Today, Army General Stephen J. Townsend, U.S. Africa Command commander, and Navy Admiral Craig S. Faller, U.S. Southern Command commander, spoke before the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding the 2021 Defense Authorization request and Future Years Defense Program. The senate was eager to hear both of their assessments of where they should be strategically investing in Combatant Command activities. The review was aimed at aligning global missions with the 2018 National Defense Strategy, which places China and Russia above other national security threats, including international terrorism.
The Defense Department has 11 combatant commands, each with a geographic or functional mission that provides command and control of military forces in peace and war.
“I believe Africa offers a competitive edge over China and Russia, and we should take advantage of it.”
-Gen. Stephen Townsend
United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) is a full-spectrum combatant command and is responsible for all U.S. Department of Defense operations, exercises, and security cooperation on the African continent, its island nations, and surrounding waters.
AFRICOM is responsible for U.S. military operations, including fighting regional conflicts and maintaining military relations with 53 African nations. Its area of responsibility covers all of Africa except Egypt.
“The western hemisphere is our shared home…and I have seen the challenges that affect the security of our hemisphere.” – Adm. Craig Faller
US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation in Central America, South America and the Caribbean (except U.S. commonwealths, territories, and possessions). The command is also responsible for the force protection of U.S. military resources at these locations and for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal.
National defense strategy shows we are in a constant power competition with China and Russia with their growing influence in AFRICOM and SOUTHCOM’s territories, exploiting a country’s natural resources, propping up oppressive regimes that are hostile to the US, and trying to achieve a positional advantage in these territories.
Townsend and Faller were the first military commanders to testify this year, just ahead of the fiscal 2021 budget release next month.