Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper visited U.S. Africa Command May 2, 2019 in Stuttgart, Germany.
He met with Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser, commander, U.S. Africa Command, and other senior leaders to gain insight on how the command’s operations and activities support the U.S. strategy for Africa.
“AFRICOM’s engagements [in Africa] run a spectrum from dealing with violent extremist organizations all the way to countering the growing influence of Russia and China on the continent,” Esper said.
Africa is important because the U.S. has a number of humanitarian, economic and national security interests there, he added. “The United States has been there for many years supporting a number of partner countries,” he said. “We remain committed to the continent.”
Since, many African militaries are primarily land-based forces, the U.S. Army plays a key role in building the capabilities and capacities of African partners, Esper said.
“We [speak the same military language] and we understand the challenges that an army might face dealing with different security threats in a particular region,” he said.
Training with African partners is also mutually beneficial and helps build the capability and readiness of American Soldiers, he said.
As he concluded his visit, Esper took a moment to acknowledge AFRICOM personnel for their continued contributions.
“I’d to thank all of the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines who serve in AFRICOM for all they do and their efforts to advance U.S. national security interests on the continent,” he said.