The U.S. government now knows that Africa is important-and dangerous. Formerly divided between three different strategic military regions, the entire continent (except Egypt) will soon fall under the purview of a new combatant command, AFRICOM.
The White House has announced a new military headquarters dedicated solely to operations in Africa. African Command (AFRICOM), the first new headquarters since the Northern Command was established in 2002, will help stop the continent from careening into conflict and collapse, while also serving U.S. interests abroad and at home.
Tenacious insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to occupy U.S. military and political attention, while China offers increasing strategic competition. This simultaneous focus of U.S. interests on the enormous continent of war-ravaged regions and vast expanses of ungoverned territory marks a monumental foreign policy shift for the United States, which has long avoided Africa because of its myriad problems and lack of strategic value. But now U.S. government leaders have seen the value of a proactive approach to solving Africa's problems.