A new leader in the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) will take command of US military missions on the continent the Pentagon has said will oppose China. , US General Michael "Mike" Langley. Influence and threat from extremists remains a top priority.
"We know there's a lot to do. We have a lot to do," Langley said at a ceremony at headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
With a promotion earlier this month, Langley became the first African-American four-star general in the Marine Corps' 246-year history. Prior to this position, he served as Commander, Fleet Marine Corps, Atlantic and Marine Corps.
"He is the right leader at the right time with the right skills to lead this important command. It has a unique combination of competence, courage, experience and knowledge," Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Mark Milley said Tuesday.
Langley is his sixth AFRICOM commander since the command was established in 2008. General Stephen Townsend, who is retiring after his 40 years in the military, warned at the ceremony that "America cannot afford to ignore it." Africa. "
"The continent is full of opportunities, but also full of challenges, and is at a historic crossroads," Townsend said. “On the one hand, we have authoritarianism and the influence of foreign malice, along with terrorism and food and economic instability. On the other hand, we have peace, security, democracy, development and the rule of law.” 16} Townsend continues to sound the alarm about terrorist groups thriving in the uncontrolled space of Africa, saying that since former President Donald Trump's decision in Congress earlier this year, the United States has identified al-Shabaab as terrorists. "We may be backing down" in the fighting, he said. Withdraw all U.S. forces from Somalia during the final days of his tenure.
In January, Townsend said in an exclusive interview with VOA that he believes there are "more effective and efficient ways" to fight al-Shabaab than traveling in and out of the country on missions. Less than four months later, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin signed an order returning hundreds of US troops to Somalia.
Austin, who presided over the ceremony, said Africa is at the forefront of many of this century's most pressing threats. He warned that "dictatorships are marching" as Russia and China "work to consolidate their hold on the continent."
"Russia sells cheap weapons and supports mercenary forces. This is a further reminder of Moscow's willingness to sow chaos and threaten the rules-based international order." And it goes far beyond [Russian President Vladimir] Putin's reckless aggression: Ukraine."