Gen. William Ward (Arrival) - African Land Forces Summit - 12 May 2010
Ward underscores America’s commitment to advance security, stability and peace in Africa
By Army Sgt. Wayne Woolley
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, on Wednesday told a gathering of senior military leaders from 32 nations across the African continent that America is committed to forming and maintaining partnerships that advance security, stability and peace in Africa.
“We want to listen, we want to learn from your perspectives and we want to be a partner in collaborating to address the challenges you face,” Ward said. “You are our partners and I respect all of you.”
The senior African military leaders gathered for the inaugural African Land Forces Summit for five days of discussions about ways they can form stronger relationships among themselves and with the United States to protect borders, fight extremist groups and collaborate on humanitarian assistance and peace keeping missions.
The summit is sponsored by U.S. Army Africa, which was created last year as a service component command under USAFRICOM.
“We intend for this first African Land Forces Summit to be just the beginning of many more to come where we can gather on a regular basis to share ideas,” Ward said. “We want to ensure the programs and activities we conduct on the continent of Africa are helpful in building your military capacity in ways that support your regional and national interest.”
The best way for the United States military to do that, Ward said, is to listen and respond to the concerns of African military leaders.
“You have seen over the past few years how we do business. Not dictating to you. Not directing you,” Ward said. “But listening to you and then doing our best to do those things you have asked us to do. What you say matters. I hope this summit is proving that to you.”
U.S. Army photo by Barbara Romano
CAPTION: Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, arrives at African Land Forces Summit venue and greets U.S. Army Africa staff prior to speaking with summit delegates.