African Land Forces summit begins in Washington, DC


General George W. Casey, US Army Chief of Staff, welcomed nearly 100 senior military leaders from nations across the African continent to the inaugural African Land Forces Summit, earlier this week.

The summit is an annual event that brings together land forces chiefs of staff from African nations and military leaders from the US Army to discuss topics of mutual interest.

Casey told the leaders that the five-day summit is the latest in a series of efforts to assist African nations as they work to form partnerships to foster stability and peace on the continent.

He said the establishment of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM) in 2007 and then US Army Africa last year is “an indicator of our long-term interest in the militaries on the African continent.”

The summit theme is “Adapting Land Forces to 21st Century Security Challenges.”Casey outlined the threats the US Army expects to face in the coming years.
“Two trends that worry me most are weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist organizations and safe havens — countries and parts of countries where the local government can’t or won’t deny their countries to terrorists,” Casey said.

The general said the United States must also expect to face conflicts involving “hybrid threats,” a terrorist organization that is supported by one or more sovereign nations.
“Hezbollah is a good example of what a hybrid threat can be,” he said. “It’s a mix of conventional irregular, terrorist and criminal capabilities that are organized and employed asymmetrically. That’s what we think we’re going to see.”

To prevail against such threats, the United States must form strong alliances with other nations.

The Land Forces Summit is a continuation of that kind of effort, he said.
“We’re here to listen and we’re here to partner,” Casey said. “We plan to be at this for awhile.”