Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa [October 2, 2009] [open pdf - 463KB]
"In recent years, analysts and U.S. policymakers have noted Africa's growing strategic importance to U.S. interests. Among those interests are the increasing importance of Africa's natural resources, particularly energy resources, and mounting concern over violent extremist activities and other potential threats posed by uncontrolled spaces, such as piracy and illicit trafficking. [...]. As envisioned by the Department of Defense (DOD), AFRICOM aims to promote U.S. strategic objectives by working with African states and regional organizations to help strengthen regional stability and security through improved security capability and military professionalization.[…]. DOD signaled its intention to locate AFRICOM's headquarters on the continent early in the planning process, but such a move is unlikely to take place for several years, if at all.[...]. The 1998 bombing of U.S. embassies in East Africa, and more recent attacks, have highlighted the threat of terrorism to U.S. interests on the continent. Political instability and civil wars have created vast ungoverned spaces, areas in which some experts allege that terrorist groups may train and operate. Instability also heightens human suffering and retards economic development, which may in turn threaten U.S. economic interests. Africa's exports of crude oil to the United States are now roughly equal to those of the Middle East, further emphasizing the continent's strategic importance. This report provides a broad overview of U.S. strategic interests in Africa and the role of U.S. military efforts on the continent as they pertain to the creation of AFRICOM. A discussion of AFRICOM's mission, its coordination with other government agencies, and its basing and manpower requirements is included."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34003