[Dehai-WN] Africom.mil: TRANSCRIPT: AFRICOM Commander Ham Discusses African Security with Defense Writers

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From: Berhane Habtemariam (Berhane.Habtemariam@gmx.de)
Date: Fri Sep 16 2011 - 14:38:02 EDT

TRANSCRIPT: AFRICOM Commander Ham Discusses African Security with Defense

U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs
Stuttgart, Germany,

Sep 16, 2011 — The commander of U.S. Africa Command told journalists that in
his travels through Africa he is guided by two main principles: A safe,
stable, and secure Africa is the best interest of Africans as well as the
United States; and that Africans are best able to address their own security

"The two principles that I talk about as I travel around Africa are the two
things that I think guide us -- the overarching principles," U.S. AFRICOM's
General Carter Ham told more than two dozen journalists at a roundtable
meeting with the Defense Writers Group on September 14, 2011, in Washington,

The first principle "is just a simple statement that a safe, stable and
secure Africa is in the best interest not only of the Africans but of the
United States of America," Ham said. "I don't think we should be shy about
saying that. ... So it's very clear to me, that simple statement. It's best
for us. It's also best for the Africans if African countries are safe,
stable and secure.

The second guiding principle, Ham said, is that "it is Africans who are best
able to address African security matters."

In the hour-long meeting, Ham was asked to address a wide range of issues,
including regime change in Libya, threats by violent extremist groups
associated with al-Qaida, and about the effects of U.S. defense budget cuts
on his organization.

Ham said AFRICOM must be prepared to conduct a "full spectrum" of military
activities and operations, but the command continues to focus on enabling
the effectiveness of African militaries, regional security organizations,
and the African Union.

"So we do remain focused on building partner capacity, on sharing
information, on cooperative exercises, increasingly focused -- focusing our
efforts on the African Union regional economic committees and their military
standby forces to help build a regional capacity for the African Union," Ham

However, any nations prefer to work quietly with the U.S. military, Ham
said. "And that's OK," he said " ... That's their prerogative. I'm not
interested in U.S. Africa Command getting a lot of credit for what we do.
That's not particularly relevant to me. What's important is, if we can
contribute in meaningful ways, both in a bilateral basis and a regional
basis, to helping Africans become increasingly self-secure, then that's a
good way ahead for us."

Following is a full transcript of the event:

Defense Writers Group
Washington, D.C.
September 14, 2011

ADAM HEBERT, MODERATOR: Well, we do seem to have a quorum here, so we'll go
ahead and get started and make full use of the general's time.


MR. HEBERT: Our guest today obviously is General Carter Ham. He's the
commander of the U.S. Africa Command.

Sir, thank you for coming in today.

GEN. HAM: Absolutely.

MR. HEBERT: We have 65 minutes today. We will be on the record. Because of
the large group, we will do one question and one quick follow up as time
permits. We'll try to get through everybody, but no promises here.

General, I'll go ahead and begin. If I could simplify things a bit, when
U.S. Africa Command was established, its expected mission was going to
center around training and advising and airlifts and a lot of support-type
missions. Obviously the Libya operation has taken a lot of attention and
effort, led by the Europeans, of course, but a major U.S. presence there as

What has the Libya operation taught you about your command? What's going
well and what do you need to change for the future?

GEN. HAM: I think that's a great question. And I have to admit that when I
first -- when then-Secretary Gates told me that he was going to recommend
that I go to Africa Command, if you'd have asked me then, you know, do you
think you're going to be involved in military operations in Libya, I
probably would have said, What are you talking about?

And even on the 9th of March, when I had the good fortune of backfilling Kip
Ward as the commander, it was, I think, very uncertain as to what was going
to unfold in Libya. And then things obviously rolled pretty quickly from

I think for the command, as then the new guy at the command, I don't think
that Africa Command ever really thought of themselves as a command that
conducted and led those kinds of operations. General Ward saw this coming,
saw the possibility of this coming, and started moving the command in that
direction to be prepared for that. And I inherited the good work that he

Now that we're kind of six months down the road on this business, as you
look back on that, I think the greatest lesson for me and for the
headquarters and the staff is: Combatant commands don't get to choose their
missions. We often use this term "full spectrum," and I think that's what we
learned, is that geographic combatant commands must be full-spectrum

And while Africa Command is principally focused on engagement and
military-to-military activities and training and exercising and those kinds
of things, we must always retain the capability to do the higher-end
operations, though that's obviously not the preferred way to do that.

MR. HEBERT: OK, we'll begin right across with Bob and then John.


Q: Good morning.

GEN. HAM: He waited until you took a bite and then --

(Cross talk.)

Q: I'm surprised you haven't made any comments about the rocks you're
facing, General. But anyway, I was.

More on Libya. I guess the obvious question for me anyway is, based on
what's transpired since Qadhafi went into hiding and so forth, how soon do
you think NATO will be able to disengage from Libya? Will he have to be
captured or killed first? And do you have sort of residual concerns about
al-Qaida in Libya?

GEN. HAM: Yeah, obviously it's for NATO and the U.S. as a member to have
that discussion. The current mandate ends here pretty quickly -- I think the
27th, I believe. And so the North Atlantic Council, the Military Committee
will have to have those discussions about, you know, do they extend the
mandate? If so, for how long and under what conditions? And, unsurprisingly,
I'm not privy to those kinds of discussions.

But it's clear to me that at some point, whether it's -- whether it's the
end of September or whether it's, you know, some period of renewal of the
operation by NATO, NATO's probably -- they're probably closer to the end of
Operation Unified Protector than they are to the beginning. So the question
then is, what next? And what follows NATO's involvement?

I think I read something yesterday or this morning that indicated that the
United Nations obviously should have a very significant role in
post-conflict Libya. And I think they're looking for actors probably other
than NATO to take a leading role. But I think that's all very much

I did have the good fortune of attending a conference in Doha, Qatar, a few
weeks ago to kind of talk about, you know, from a military and security
standpoint, with leaders of the National Transitional Council, you know,
what we see as the way ahead. And it gets to the second part of your
question, Bob, and that is, what's the role of -- what do we see as the role
of violent extremist organizations in Libya kind of post-Qadhafi?

It's a very legitimate concern. And, you know, there are -- there are
organizations -- you know, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, the Libyan
Muslim Brotherhood, others that certainly warrant a degree of examination,
and I think a dialogue between the United States and many other nations,
with the National Transitional Council, to say, hey, we've just got to be
very -- we have to be very careful. And it is a very legitimate concern of
ours. I mean, we have seen points in Libya in past years used as transit
points for foreign fighters and the like. And just to make sure that that
segment doesn't re-emerge and doesn't become a part of the interim
government or any subsequent government.

While in Doha, Chairman Jalil and many others I think addressed that, and I
think in his subsequent public comments has addressed that, that they
recognize that the concern of extremists being present in the government and
that they'll obviously seek to not have that, but on the other hand they do
want an inclusive government, and we think they ought to have an inclusive
government. So it's a bit of tension.

And then, lastly, I would say that in travels in the region, in the
neighboring countries over the past several months, the presence of
extremist organizations in Libya and expanding their influence is a concern
not only of the U.S. but certainly of the regional states as well.

So it's a very legitimate concern and one that we'll have to work
collaboratively, I think, with all the partners on.

Q: Just a quick follow up. Is the whereabouts and the future of possession
of antiaircraft weaponry more of a concern -- concern to you?

GEN. HAM: Yeah.

Q: What do you know about --

GEN. HAM: There are kind of -- I would categorize the ... Three categories
of weapons, of the proliferation of weapons from Libya, are concerning to
me. And, for me, at the top of the list would be MANPADs just because of the
threat of their use that could result if those get into extremist
organizations' hands.

I think, as you all know, that, you know, the Department of State has led an
effort -- regionally has met with most of the regional countries, trying to
craft a way ahead. I've actually been pretty encouraged by engagement again
with the regional partners. They recognized the risk that this runs, and
it's been heartening, actually, to see a greater degree of collaboration, of
intel sharing, border security cooperation, those kinds of things, to try to
stem this flow of MANPADs. So that, to me, is the first category that's at
the top of the list.

Second would be just the conventional munitions and explosives that could be
the components of improvised explosive devices, and if not controlled -- you
know, gets under the control of al-Qaida in the lands of the Islamic
Maghreb, or Boko Haram or al-Shabab -- and there's lots of those kinds of
munitions and explosives, so the security of them -- of those materials I
think would be a second category.

And third are the residual components of chemicals. We know, you know,
before March there was an ongoing effort by the office of -- what is it, the
office of the prohibition of chemical weapons -- the [Organization for the]
Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that were demilling and destroying these
weapons, but they didn't complete it -- or not weapons but the materials.
They didn't complete it, so some of those materials remain. And so there's a
very great concern about, you know, the security of that material. It's not
weaponized -- it's not easily weaponized, but nonetheless we want to make
sure that the OPCW gets back in there and completes the destruction of the
remaining materials.

Q: Thanks.

MR. HEBERT: OK -- John Tirpak.

Q: General, could you give us a quick rundown on what the level of effort is
right now by the U.S. Air Forces and the supporting forces for Unified
Protector and tell us whether that's been a steady-state effort, kind of a
steady level of effort or whether it's been up or down, and whether it's now
tailing off?

GEN. HAM: I would start by saying I think you all recognize that I do not
have an operational role in Libya. That's the Unified Protector and NATO and
the task force in Naples that is managing that. And the U.S. forces that are
supporting Unified Protector are under the U.S. operational control of
European Command --

Q: Right.

GEN. HAM: -- because of EUCOM's linkages with NATO.

(Cross talk.)

GEN. HAM: Yes. So I'm a peripheral observer of this, so I don't have the
details of, you know, how many platforms and what missions they're flying
and all that kind of business. But as a very interested observer in all of
this, you know, it's something that is quite interesting to me.

What it seems to -- what seems to me to be happening, certainly over the
past few weeks, is that, collectively, Unified Protector is doing more
collection, more surveillance and monitoring than they are doing strikes.
Those strikes do continue if they find appropriate targets to do that.

But I think it's -- more and more assets I think are dedicated to helping
the Joint Task Force commander and the Joint Force commander in Naples,
Admiral Locklear, who many of you know, maintain a better understanding of
the situation on the ground.

So, again, I don't know the specifics, but I think that -- to me that's been
an apparent bit of a shift of less -- less assets dedicated -- U.S. assets
were mostly in collection and assisting and targeting -- I think, now is
less about targeting and more about gaining situational awareness as this
very fluid situation starts to unfold.

It's a really tough mission. As I talked with Admiral Locklear and those
guys, you know, in the early days of this when the Libyan regime forces were
operating in essentially conventional military formations and vehicles and
tanks and personnel carriers and what have you, it was fairly easy to
discern, you know, who were the opposition, who were the civilians, who were
the regime military.

That's virtually indistinguishable now, and it's a really complicated
environment in which to operate.

Q: To the degree that you were aware of it, was there ever a shortage of
equipment, or did everything that the U.S. -- everything that the U.S. was
asked to provide, was it able to provide, or was there a lot of trading out
and swapping and shifting things around?

GEN. HAM: Of course, no commander would ever say they have enough assets.
Everybody always wants more. But, you know, as the campaign began in the
middle of March, I was confident that, in those days Odyssey Dawn, had the
capabilities necessary to accomplish the mission that we were assigned.

This will be unsurprising to you. You know, the highest priority for me for
additional assets were in intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. We
had plenty of strike assets in those days, but you can always use -- and
commanders will always want -- more ISR to better understand the area in
which they're operating.

When the shift occurred to NATO and the transition occurred to NATO, and the
U.S. decision was that the United States would contribute to Operation
Unified Protector, principally U.S.-unique military capabilities -- I
actually think that was a pretty good decision. Again, there was no shortage
of strike aircraft. There were plenty of assets that could drop bombs and do
that. Again --

Q: Well, I was thinking about tankers and ISR.

GEN. HAM: Yeah, the tankers -- I think the U.S. commitment of tankers -- I'm
unaware that any -- that any air operation was curtailed or constrained by a
shortage of tankers. I'm not aware that that has occurred.

ISR is tougher because, again, there's always tradeoffs, not just the U.S.
but other nations that contribute. And I'm sure Admiral Locklear and the JTF
commander would say, yeah, I would like more. And it causes -- but you have
to prioritize what you do have and say, OK, these are the most important
areas for me to collect.

I think the kind of -- you know, two months ago when the U.S. added
Predators, that was a very significant capability add to Unified Protector.
I think it's been put to very, very good use.

Q: Thank you.

GEN. HAM: But other nations have added too. You know, the French and British
helicopters, I think, were a very significant change and added technical
capability that enhanced the JTF commander's ability.

Q: Thank you.

MR.HEBERT: OK, we'll go over here to Dave and then Mark.

Q: Yes, I understand that there has been a brisk trade of energy for weapons
between China and Africa. Now, we know that the Russian -- that Russian
companies sold the SA-24 to the Libyans, and we know the Russians sold SA-18
to Eritrea that ended up in Somalia. But what chance do we have with what
the Chinese have been introducing to Africa in the way of arms, and were
they involved in sales to Libya?

GEN. HAM: I think it's uncertain with regard to Libya. I mean, my
understanding is that the Chinese have been asked, you know, have you done
this, but I don't know what the response to that has been. In other places
in Africa, it's very clear that the Chinese, like us and like many others,
are engaged in supporting African militaries with equipment.

I don't -- as a commander of U.S. AFRICOM, I don't see that as a military
competition, if you will, between us and China. As an example, we believe
the Chinese recently provided to the Democratic Republic of Congo a number
of riverine craft for their security forces. I actually think that's pretty
helpful. That's a capability that they need. It's not a capability that we
possess. So it actually can be pretty helpful.

There are a number of African nations who fly Chinese aircraft, have Chinese
maritime patrol vessels and the like. And I don't see that, again, as a
military competition but rather African nations making decisions about, you
know, where is the -- where can they best find a supply of the material and
equipment that they need to accomplish their objectives?

Now, I'm a U.S. guy, so would I prefer for them to have all U.S. stuff?
Absolutely. That makes it easier for us to engage and all the rest of that
kind of stuff, but the Africans will make decisions that are best for them.
And, again, I don't see that as a military competition between us.

Q: But you said number one on your list of concerns in Libya was where the
SAMs are going, the MANPADs. Are you aware of the Chinese introducing any
MANPADs into Africa?

GEN. HAM: I'm rolling this back in my brain to see if I know of any specific
instances. And I don't, off the -- I mean, I would like to go back and look
through my data, but off the top of my head, I don't know about MANPADs.

I do know that the Chinese, and I think other nations, have been asked by a
number of organizations -- said, hey, it would be helpful if we knew what
you did provide to Libya so we can have a more accurate baseline, and then
kind of go from there to say, OK, how do we best account for this? But off
the top of my head, I can't -- I don't recall Chinese MANPADs.

MR. HEBERT : OK, Mark Thompson and then (???? Ph).

Q: General, I know that it's tough for an Army general to take a
high-altitude look at something, but I want to take you higher.

Success turns lessons into templates. As you look at Libya, the first two
weeks were a U.S. show. We had B-1s, B-2s taking off from CONUS. And then it
was handed off pretty much to NATO.

Is this a way of war in the future? Is this a unique circumstance that only
lent itself to this particular case? Or are there things that worked there
in that sort of two-step process that might be applicable in the future?

GEN. HAM: I think the latter. I think there are things that clearly Africa
Command has learned from this -- from Odyssey Dawn and then the transition
to NATO and Unified Protector that will be instructive for future military
activities, not only in Africa but in other places.

But it would be wrong, in my opinion, to say this is now the template, this
is the model that we will follow. It is -- as all military operations are,
they are condition-specific. And in this particular condition, this seems to
be about the best way ahead.

I will make two points. One is I think we go back to the origin of, you
know, what started all of this, and U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973
and the protect-civilians role was a little different than, I think any
other kind of operation we've engaged in, at least in my recent memory.
Again, I don't know, you know, is that precedent setting now? I think that's
for the U.N. to decide.

But I think for us -- and as the U.S. commander who had to get this thing
started, I remain very confident that had the U.N. not made that decision,
had the U.S. not taken the lead with great support from France and the U.K.
and Norway and Denmark and a host of others, I'm absolutely convinced that
there would be many, many people in Benghazi who are alive today who would
not be. So I think that piece of this is instructive.

The other piece that I think is important is to remember how we were able to
do this. This came about in pretty short order and unfolded quite quickly.
And one of the reasons that I think the U.S. was able to respond very
quickly was the presence, almost exclusively in European Command, of air and
maritime forces that were flexible and able to respond pretty quickly, great
support from NATO allies and several other nations for basing and
overflight, and in many cases contribution of forces.

So it was a great international effort, and there's probably something to be
learned from that, how to -- you know, from the U.S. standpoint, you know,
we're pretty practiced at doing big military operations with our NATO
allies. We brought in some non-NATO participants, but we have NATO framework
for that.

How do you do that in other parts of the world where you don't have that
standing alliance, I think, is something that we need to think seriously
about, and how do you bring together a multinational coalition without the
standing agreements and interoperability practices that NATO has?

Q: Is it totally unremarkable now in hindsight that a woman ran the air war
for the first two weeks?

GEN. HAM: I think it's unremarkable that she's a woman. I think it's
remarkable what she accomplished. Yeah, I don't -- yeah, I don't think
there's anything -- I wouldn't make any more of that other than she did an
absolutely fantastic job, and continues to do a fantastic job as the Air
Component Command for Africa.

And as I've traveled with her in Africa a couple of places and meet with air
chiefs and others, I think -- again, my sense is that they're struck by her
competence, her professionalism, and not really concerned that she's a

MR. HEBERT : OK. To your right, sir -- Sandra Irwin, and then Christian.

Q: Thank you. I wanted to ask you about the budget. Former Secretary Gates
and Admiral Mullen have told us repeatedly that one of the big challenges
they have had in controlling expenses is the combatant commanders' staffs or
contractors, support (inaudible) they called it.

Have you been asked to have AFRICOM cut back on staff, contractors, things
like that? And how much? And how would that impact your functions and doing
your job?

GEN. HAM: We haven't been given any specific, you know, reduce your level of
contractor support by X, or reduce your manning by Y or anything like that.
But it's clear to me that we do have to look at ourselves very closely and
say, you know, are we most effectively and efficiently applying the
resources that we've been -- that we have been given?

There is a general trend toward, where it makes sense, to reduce reliance on
contractors. For us at Africa Command, the single largest contingent of
contractors are in our intelligence support, both in Stuttgart and in
Molesworth in the U.K. And we have a small contingent still in Tampa that
coordinates with the U.S. Central Command.

But that's our biggest chunk of contractors, and we're constantly looking at
that to say, you know, is there a way to be more efficient and reduce, at
least to a degree, the reliance on contractors? So we'll keep wrestling with

But to date, no specific, you know, direction to reduce by an amount but
clearly an intent to do so.

Q: How would you replace contractors, because we're told that all the
resources have gone to Central Command, which means AFRICOM would be a lower
priority? So how would you be able to get enough personnel to make up for
the contractors?

GEN. HAM: Yeah, I think -- well, obviously, you know, Central Command is the
priority effort but not the exclusive effort. You know, particularly in
countering violent extremists, Africa Command has received a pretty good
priority and level of support.

I think the challenge for us is, again, how do we -- across the intelligence
community and across the intelligence enterprise, how do we best leverage
all those capabilities to the degree we can to reduce redundancy so that we
don't have a number of different agencies and organizations performing the
same tasks?

How do we leverage reach-back? You know, do I have to have somebody
physically present with me, or am I comfortable reaching back to the Defense
Intelligence Agency, to other intelligence organizations, and relying upon
their analysis and support?

So we're working our way through all of that -- what can we share with
European Command, with Central Command, Southern Command and others with
whom we operate closely? Again to reduce redundancy.

It is perhaps intelligence and aviation, probably special operations forces,
are the three -- I would say probably the three areas where the heavy
commitment of those capabilities into the -- appropriately into the CENTCOM
area of responsibility is the most difficult challenge.

Some of you remember, in a previous life I was the director for operations
on the Joint Staff, so I'm kind of one of those that was supportive of
priority going to CENTCOM, and I think that's still right. But, again, it
doesn't mean exclusively to CENTCOM. And we do a lot of things together.

Djibouti is a good example of that, where we worked very closely with
Central Command -- and, again, if we can share intelligence assets rather
than having our -- each of us have our stand-alone capabilities, there's
some benefit in that.

Mr. HEBERT: OK. Christian Lowe.

Q: General, you said in answer to your first question that the Libya
operation sort of demonstrated to your command that you had to be ready for
the full spectrum of operations; you had to retain the ability to do the
higher-end operation. Let's get more specific about that. What have you
implemented or what are you going to implement? What sort of changes are you
going to make to your command that better prepares you to engage in that
kind of operations?

GEN. HAM: Most specifically, it was kinetic targeting, which was not
something that we had practiced. We didn't have a great capability honed and
refined inside the organization, and Odyssey Dawn caused us to really work
in that regard. And then --

Q: What does that mean? I'm sorry. What does that mean?

GEN. HAM: The refinement and the very precise analysis of what's a defined
-- you know, what are the effects that I want to achieve as the commander?
Then what specific targets will contribute to achieving that effect?

And so you get into the very precise application of, OK, here is a
communications node. What does it do? How does it connect with other places?
What would be the right munition to use against that target? What's the
collateral damage likelihood? What's the right time of day? What's the right
weapon to use? What's the right delivery platform to use against that? How
do you synchronize it?

That level of detail and precision for kinetic targeting -- dropping bombs,
Tomahawks, those kinds of things, was not something the command had
practiced to the degree that we were required to do in Odyssey Dawn. It came
pretty quickly. Again, this will be unsurprising to you. You know, most of
the intelligence analysts, most of the targeteers across the United States
military, have done this in previous deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and
other places, so they know how to do it, but collectively, Africa Command
had not previously done this.

So we got up to that capability pretty quickly. The question for us now is,
how do we sustain that so that if we would have to do this again we start at
a higher plateau than we were previously?

Q: What else? Anything else?

GEN. HAM: Interoperablity. I mean, we very quickly had a very large
coalition, and how do you synchronize those efforts? Particularly, again, of
the non-NATO folks, the folks that we have not traditionally worked with.
And for us in AFRICOM, that's especially important because, you know, we
need to craft those same practices with our African partners. So if we were
to do a joint airlift activity, for example, how do we make sure that we can
do so effectively -- air traffic control, airfield management, those kinds
of activities with our African partners?

And then, lastly, I would say in the maritime domain, the same kind of
thing, is when you bring a number of different nations together, many of
whom have not worked together previously. How do you get to a capability
that's necessary in very short order? We're having some good success in West
Africa, the Gulf of Guinea, and increasing our maritime cooperation there.

And I think the lessons that we learned in the early days of Odyssey Dawn
are helping us to facilitate that.

MR. HEBERT : To the left here. Thom Shanker.

Q: Thanks. Great.

Earlier in this discussion, General, you mentioned your concerns the
upheaval in Libya was opening the door to violent extremism there. Could you
widen the aperture and look across your vast AOR and give us a status report
of the various militant extremist groups?

Has the Arab Spring uprising increased opportunities for al-Qaida and the
Islamic Maghreb, the al-Shabab, and even in Northern Nigeria? I guess, what
do you think of these intelligence reports that say that as al-Qaida's
central leadership in Pakistan is weaker, that all these affiliate groups
are trying to coalesce perhaps in Africa to be the new center of gravity --

GEN. HAM: Well, Thom, we could talk for a couple of hours about how I see
that unfolding in Africa, but I think -- you know, yesterday Mr. Vickers
talked about that, that al-Qaida main may be somewhat diminished but the
affiliates, both acknowledged and those who would like to be affiliated, may
be gaining in capacity. And that's what I see in Africa and that's what
concerns me in Africa.

And we have three primary groups that we deal with, and these are the ones
that you know about. It's al-Shabab in East Africa, al-Qaida in the lands of
the Islamic Maghreb in the Sahel, and then Boko Haram. Each of those three
independently, I think, presents a significant threat not only in the many
nations in which they primarily operate, but regionally. And I think they
present a threat to the United States.

They have at least -- at least three of those -- those three organizations
have very explicitly and publicly voiced an intent to target Westerners, and
the U.S. specifically. I have questions about their capability to do so. I
have no question about their intent to do so. And that to me is very

And so, if I was just those three organizations, that would be troubling
enough to me. What's of greater concern, actually, is the voiced intent of
the three organizations to more closely collaborate and synchronize their
efforts. And we're seeing this intent voiced most clearly between AQIM and
Boko Haram.

They've expressed an interest in sharing training and operations and those
kinds of activities, and that to me is very, very worrying. It seems to me
that the connections with al-Shabab are probably more idealistic than
realistic at this point, but just the fact that they want to connect is

So we could, if left unaddressed -- then you could have a network that
ranges from East Africa through the center and into the Sahel and Maghreb,
and I think that would be very, very worrying. So, what do we do about that?

Well, the issue is we work with our regional partners. And, again, the
president said it best in Ghana a few years ago. You know, what we seek to
enable are African solutions to African security challenges. The Africans
are better at addressing this than we are. In some cases they need some
assistance, and where we can provide that, we seek to do so to help them
counter that.

An example of that would be, perhaps, in Mali, which is a tough place for
AQIM. And the Malians have asked for some help in training and equipping
their forces to counter AQIM. We're doing that. We're glad to do so. And we
think we are contributing in a meaningful way to increasing Mali's

I'm also struck -- and I would just tell you, in a fairly recent visit to
Mauritania, the chief of the Mauritanian armed forces -- they've also been a
great partner in countering AQIM. His comment to me, it really stayed with
me. And after long discussion, you know, he said, hey, we need a little bit
of assistance. You know, Mauritania is not a wealthy country. They need a
little bit of assistance. He said, but what we need more than assistance is

And I thought that was a pretty sophisticated approach to this. The Africans
want to take responsibility. They do take responsibility. In some cases, you
know, they do need a little bit of help, but what they're really looking for
is, you know, what are ways that we can partner and collaborate and address
our shared security interests together? And I thought that that was a pretty
good way of thinking about this.

MR. HEBERT: OK, let's go down to the far left.

Q: General, to what degree has the U.S. military deployed armed UAVs over

GEN. HAM: I'm sorry?

Q: To what degree has the U.S. military deployed armed UAVs over Somalia?

GEN. HAM: That's not something I'm willing to talk about publicly.

Q: And can you walk us through why you can't?

GEN. HAM: I mean, I think it's -- the U.S. conducts sensitive operations in
a lot of places, and I think the less we talk about that publically, the
better off we all are. I like -- I like the fact that al-Shabab and other
extremist leaders in some parts of the world don't know where we are, what
we might do, what we are doing, what we're not doing. I think it's
beneficial for us for them to not know.

MR. HEBERT: Want to try another?

Q: No, that's good. Thank you. (Laughter.)

MR. HEBERT: Mike, go ahead.

Q: On the topic of terrorism, last year officials from the Cooperative
Threat Reduction Program toured Africa, saying they were going to expand
their efforts there. Senator Lugar even led a delegation so that these
pathogens wouldn't fall into the hands of terrorists and be used in
bioterrorism. Can you tell me a little about where the status of biosecurity
efforts on the continent stands and where it might be going in the months
and years ahead?

GEN. HAM: There are a number of initiatives. There's more that we probably
should be doing. And as you mentioned, Senator Lugar has kind of been
leading that charge. There are a number of U.S. military research facilities
operating in a number of places in Africa and a number -- they've
established partnerships with many African nations in places where we don't
have a lab or a research center.

To me, the most encouraging thing is that the Africans themselves are
becoming increasingly conscious of the risk of the biological threat and are
taking active measures to counter that. It can be so simple as cooperating
on antimalarials, which is for many African militaries is actually a pretty
debilitating issue and very significantly affects their readiness, but also
to -- you know, to more widespread concerns of a biological threat that
could affect the continent.

So again, I think there's more that we could be doing and probably should be
doing. But the research labs are making some pretty good progress. What I
have asked the AFRICOM staff to do in concert with the policy folks in the
Office of the Secretary of Defense is how do we better synchronize the
efforts of each of the labs and the research centers.

They're service-sponsored. So in some cases they have a bit of a narrower
view of their responsibilities than I would like to have. And I'd like to
strengthen the partnership not only between the various U.S. research
centers and labs on the continent but also to increase the partnership with
African medical and research capabilities, some of which is occurring. Ghana
is a pretty good example. It has a strong partnership with one of the
universities there. But there is more that we can and should be doing, I

MR. HEBERT: OK, so we'll swing around 180 degrees. John, and then Tony?

Q: Sir, there was a big push when AFRICOM was in its final stages of being
set up -- a huge push here in Washington and across the continent -- that it
would be -- that the command would be for training, equipping, helping out
African nations. That seems to be -- that seems to have been overcome by
events in Libya, other things.

You've talked about taking some of that offensive expertise that you've
gained over the last few months and kind of institutionalizing that. Have
you talked -- have any African nations especially those that were so
concerned about an offensive U.S. military presence on the continent -- have
any African leaders raised concerns about this that it looks like the
command is shifting more offensive?

GEN. HAM: I have -- I have not heard that from any African civilian or
military leader with whom I have engaged in the six months that I have been
there. But it is clear in many places that there's concern about that, and
there's -- you know, you read articles in African journals and blogs and
what have you that are -- that they remain concerned about, you know, what's
our ulterior motive, what are we really trying to accomplish in Africa?

Some of that, I suspect, is just normal suspicion and there's probably not
much that we're ever going to do to convince someone other than what they
currently believe. And you know, there's just some people who say, you know,
that we do have some ulterior motive.

All I can do is try to convey as best I can what it is that we try to
accomplish, and the two principles that I talk about as I travel around
Africa are the two things that I think guide us -- the overarching

And one is just a simple statement that a safe, stable, and secure Africa is
in the best interest not only of the Africans but of the United States of
America. I don't think we should be shy about saying that. I think one of
the reasons AFRICOM was established was a growing recognition of the
importance of the African nations to the United States and to the
international community in a broad range of matters.

So it's very clear to me, that simple statement. It's best for us. It's also
best for the Africans if African countries are safe, stable and secure. The
second guiding principle is, again, this issue the president talked about in
Ghana. And that is it is Africans who are best able to address African
security matters. And we try to -- we try to put -- we try to have our
actions match our words in that regard.

So we do remain focused on building partner capacity, on sharing
information, on cooperative exercises, increasingly focused -- focusing our
efforts on the African Union regional economic committees and their military
standby forces to help build a regional capacity for the African Union and
for others to address.

So again, I just -- and what I hear as I travel around, you know, is mostly
acceptance, mostly appreciation of that. In many places they would like us
to do more. There are some countries that would like us to do more but do it
quietly. And that's OK. That's their -- that's their prerogative.

I'm not interested in U.S. Africa Command getting a lot of credit for what
we do. That's not particularly relevant to me. What's important is if we can
contribute in meaningful ways, both in a bilateral basis and a regional
basis to helping Africans become increasingly self-secure, then that's a
good way ahead for us.

Q: A second thing -- some lawmakers have been pitching their cities and
their districts or states as a potential permanent home for Africa Command's
headquarters. Can you give us an update on where a possible move stands,
maybe some candidate locations? And how does the budget, since it's not
cheap to move down the street much less around the world -- how does the
budget situation affect a possible move?

MR. HEBERT: Boy, you're not stepping into a minefield there, are you?

GEN. HAM: No, that's OK. I'll look over at Colonel (Inaudible). I think I'll
say -- I think I'll say this right. I think the FY '12 defense authorization
act as drafted by the House contains a requirement for the Department of
Defense to report back -- to do a study on the basing of Africa Command
headquarters and report back -- I believe the draft language is April, I
think, of '12. Of course that's -- you know, that's not law yet. But I think
the department -- I think OSD is looking at that and saying, OK, though it's
not law, you know, we probably ought not delay too long. And I think they're
getting energized now to do a real no-kidding Africa Command headquarters
basing study in anticipation of that requirement. And obviously we'll be a
piece of that. But there's lots of factors other than, you know, than the
operational commander being engaged in it. But I think that's kind of where
that stands.

The money piece to me is perhaps more relevant. I'd have a pretty tough time
in this fiscal environment going to Secretary Panetta and saying, hey, we
ought to spend a bunch of money to move the headquarters anyplace, even if
-- even if doing so might have some other benefits.

Right now in this environment, I'd have a -- it would really have to be a
compelling reason for me to go back to the secretary and say, we ought to
spend a bunch of money to do this. So we'll await, you know, what happens in
the '12 authorization act and, you know, if that requirement materializes, I
think the department will be ready to do that study and provide that
information back to the Congress.

MR. HEBERT: OK, Tony Capaccio, then David.

Q: A couple of Libya questions. Has NATO's involvement in Libya resulted in
any residual good impacts in the relationship with other African nations --
you know, as far away as Mauritania or Mali? I mean, do they think that this
was a good intervention, this had helped AFRICOM build bridges in their

GEN. HAM: The African response is -- has been mixed. I mean, you've seen
that play out. There are African states who firmly believe that military
operations and activities in Libya was the wrong way to approach this.

There is general agreement that, you know, that it's time for Mr. Qadhafi to
leave. There's general agreement that the citizens were threatened. But
there is disagreement in some countries as to how the U.N. responded, how
the U.S. and its allies and partners and in how NATO responded, but again,
general agreement on the desired end-states, disagreement about method.

The Africans -- one of the things that I discuss with the African military
leaders as I travel about is, hey, we need to have that same kind of
ability, albeit on a smaller scale, but for the Africans to operate
militarily and with better synchronization. And hence our focus -- my focus
from the Africa Command on helping the regional economic community standby
forces -- so ECOWAS, ECCAS, you know, East African Community and the others
-- build their -- build a regional capacity so that they buy to common
standards, so they have interoperable communications, logistics systems,
casualty evacuation, command and control.

We train and exercise and we can facilitate some of that. That's why we're
engaged with the African Union Peace and Security Commission to try to
establish kind of AU standards for this kind of business, so that the
Africans can increasingly become interoperable with one another. It's less
important that they're interoperable with us. It's more important that they
can do it themselves.

Q: I have one quick question on counterterrorism capabilities within
AFRICOM, residual. You laid out the two or three major terrorist groups.
What's the implication of your special operations counterterror
capabilities? Are those being -- have those been built up in the last -- in
the six months you've been there, or state of play on that?

GEN. HAM: It's a -- the Special Operations Command Africa has grown a little
bit and so we have some pretty good capability there. Most of Special
Operations Command Africa is focused again on building the capability of
African states. And so again, we find ourselves in lots of difference places
engaged in partner capacity -- not conducting operations; that's for the
Africans to do -- but us enabling those through building the capacity of

And we'll continue in that -- in that regard. And I think that's the right
way to do this. Would I like more forces? Absolutely. I'd like more special
-- you know, the demand for special operating forces of lots of different
flavors is pretty significant in Africa.

We get -- you know, we get pretty good support and, I think, you know, as
we, you know, look to '14 and beyond, you know, if things hold in
Afghanistan and we start to see reduction of forces there, then the
availability of special operating forces will increase for Africa and I
think that will be beneficial.

Q: I'm thinking of counterstrike capability to conduct surgical raids like
in Afghanistan and the U.S. Special Forces are doing anything against al
Qaida. Do you have a built-up residual capability?

GEN. HAM: Again, we have what we need. But I kind of like not talking about
that so, you know, so that AQIM as they're, you know, wandering around in
the Tigharghar Mountains and folks in other parts of Africa, I think it's
good that they don't know when and where they might be subjected to some

But it is something we keep -- you know, we work obviously very closely with
U.S. Special Operations Command. Admiral McRaven and I have a wonderful
relationship, as we did with Admiral Olson. And I'm confident that when we
have high priority requirements that we'll always be supported, have been
supported by the chairman, the secretary, and certainly the commander of
U.S. Special Operations Command.

MR. Tighargha: OK, David Cloud and then Otto.

Q: Just a few more on Libya. Do you think Qadhafi remains in command of some
elements of his forces at this point?

GEN. HAM: Probably some, but certainly a very, very small number,
significantly smaller number of regime loyalists. It doesn't seem to me --
and again, I would caveat this with saying, you know, again because I don't
have an operational role, I don't have, you know, all the current --
(inaudible) -- but it seems to me that he's -- his ability to influence
day-to-day activities, I think, has largely been eliminated, probably not
completely eliminated but pretty significantly. But I think there are --
there are still certainly some pockets in Sirte and, you know, some
residuals in Bani Walid and a couple of other places.

Q: As a military matter, does that make him a legitimate military target?

GEN. HAM: No, I think the answer is -- I think the way we've talked about
that from the very start is that, you know, we don't target individuals. We
target capabilities. And so a command-and-control capability, a facility
that we go after, if we had some indication that he was present at that
facility, it would not -- it wouldn't have a significant effect on the
decision to strike or not strike.

It would be, you know, degrading that capability. But I'm unaware of any
NATO Operation Unified Protector activity to specifically track him. And I
think actually General Bouchard has been pretty clear about that, that
they're not doing that. Rather, they're going after capability. If he
happens to be at one of those sites, then so be it.

Q: But that's really kind of what I want to understand. I mean, as long as
Qadhafi remains at large, even with a small but -- with a small ability to
control forces, then this war remains unresolved. So why wouldn't -- and it
would seem to me as a layman that he is a legitimate military target as the
leader of a country in command of military forces. So why is there a
reluctance -- and presumably even under the NATO mandate, where he is
directing attacks potentially against civilians -- why is there a reluctance
to acknowledge or even apparently to undertake operations to go after him?

GEN. HAM: I mean, obviously this is a policy matter. My sense as a military
guy would be that the level of resources necessary to find -- you know, to
focus and find him and try to target him would be considerable. I mean, to
look for an individual is really complicated business and it would detract
very significantly from the other military requirements that Unified
Protector is trying to meet. So I think there's a -- there's a policy
decision do you go after him, but I think there's a militarily pragmatic
issue at play as well.

Q: Could I have just -- last one -- I mean -- sorry.

MR. Tighargha: We're getting backed up here. We need to press on. Otto and
then Jordana.

Q: General, you dealt somewhat with my initial question which was, you know,
the great suspicion about AFRICOM when it was stood up was what we were
there for. You seemed to indicate then that a lot of that is dissipating,
there's more acceptance for our role there now than when the command was

GEN. HAM: That's my sense. I mean, we keep getting asked to do more and more
and more, and go to more places, more exercises, more military-to-military
engagement, more and more requests for interchanges and I don't -- I don't
recall anybody saying, we don't want you to come here anymore. And I would
-- you know, that -- you know, I would -- you know, that has nothing to do
with me. It has to do with three-and-a-half great years by General Ward kind
of breaking down those barriers and establishing those partnerships,
tremendous work by Africa Command's service components -- Army, Navy, Air
Force, Marines, Special Operations, Horn of Africa.

And I think it gets to what -- you know, what American military folks do
best, is it's not generals talking about this stuff. It's when you put a
sergeant someplace or a chief petty officer someplace and that's the -- they
carry the day because it's their actions that convey the sincerity of our
effort. That seems to be working. There are still some places that there's a
lot of suspicion and that's OK. We'll just keep working to chip away at

Q: The other one is the piracy issue off of Somalia. What is your role in
that kind of a -- you know, forces come out of EUCOM and CENTCOM? You know,
what's your role in running the antipiracy efforts and is there maybe more
that we can do? The attacks are going up. Success is down. What's the
situation on the Somali piracy?

GEN. HAM: The two issues of piracy -- you know, I was, you mentioned in East
Africa. There's a different dynamic in West Africa and Gulf of Guinea. I
think at present there's 12 ships that are held and about 300 persons that
are held by the East African pirates. And it is very troubling.

I think as most of you know that this is a shared responsibility between
Central Command and Africa Command. We have the land. They have the water,
at least most of it. What I do know is the piece that's lacking most
significantly in affecting a counterpiracy effort is the lack of good
governance in Somalia. It's just -- and a lack of economic alternative. You
know, if you're a young kid, I mean, there's not a bright future for you in
Somalia. And if somebody offers you a gun and the prospects of a whole bunch
of money, you know, to participate in pirating a commercial vessel, that's a
pretty tempting offer.

So I don't -- you know, one of the challenges is, you know, what do we and
the rest of the international community -- what's our plan to help Somalia
develop good governance and economic alternatives so that piracy is a less
lucrative option?

We do know that the presence of -- you know, maritime patrolling and
presence of those vessels does matter. We've seen it alter pirates'
activities. But it's an inherently inefficient way of countering piracy. I
mean, chasing pirates and mother ships around the Indian Ocean isn't a
particularly effective way to do this. But at its core, I think that it's
good governance.

There is some progress I think being made on the judicial front. We're
seeing countries as far away as Korea and the United States take in some of
these pirates, try them and imprison them. That's not a bad deterrent where
previously they were essentially -- it was essentially a catch-and-release.
And that's increasingly not the solution.

We're looking for a way -- we, the U.S. government, looking for ways how do
you help Kenya, how do you help Tanzania, how do you help others who are
most affected by piracy, reinforce their judiciary and their law enforcement
activities to counter it? But it's going to be a tough -- it's a --
unfortunately there's not a good solution.

More and more vessels and shipping companies are relying on on-board
security. Some of the simple measures -- you know, the -- just, you know,
concertina on the low -- you know, the low board vessels just to deter seem
to be having some effect. But it's going to -- I think we won't see
significant progress until there's governance and an economic alternative.

It's different in West Africa, if I could talk about West Africa and Gulf of
Guinea piracy. The tactics are different. They don't hold vessels. They get
them, get a ransom. They'll either take the oil and bunker that for future
sale. It's a little bit of a different dynamic. But we have found in the
cooperative efforts of many West African nations, they are addressing this

And we hosted a conference not long ago in Germany, brought in many West
African countries, the African Union, ECOWAS, ECCAS, and working through
things like what are the agreements that are necessary to allow hot pursuit
across maritime boundaries so that, you know, the pirates just -- you know,
they just take a ship and then they'll just escape. Right now, there's no --
there's not mechanism to allow hot pursuit. But there's ways to do that,
ways to share, again, intelligence, maritime domain awareness, share
information for trials of these pirates. So I'm a little more optimistic
about the progress in West Africa.

MR. HEBERT: OK. We have five people still on the list and not a whole lot of
time. So we need to move on to the speed round here, beginning with Jordana
. We'll have to forego the follow-ups and then Jim.

GEN. HAM: OK, I'll be short. I'm sorry.

Q: That's OK.

Q: I'd like to bring you back to the budget. I know the U.S. is trying and
DOD is trying to get hundreds of billions of dollars in the budget. What
sort of missions and capabilities in AFRICOM are addressed, and also what
are some of the options on the table? Does that include reorganizing AFRICOM
or even doing away with it somehow?

GEN. HAM: Yeah, from a budget standpoint we're pretty small potatoes. I
mean, we don't spend -- we don't have assigned forces. You know, really it's
just kind of the headquarters and Camp Lemonnier, and we rely on rotational

So I do worry that -- you know, as the services wrestle with reductions in
budgets, particularly for Navy and Air Force whose -- you know, rotation of
their forces is more expensive -- you know, that we sustain the right level
of the naval and air engagement with Africa. So far, that's pretty
promising. I think that will be OK.

I would say the budget -- the future of the budget is causing us to do two

First, it's causing us to much more rigorously prioritize and say, OK, where
are the places that we really need to be and where do we achieve the
greatest effect to achieve the national end-states that are required of us?
And secondly, as talked about in some other issues, is finding opportunities
to do more multinationally, more regionally and less bilaterally. And so
that's I think two ways in which we'll seek to address budget issues.

Q: And those priorities -- if I could ask a quick follow-up -- what are some
of those priorities?

GEN. HAM: Well, for example, as we look at, you know, regionally -- to me,
East Africa is the most important region, and mostly because that's the area
where there's violent extremists. There's this seam, this boundary between
us and Central Command, growing connection between al-Qaida in the Arabian
Peninsula, al-Shabab and al-Qaida in East Africa. There's piracy. There's
the Lord's Resistance Army. There's, you know, the new nation of South Sudan
and security force assistance. There's the terrible famine and humanitarian
requirements. So East Africa has kind of got the large conglomeration of
security issues right now.

Q: Thank you.


Q: General, you talked about some of the immediate concerns in Libya
obviously in terms of securing MANPADs, chemical weapons and just overall
stability. Do you also foresee further down the road a unique U.S. role in
terms of rebuilding Libya's military either through FMS and small teams of
advisors and what is it that (inaudible)?

GEN. HAM: I think from my view what we should seek with a new Libya is a
normalized security assistance, a normalized military-to-military
engagement. The National Transitional Council has been pretty clear that
they're not interested in significant presence of outsiders in their
country. They may well look to other organizations and other countries for
leading roles in their security assistance, and I think that's fine. What I
would hope that we will be able to do as we reestablish our embassy and the
attachhhhhÃs and all that is to have a meaningful dialogue with the Libyans
about what are the ways in which, again, the U.S. can bring its unique
military capabilities to bear in assisting the new Libya?

So I don't know what that might mean just yet. But I don't think that the
U.S. military will be Libya's leading military partner. I think we'll
probably be more discrete and more specialized in our engagements.

MR. HEBERT: OK, Sean and Anna.

Q: General, I noticed when you laid out the sort of three extremist groups
that most concerned you across the continent that you referred to al-Shabab
as opposed to al-Qaida in East Africa. Is that because you feel that with
the deaths of Nabhan and Harun Fazul over the last couple of years that AQ
in East Africa has been sort of substantially degraded, that it's not the
primary threat in that part of the world anymore, or is it because you think
that it's become so interlocked with al-Shabab that they're basically the
same organization, or is there another reason?

GEN. HAM: I think -- I think al-Shabab is going through a bit of an identity
crisis themselves. There are clearly those in the senior leadership of
Shabab that are quite closely aligned with al-Qaida and its objectives. But
there are others that don't necessarily agree with that and see Shabab
should be more focused internally and domestically. That same kind of
struggle I see actually occurring in Boko Haram.

But it is very clear to me that Shabab has very publically and very clearly
stated their affiliation with al-Qaida senior leaders, their alignment with
their objectives. So I mean, I think it's a very close relationship,
certainly the fact that some of their senior leaders have met their maker
sooner than they were currently planning was not a bad thing. But the intent
to be closely aligned with al-Qaida senior leaders certainly remains.

MR. HEBERT: OK, opposite side, we'll finish up with Anna and then Kevin.

Q: Hi, General. The president has been pretty adamant about no boots on the
ground in Libya. This week we learned there are a few U.S. soldiers helping
State Department officials. So I was wondering if you see any further U.S.
troops heading there for those sorts of missions.

And then also, you know, again, along those lines, our allies have made
similar assurances to their electorate saying we're not going to do boots on
the ground either and so there doesn't seem to be any strong U.N.
peacekeeping movement towards any sort of force there, the African Union
isn't particularly strong in countries that make sense to do those sorts of
roles or the countries that are stronger within the African Union forces
maybe don't make sense to do those sorts of roles in Libya.

And so are you concerned about a lack of boots on the ground as this
transition extends possibly towards a retaliation against loyalist forces
and what are your thoughts on that?

GEN. HAM: On the U.S. side, I think Ms. Nuland and a couple of others talked
about this., you know the four military personnel who are there now working
with State are clearly in a support role and a different role. So we're in a
different phase of activities in Libya now.

My expectation would be when the time comes -- when State and the government
decide it's time to reopen the embassy, my hope is that there'll be a
military defense attachhhhhà at the side of the ambassador when we do that.
So again, there'll be some military personnel there. But they'll be there in
the umbrella of initially assisting State Department reestablish the
embassy, reestablish their programs.

And then my hope would be -- longer term would be, again, the establishment
of a normalized security assistance, normalized military-to-military
engagement where U.S. military folks might, you know, come in for a training
exercise but, you know, not to be stationed there. And I don't -- and
certainly not in any operational role as things develop with Libya.

As far as the overall issue, I mean, it's obviously more appropriate for the
National Transitional Council to talk about their way ahead and what they
see and what they would like to see in terms of international support. But
they have been pretty clear about the fact that they do not envision the
necessity of at least large-scale international presence or stabilization
force or what have you.

I think the U.S. and all others are watching their actions. You know, do
they really implement an effective reconciliation process? Do they control
the violence? Do they control retaliation between various factions? The
words are right. The challenge will be now do the actions match the words.
And I think that will probably be a large determinant as to how the
international community views its future assistance and cooperation with

MR. HEBERT: OK and the final quick question goes to Kevin Baron.

Q: Thank you very much for the extra time. You mentioned you wished for more
SOF forces after 2014 for Africa. SOF forces require a lot of enablers as
well, and I know that Camp Djibouti -- Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti is
expanding already with more permanent housing and, you know, buying more
land. Isn't it true that the number of U.S. troops is already going up in
that -- at least there, and should U.S. troops expect a higher op tempo in
being rotated through Africa maybe much sooner than 2015?

GEN. HAM: Well, I should be clear. I'd like more special operation forces
now. I expect we might see some incremental increases. But I think it will
be until decisions get made about post -- about Afghanistan post-2014, I
wouldn't see any large-scale change in the availability of special
operations forces for Africa.

Special operations forces, as you know, by their nature don't require --
they do require some enablers but they don't require a large infrastructure.
And our small teams that, for example, are operating in training -- are
training the Malians -- it's a pretty bare-bones operation. So we don't --
it doesn't, again, require lots of infrastructure. You know, they rely
mostly on indigenous support; and host nations have been quite good about
providing, you know, adequate, you know, barracks if that's necessary or
other sustainment.

In Djibouti, we have grown and it's a little bit larger. It's a very, very
interesting and important hub not only for U.S. Africa Command but for
Central Command, for Special Operations Command, for Transportation Command.
The Djiboutians have been absolutely wonderful partners and hosts and
facilitating our activities there. But yeah, it has grown a little bit. I
don't think it will grow too much more. We've got the next couple of months
a couple of other organizations going in there. But I think it will probably
plateau at least for a while.

MR. HEBERT: Thank you, General. We appreciate your -- (inaudible).

GEN. HAM: OK, all right. Thank you all very, very much.



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