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MODERATOR:  Good afternoon to everyone from the U.S. Department of State’s Africa Regional Media Hub.  I welcome our participants dialing in from across the continent and thank all of you for joining this discussion.  Today, we are very pleased to be joined by the Commander of U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Marine Corps General Michael Langley.  General Langley is with us to discuss the priorities for his tenure as Commander, the top regional security challenges in Africa, and his participation at the 2023 African Chiefs of Defense Conference.  He is speaking to us from Rome. 

We will begin today’s call with opening remarks from General Langley, then we will turn to your questions.  We will try to get to as many of them as we can during the briefing. 

As a reminder, today’s call is on the record, and with that, I will turn it over to the Commander, U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Marine Corps General Michael Langley.  

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Thank you, Johann, and thank you to all, and I just want to thank you for the media hub and for hosting this event, and to everyone else joining today.  So good day to all. 

I’d like to first start this off by expressing my sympathy for the families of the three brave Somali National Army members who perished in a helicopter crash earlier this week, losing their lives in noble service to their country.  I would like to also wish the eight injured members a speedy and full recovery. 

This helicopter crash is a sober reminder of the very real costs that the fight against terrorist organizations – in this case, al-Shabaab – exacts from those who choose to be a part of the solution. 

So today, I want to also discuss what I see are the primary opportunities and the ways AFRICOM can support what I characterize as a whole-of-government approach in working with our African partners. 

What better time actually to do this than this, following event that we – following the 2023 Chiefs of Defense Conference that actually transpired this week and culminated today with a number of engagements that I had with our African partners in various settings, a venue of 43 participating nations to collaborate and learn from each other – and also that the learning process in effect went both ways.   

AFRICOM’s mission supports the U.S. National Security Strategy, which recognizes Africa as a geopolitical force.  The U.S. is committed to transparency, and also we are committed to inclusion when working with our African partners to achieve our collective and common goals of security and stabilization across the African continent.   

Let me share with you my reflections.  Since I took command, I have had the opportunity to visit a number of African countries, and I look forward to visiting and working with even more partners in the future.  The African Leaders Summit last December illustrated the U.S.’s enduring commitment to Africa.  During this Chiefs of Defense Conference we were able build upon that momentum and also sharing ideas, sharing best practices.    

In my view, strong U.S.-Africa relations today are an important foundation for our shared future.   

African nations are shaping our present, and they will shape our future.  AFRICOM will continue to develop our partnerships and everything we do in Africa, and also in coordination and cooperation with our African partners.  We execute this through what we call a 3D approach.  Some look at that as three-dimensional.  Well, actually what it is, is an approach across a broad front of the U.S. Government, with diplomacy by the U.S. State Department, by development by our USAID, the Agency for International Development, and through defense as charged to me by our Department of Defense as Commander of AFRICOM and what we effect to work shoulder-and-shoulder with aligned activities to ensure that we reach those national goals of stabilization and security in the quest for prosperity across the African continent. 

So in summary, defense in support of development and diplomacy to work by and with our partners to tackle shared challenges together.  In the military, we are taught that challenges are opportunities to make a situation better, and I believe that.  In Africa, we are facing enduring challenges, such as countering the spread of violent extremist organizations.  Other challenges have become more urgent, such as improving our collective maritime capacity to combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.  As always, we will always focus on strengthening our existing partners and also building new ones so we can meet those shared challenges together. 

So with that, I would like to address some of your questions that you have today. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General Langley.  We will now begin the question-and-answer portion of today’s briefing.  We ask that you do limit yourself to only question related to the topic of today’s briefing, which is General Langley’s priorities as Commander, the top regional security challenges in Africa, and the 2023 African Chiefs of Defense Congress – Conference.   

So our first question – for our first question, we had a couple of questions submitted in advance on current and upcoming AFRICOM exercises, General, and those questions are from Mr. Geoffrey York of The Globe and Mail of Canada, and of Mr. Fadoua Kadiri of in Morocco.  So, respectively, they are asking about the objectives of the ongoing Flintlock training exercise and also the upcoming African Lion exercise.  So if you could give us your thoughts on those two exercises, please, General. 

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Okay, yeah.  Thank you for asking that question because it gives me an opportunity to articulate further of indicators of how we actually approach and work with our partners in building capacity.  And both these exercises allude to that, building capacity. 

So first of all, Flintlock – it’s over 29 nations that are going to be involved in Exercise Flintlock, and they address various issues across the spectrum of security, from crisis response to counterterrorism.  And so over 1,300 members of the respective services across 29 nations that expands from South American countries, North American countries, to include Canada and the U.S., and some of our European partners will engage with our African partners to build – to build on interoperability and capacity to address CT challenges and build on the capability and capacity for crisis response.   

African Lion.  African Lion – we’ve been doing this exercise for a number of years.  Now, this is – this addresses transregional threats.  And it’s a large-scale exercise that addresses complex security problems that face many countries.  But some of the end states that we try to achieve is one of interoperability as well, and we do regional training in African Lion and our – and we actually respond to what our partners asked us for: collective training skillsets or high-end training skillsets across multiple domains in the security realm.   

So all that together, African Lion brings a realistic and dynamic training and partnering with the collective countries that are involved in this exercise.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General.  Now we have a hand raised from Jeff Schogol of Task & Purpose magazine in the USA.  So, Jeff, if you would like to ask your question live.  

QUESTION:  Hi.  Thank you very much.  The U.S. embassy in Mogadishu recently tweeted that 61 tons of military aid arrived earlier this week for Somali forces.  Can you provide any breakdown of what this military assistance package consists of?  Thank you. 

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Thanks.  Thanks for that question.  Yes, so I was apprised of that action and that the U.S. Government made the decision to be able to effect that assistance of aid.  Primarily it’s small – small-caliber weapons.  Actually, the AK-47 Barretts and ammunition.  But any other fidelity of other DODICs, if you will, in the ammunition sense, or other calibers of weapons, I can’t get into those details yet.  But for the most part they’re small arms.  Over. 

MODERATOR:  All right, thank you very much.  And we had a few other questions too about the Horn of Africa region.  Mr. Schogol had also asked about the progress the Somali Government has made against the – against al-Shabaab.   

Also, we had a question from Yonathan Yoseph of FANA Broadcasting in Ethiopia about the progress that the Ethiopian Government is making in addressing terrorist threats that it faces.   

And then finally, we had a question from Mr. Mohamed Maher of Al-Masry Al-Youm newspaper in Egypt about the various conflicts in the Horn of Africa region – the Tigray situation, the democratic transition in Sudan, and how you assess in general the current situation in the Horn of Africa. 

So just in a general basket, General, we have a few questions about the security situations in the Horn of Africa.   

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Okay, thanks for that question.  It’s a pretty broad question, but let me address President Sheikh Mohamud, the president of Somalia, and his campaign – his campaign against al-Shabaab.  And we are in support of him, as AFRICOM is, with our return of persistent presence.  So we’re supporting the federal Government of Somalia in this ongoing campaign to disrupt terrorist operations in Somalia.  And so we’re helping him address his complex security strategy by building capacity and also capability within the Somali National Army, or some of their special forces, the Danab forces.   

So I’m very cautiously optimistic on how they’re progressing in their campaigning across and buying in, having the federal member states buy into President Sheikh Mohamud’s activities in his campaign, which not only includes just clearing the regions and pulling the clans into the favor – into the overall vision of Somalia, but also the continuing action he does after that by starting the clear build whole process, which includes providing services to the public and the clans that are suffering from whether it’s famine or other type of release – type of relief from either the nefarious activities of al-Shabaab or even for climate change.  So he’s doing a whole-of-government approach to ensure that he hits the stabilization goals that his country is asking him for. 

Let me just turn towards Ethiopia.  I know Ethiopia and other states, member states – excuse me, nation-states within the ATMIS construct, the transition – the AU transition for – to Somalia.  Those neighboring states, which are Kenya and Ethiopia and also you have a few others that actually are involved in building and doing force generation and training, advise and assist training towards – for the Somali National Army.  Because they see that whether it be an al-Shabaab threat in Somalia that threatens their borders as well, they see to it that they are in line with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, and they are participating in ATMIS and also assisting in force generation of the Somali National Army.  And that – I see that.  I have – I’m very optimistic that that’s progressing – that’s progressing nicely, I should say, and actually has indications that there’ll be future success going forward.  I see that Ethiopia is a player in that. 

And lastly, the Ethiopia Tigray conflict, that there is a – there is a peace right now, albeit fragile.  But that’s in the diplomatic realm.  I think the diplomatic process is working pretty well as designed, but it’s just going to have to be a continuous effort both – by both sides to be able to hold on to this peace.   

But let me go back to as far as Ethiopia and other members.  I left out Djibouti.  Djibouti is also a big player in the stabilization of Somalia and helping President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud meet his national objective of disrupting and deterring al-Shabaab and their illicit activities inside Somalia.  Thanks. 

MODERATOR:  Okay, thank you, General.  Now, if you don’t mind, I’d like to go to a live question.  We have a live question from Pearl Matibe of defense news here in South Africa.  

QUESTION:  Thank you and good morning, General Langley.  It’s such a pleasure, and I really want to thank you for making yourself available.  I look forward and hope that you will do more of these yourself in the coming months and years. 

General, you – at the top you gave remarks about your overall strategy and your sort of intention and approach to the region.  Now, I know that you had already visited Morocco, Tunisia; there was a planned trip you had had to Algeria, which I don’t know if you actually have gone yet this year, plan to go this year.  Could you speak to that?  And when Secretary Lloyd Austin goes to the continent, as President Biden has promised, will you accompany him?  So could you please speak generally in terms of the partnership countries that you will be going in person, on the ground?  I’d like to get a touch on that, if you could link that to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit as follow-on.  I remember seeing you at the summit, so I just want to hear from you:  What have you managed to achieve now since then strategy-wise in terms of the continent?   

And I think it doesn’t go without saying that this whole Mosi II military exercises within Russia and China and the influence from Russia and China that you’re facing – could you speak to that also?  That has been real controversial in South Africa.   

Thank you so much, General.  I appreciate your responses.   

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Pearl, thank you for that question.  Yeah, this – I’m just going to go ahead and recap some of my travel since I took command and the countries I did engage with, and this is – this is very important because our approach here in AFRICOM is partner-led and U.S.-enabled.  And I go there to be able to establish and strengthen partnership, especially around regional players that are actually involved in building security, and security across the continent, and hold the same values that we do here in the U.S. 

So yes, just for example, I – my first travels took me to Djibouti and Somalia and Kenya, and I listened and sat down with President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud and his vision, especially the stabilization of Somalia.   

But then also we’re focused on the west, because I saw the west and I characterized what was going on in the west with the violent extremist organizations of a number of affiliates, to include JNIM and ISIS factions and AQIM, and Boko Haram is still resident as well.  So I went to Niger and I sat down with their leadership there and also went into Chad as well, and listened.  I was on a listening tour in what I call my campaign of learning, because I wanted to know about the internal dynamics and what were the pressures and what were the challenges but also look at their view of what the long-term opportunities were that we can collectively work together to achieve those viable end states. 

And then also North Africa.  Yes, I went to Morocco and Tunisia, but of late I did go to Algeria.  And collectively, there are a number of things that are in common across North Africa.  I know that they have some disagreements, but that’s in the diplomatic realm and I have full confidence that they are going to seek a way forward.  But I will say Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and let me add – let me add Libya in there as well.  Libya is making ways in the diplomatic realm to try to come together.  I had two different – two different leadership representatives from Libya here at this conference.  So collectively, I consider them all partners, and more than just geostrategic reasons, more than geopolitical reasons, but because they have particular interests in the whole continent of Africa for aims of stability and also being able to address the terrorism thing that’s threatening the security and stabilization and prosperity of the people across the African continent.   

And I guess, yeah, I can talk a little bit about – as we traverse all the way down to the southern part of the continent.  Yes, there was an exercise called Mosi II, whereas South Africa – partner and friend, but they want to diversify.  So yes, they decided to have an exercise.  But just by comparison, this exercise in Mosi II, just anecdotally looking at it, I think our exercises – and again, let me go ahead and make it clear:  In my approach, mil-to-mil approach with countries across Africa, I don’t force anyone to choose.  I just have AFRICOM and U.S. Government writ large, through the 3D approach, a whole-of-government approach, have a value proposition – a value proposition to address the needs of these countries and their security objectives.   

So when we have our Express series, and just recently Obangame Express, these countries want to work on what’s challenging them the most, whether it’s illegal fishing, whether it’s piracy, whether it’s transnational crime and just overall maritime awareness.  So that’s our value proposition.  We address those issues. 

But anecdotally, looking at what was skillsets that were practiced down in Mosi II, just from a distance and looking at what objectives they had, I think they were more power projection, they were more – they were more tactical formations and maritime targeting and all the type of activities that would allude to aerial denial, aerial defense, or even offensive-type maneuvers.  That’s just what I see from the outside.  Maybe it had some other objectives that will address what African nations need in maritime awareness.  I don’t know.  Maybe they did.   

But just from the outside looking in, I think we have a very strong value proposition in the exercises, especially maritime exercises, that we do with our African partners.  So yes, we’re not asking these countries to choose, but I know that we have a value proposition that I think outweighs some of those aforementioned competitors’.  Thanks. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you very much, General.  Now, we have a lot of questions about the Wagner Group and the influence of Russia in Africa, and with apologies to the journalists – to the many journalists who have asked questions on this topic, I’m going to have to sort of do my best to summarize them and pose them to the General.  So we got questions from Jonathan Rosenthal, Africa editor of The Economist; from Caitlin Kenney of Defense One in the U.S.; we got questions from Chamsidine Sane of Dakaractu in Senegal; from Charbel Barakat of Al-Jarida newspaper in Kuwait; Abdelkarim El Affani of Asharq News in Morocco; Awa Traore in Nouvel Horizon in Mali; and with apologies, there might be one or two others as well – Oumar Ongoibar, Le Soir de Bamako in Mali.   

So in general, the question – the questions are about the involvement of the Wagner Group in Africa, especially in Mali and in the Sahel region.  Is it a threat to U.S. national interests?  Is the – how does the United States view the Russian influence in Africa in general?  Is the United States considering enhancing its military presence in Africa to counteract this Russian influence on the continent?  And is the United States planning to undertake any military training in West Africa such as it has done in East Africa?   

So that in general is the set of questions about the Wagner Group and Russia in Africa.   

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Okay, thanks for that question.  That question is a multiple – multiple points I want to make about that.  But let’s start with the Wagner Group, the Wagner Group’s activities across Africa, and especially in this case West Africa.   

So for several years Wagner has been a growing influence across the continent.  They have destabilizing effects in every country that they have set foot on, whether we’re talking about Libya, Central African Republic, Mali.  And they want to expand their presence in other countries as well.  All of their activities of note have not helped these countries.  It’s been destabilizing.   

Moreover, what we’re looking and what we have seen and other organizations have pointed out, whether it’s the UN or other open source observers have actually called out Wagner for their brutal tactics – the human rights abuses – including some allegations of unlawful or arbitrary killing of civilians.  And I think these countries that have Wagner inside their borders are starting to realize that.  We’ve seen it happen in Libya and Central African Republic.  We’ve seen their activities even in Ukraine, as they have been charged with different formations to do nefarious activities across that country – and that includes Syria as well. 

So those are clear examples and evidence that there is a detrimental impact of Wagner Group deployments.   

You kind of expanded on that question as well, about Russian influence.  And again, they are on the continent of Africa, and I think they’re just really messaging what their other goals are, whether it be predatory tactics or going in and establishing – well, through Wagner – predatory tactics on the natural resources, natural resources within some of the nation-states across the continent.  All – what I call, all the wrong reasons to address the stability challenges or the security challenges across the African continent.   

So I won’t delve into all of what they’re doing and what their true intentions are because I think it speaks for themselves.  Their actions speak for themselves.  Just as the African – the actions of the U.S. Government and our whole-of-government approach speaks for ourselves, which is our actions – assures actions that are grounded in clear principles of core values, and also in parallel with the core values of the countries that we engage with that beget the overall objectives that are common that lead to the security and stabilization of desired – of the holistic desired end state.   

The last part, you did talk about and ask about more military presence.  At this point, I won’t talk about increased military presence, but I’ll tell you what we’re doing now.  We’re doing it through a whole-of-government approach.  We have operations, activities, and investments to be able to build capacity in our partners, build their security sectors, and across USAID build into development across their institutions, across the rest of their government.  And then the State Department is playing a big part of that.   

So through our approach of a whole-of-government approach, I think collectively with all those operations, investments, and activities, we can achieve long-term goals for these countries.  A little investment on a continuous basis and persistent presence is being realized by a number of these countries that America has their values and their objectives at heart to be able to progress forward and to be the partner to go forward into the future to achieve those aforementioned goals I just stated.  Thanks.   

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General.  We also had a few questions submitted and a few in the chat about the conflict in eastern Congo and the M23 group.  So I’ll read Mr. Emmet Livingstone’s question.  He’s from Agence France-Presse in the DRC.  “What danger does the M23 crisis in eastern DRC pose to the wider region?  And what is your assessment of the response to the rebellion by the Congolese Government and the East African regional military force?”   

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Okay.  Hey, thanks for bringing that up because as we focused on East Africa, West Africa, and to some degree North Africa, South Africa I would like to – and Central and South Africa, I’d like to focus on that too because that’s all part of my area of responsibility, and its approach is one of engagement.   

Now, some say that because of the tyranny of distances is – it is an economy of force, but I do that by still engaging with these countries, whether it be – well, I shouldn’t say “I.”  I said “we.”  I should say “we” because whether it be Secretary Blinken engaging down there, whether it be a CODEL going down to engage, just like we had a CODEL, Graham go down there this past week, and also USAID is in a number of these places.   

But what’s going on now is what we see is a strength of Africa being able to develop regional organizations, such as the SADC or the East African multinational force addressing some of the issues. 

But right now I see – and what’s going on in the DRC, and you bring up the M23 – I think we are in – what we see is what should happen.  The diplomatic process is in motion.  And from AFRICOM perspective, we applaud that.  I saw President Lourenço of Angola get involved, and I’ve also seen former president of Kenya, President Kenyatta, get involved in this and also engage with both the DRC and Rwanda in addressing some of the activities of the M23.  So this process is in motion, and we respect and we admire the diplomatic – even as it plays out in public diplomacy – for them trying to get to a viable end state, which is called stabilization and peace.   

So I applaud what’s going on, and I encourage it, and I am engaged during this session here the last couple of days here at the CHOD Conference; we addressed that.  But what I really focus on when I engage with my peers through the chiefs of defense – what is really positive is they are focusing on it, and they truly acknowledge civilian-led governance – civilian-led militaries, I should say, and also the democratic process and respect for the diplomacy as a means to be able to address security issues within the borders, in this case the Democratic Republic of Congo.   

So we were all in agreement when this was discussed in some of our sessions that the remedy is diplomacy, and also knowing where the military’s place was in respecting civilian governance in support of the democratic realities.  Over. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General.  And this is a general comment:  We have had a very strong response from the journalists that we’ve invited to this briefing, and we have had a lot of attendees, which is great, and also an awful lot of questions.  So I’d like to get to – I think we – we’re going to have to let the General get back to his schedule very soon.  We won’t have much more time for questions, but I did want to get to one topic which was asked by a couple of journalists, from Carien du Plessis of Reuters asks, “U.S. anti-terrorism support has not resulted in a decline in terrorist attacks in Africa.  Are there plans to change approach or strategy?”  And also terrorism-related questions were asked by Fred Kagonye of the Standard Media Group in Kenya.   

So, General, if you could address U.S. anti-terrorism efforts and strategy in Africa, thank you.   

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Again, I will go ahead and preface my statement with what I’ve already banged the drum on just previously: the military is part of a whole-of-government approach, a whole-nation approach.  And that’s how in the mil – my mil-to-mil engagements with the countries across Africa, especially those that are under siege by terrorism or violent extremist organizations, we discussed this in the conference.  And I was giving my approach and articulating our ways of operational approach that we think would be effective, but also I listened.  I listened to those from various countries that have been effected, and they are changing some of their norms. 

Because we already know for the long war on terrorism that it does take more than kinetic action.  That’s only a piece of it and only when necessary.  It’s a whole-of-government approach.  There’s a piece that we need to get to the underlying causes, the drivers of conflict – address the drivers of conflict is the next step to the solution and assurance actions that will remedy that. 

We were in agreement when we broke in taking our summaries of discussions and turning them into summaries of conclusions that we need to identify – we need to build upon the overall governance within these countries and to build capability and capacities in other channels that helps out their populace.  Because what they’re saying here, that there is probably a correlation of a weak economy or lack of governance in some institutions that, in effect, will correlate to more recruitment across – recruitment of these organizations, these violent extremist organizations, preying upon the young generation to do nefarious activities in the name or terrorism or a false ideology of a particular religion.  Those are some of the root causes that we discussed and addressed in trying to figure out how we map out interdiction, outside of just military action. 

So there’s going to be a long roadmap that we need to effect, but I think a win within our sector, being the military, of acknowledging there’s other ways to go about it, other ways to interdict it metastasizing into an instable security situation.  So we’re doing that whole-of-government approach, but also our partners are starting looking at the whole-government approach or a whole-society approach as well.  That’s the first step in the right direction to solving some of these complex problems, especially this problem of violent extremist organizations starting to grow across and spread across the continent.  Thank you.  

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General.  And our time is growing very short today, but I think we have time for maybe one more really brief question.  And Sariou Adam in Niger has her hand up.  Sariou, if you can ask your question in English, or of you like I can – I see your question in the chat; I can translate it into English if you like.   

QUESTION:  (In French.)  

MODERATOR:  Okay.  So thank you for the opportunity.  Okay.  I’ll read Sariou’s question.  So Sariou is a journalist with Studio Kalangou in Niger.  And his question is to know how the United States is planning to aid Niger and the Sahel in general to combat terrorism. 

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Thank you for that.  And just to add context to it, I listened to and I was able to visit Niger and listen to the leadership of Niger, then also at the Africa Leaders Summit, I listened to President Bazoum and his vision.  And he also appreciates the bilateral relations that we have with Niger and other countries that also have bilateral relations with Niger, and collectively we are setting a priority to address some of the security issues across Niger.   

But the first step is to continue our strong partnership with the Nigerien defense forces.  They have performed very well, and I think that in – just going into the future, we’ll keep building upon that, and we’re showing – they are showing in their performance a lot of success addressing it.  But they are also addressing it in a multifaceted way.  It’s more than just kinetics; it’s engaging with the people in ungoverned spaces to ensure that they can be able to trek along the roads of progress, especially because even Niger was affected by floods or climate change as well.  So it’s – that stokes the drivers of instability, from the effects of that that can result in violent extremist organizations starting to form because of lack of resources or because of famine or because of the effects of flooding or other things that climate change can bring that would cause conflict and a race for resources. 

So I think that your president has a good plan going forward to address all these issues, not just with military, but his whole-of-government approach as well.  So I’m very confident that your leadership of your country is doing the right things, and we’re happy to be able to work by and with your forces to be able to eradicate violent extremist organizations with – inside your borders.  Thank you. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General.  You’ve been very generous with your time today, and I really appreciate all of your answers to the questions that we’ve had.  Do you have any final words or final thoughts for us? 

GENERAL LANGLEY:  Yes, and thank you, Johann.  So I just want to thank everybody on this hub for your questions today, because it gives me a time and an opportunity to message our way ahead in AFRICOM, and also of the U.S. Government’s approach going forward on the continent of Africa, and to show that we are very of a strong mindset that we need to do this together.  So I appreciated the opportunity to share our vision and what we gain through this CHOD Conference that we had this week. 

So as we wrap up this conference, I’d like to provide a few examples of how we will continue to work with African partners in meaningful ways. 

Just for instance, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Spencer was just in the Gulf of Guinea, working with maritime counterparts to combat illicit activities.  That’s what I’m talking about, that’s what the interest was, that’s what the Gulf of Guinea countries asked for. 

Exercise Flintlock just started in Ghana and in Côte d’Ivoire, and most of the training is designed – as I said, it was countering violent extremist organizations, and also crisis response. 

In the east, Kenya is also hosting Cutlass Express, which is linked to NAVCENT’s International Maritime Exercise, and it increases interoperability. 

These are just a few examples of the major multinational events that we conduct in concert with our partners and by desires of our partners of what objectives that these exercises should be able to provide. 

And I will again say it again:  I’m not sure what was – what the objectives were down in Mosi II, but I know what our objectives were, and it’s what our partners wanted us to do to reach their overall end state to build partnership and capacity. 

I also want to thank the 43 chiefs of defense and senior military leaders who shared their insights and expertise with all of us at this conference this year, as well as 38 African air chiefs that are in Senegal, and their delegates, who had a similar exchange focused on the air domain. 

Lastly, I would like to appreciate the Department of State members.  The Department of State – I talked about a whole-of-government approach, but I’m probably not saying this enough – that 3D construct: USAID, State Department, and Department of Defense.  In this case here, the Department of State members helped us set up this hub call today, so I can message to you what achievements that we’ve made in this CHOD Conference, and what I have learned during my campaign of learning since accepting the flag of responsibility and tenureship of command of U.S. AFRICOM back on 9 August 2022.  It’s been a fast six-plus months, and I’m still learning. 

So I close with that we all have an important role.  And as I talk to State Department, they – we know that your work brings awareness to these issues in this hub call, and that affect the people on the Continent of Africa, but, moreover, the people across the globe.  So in closing I say that I am honored to serve as Commander of the U.S. AFRICOM, and I remain committed to working with our partners to help build a better and more secure future together.  Thank you. 

MODERATOR:  Thank you, General Langley.  That concludes today’s briefing.  I want to thank U.S. Marine Corps General Michael Langley, Commander of U.S. Africa Command, for joining us, and thank all the journalists who participated. 

A recording and transcript of today’s briefing will be distributed to participating journalists as soon as we can produce them.  If you have any questions about today’s briefing, you may contact the Africa Regional Media Hub at  I would also like to invite everyone to follow us on Twitter at our handle, @AfricaMediaHub, and by the #AFHubPress.  Thank you very much. 

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U.S. Department of State

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