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DEFENSE COMMUNITIES 360

House Panel Wants to Consider Moving Africa Command

  • May 5, 2011
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The House Armed Services’ Readiness Subcommittee requests the defense secretary to assess the feasibility of relocating U.S. Africa Command headquarters to the United States, under a provision in the report accompanying its portion of the fiscal year 2012 defense authorization bill.

The Readiness Subcommittee approved its part of the authorization bill, H.R. 1540, Thursday. The full committee is scheduled to mark up the legislation May 11.

Other geographic combatant commands are located outside of their area of responsibility, the panel notes. And due to the sensitivities many African nations may have toward a U.S. combatant command permanently based on the continent, “this type of basing model is particularly relevant.”

The command currently is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, and is not actively seeking any other headquarters locations, according to its website.

DOD’s report should include a description of the costs and benefits of moving the command, along with an assessment of the strategic risk associated with basing alternatives.

“The committee believes the headquarters of U.S. Africa Command should be located at an installation that provides the maximum military value to the realigned command and at the minimum cost required to implement the relocation,” the report states.

A  Helping Hand for Guam

The government of Guam could get a boost under a section of the legislation authorizing DOD to provide financial assistance to help the island meet the costs of providing increased municipal services and facilities needed to accommodate the arrival of 8,000-plus Marines from Okinawa. The temporary authority would require a determination by the defense secretary that an “unfair and excessive financial burden will be incurred by the government of Guam” in the absence of DOD assistance.

The measure would allow DOD to aid Guam through existing programs supporting the realignment, even if they are administrated by other federal agencies. The department could help Guam meet cost-sharing obligations imposed under any federal program DOD is relying on to assist the island. The legislation would authorize DOD to transfer operations and maintenance funds to a different one of its accounts or to the account of another federal agency that can be used to support the realignment on Guam.

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