Could AFRICOM Bring Humanitarian Scale?

One of the arguments in favor of AFRICOM (cautiously) made by the humanitarian community is that it may encourage the military to apply their remarkable ability to scale operations to humanitarian operations.

In my role as staff editor for the Fletcher Forum of World Affairs, I recently transcribed an interview with Fletcher graduate Admiral James G. Stravridis, commander of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM). While I can't quote the interview until the issue comes out in June, one comment he made reminded me of this scaling potential.

He mentioned the work of USS Comfort, a hospital ship, in running humanitarian missions in South America last summer. The ship had 400,000 patient encounters, handed out 25,000 pairs of eyeglasses and visited a dozen countries with an inter-agency and NGO-based crew.

I'm not an expert in the scale of humanitarian operations, but it seems to me that these types of operations dwarf any of the current efforts run by USG in, for example, the Horn of Africa or East Africa. Is this another reason not to dismiss AFRICOM?

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  • I definitely think its a valid reason to do away with Africom

    By Blogger blackstone, at 8:40 AM  

  • the article, it is not a call to do away with AFRICOM, but just the opposite. It recognizes the incredible potential of the Department of Defense to do more the kill people and break things.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:04 PM  

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