Department of Defense, Building Partnership Capacity, QDR 
Execution Roadmap (May 2006). 

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