United States Africa Command – Balance of Activities during the Presidencies of George H. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump


  • Robert Kłosowicz Jagiellonian University in Kraków




U.S. Africa Command, U.S. Armed Forces, International Security, Foreign Policy, African States


The article aims at analyzing the development of the U.S. Africa Command during the three presidential administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. According to the author, the attitude of individual American presidents and their administration to the U.S. AFRICOM is an accurate reflection of the approach to both the problems of African states and the place of Africa in the foreign and security policy of the United States. Since the foundation of the U.S. AFRICOM by the administration of G.W. Bush to D. Trump’s desire to liquidate the command. Trump’s attitude to Africa is also illustrated by the fact that he was the first American president since Ronald Reagan who did not visit any of the 54 African states. His two predecessors paid nine such official visits to African countries in total. It seems that despite many myths and fears that accompanied the birth of AFRICOM and during its first years of existence, the worst scenarios have not come to fruition. AFRICOM has not militarized Africa, it has not caused the drastic exacerbation of the rivalry with China in the region, and it has not become the military arm of US expansionism on the continent. What is more, even many skeptics among African state leaders have noted that it has thus far played and continues to play a positive role in counteracting terrorism, therefore, it has supported the stability of African countries.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Robert Kłosowicz, Jagiellonian University in Kraków

Historian of international relations, Africanist, professor at the Institute of Political Science and International Relations at the Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Director of the Jagiellonian Research Center for African Studies, His research interests include relations between diplomacy and the armed forces, the issues of international security and military conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa, dysfunctional and de facto states. He has conducted fieldwork in over twenty African countries.


Abraham C., “Eritrea – Ethiopia Tensions”, New African, no. 563 ( July 2016).

“African Oil: A Priority for U.S. National Security and African”, African Oil Policy Initiative Group, at http://www.iasps.org/strategic/africawhitepaper.pdf.

African Standby Force, at http://www.africa-union.org/root/AU/AUC/Departments/PSC/Asf/asf.htm.

Barnett T.P.M., The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century, Washington 2004.

Berschinski R.G., AFRICOM’s Dilemma: The “Global War on Terrorism,” “Capacity Building,” Humanitarianism, and the Future of U.S. Security Policy in Africa, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College, November 2007, pp. 3-6.

Boutwell J., Klare M.T., “Waging a New Kind of War: A Scourge of Small Arms”, Scientific American, vol. 282, no. 6 (2000), https://doi.org/10.1038/scientificamerican0600-48.

Burger J., “The Return of Russia to Africa”, New African, no. 588 (November 2018).

“Can Africa out-trump Trump?”, New African, no. 571 (April 2017).

Clark J.F., “The Clinton Administration and Africa: White House Involvement and the Foreign Affairs Bureaucracies”, Journal of Opinion, vol. 26, no. 2 (1998), at http://www.jstor.org/pss/1166821, https://doi.org/10.2307/1166821.

“Clinton Praises ‘New Nigeria’”, BBC News, 26 August 2000, at http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/897423.stm.

“China’s African Oil Hunt Revisited”, International Relations and Security Network, Security Watch, at http://www.isn.ethz.ch/isn/Current-Affairs/Security-Watch/Detail/?id=52652&lng=en.

“China’s Trade and Investment Relationship in Africa”, April 2013, Brookings, at https://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/2013-04_China-Africa(GamacheHammerJones).pdf.

“Clinton’s Africa Trip Ends with a Promise”, The Washington Post, 15 August 2009, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2009/08/14/ST2009081403320.html?sid=ST2009081403320.

Cohen S.B., Geopolitics: The Geography of International Relations, Lanham 2014.

Collins T., “Is al-Shabaab Becoming Bolder?”, New African, no. 601 (April/May 2020).

Congressional Budget Justification Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, Department of State, Fiscal Year 2020.

Copson R.W., The United States in Africa: Bush Policy and Beyond, London–New York 2007, https://doi.org/10.5040/9781350223608.

“Decision Regarding Delimitation of the Border between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Decision of 13 April 2002”, Reports of International Arbitral Awards, vol. 25, pp. 83-95, United Nations, December 2008, at http://legal.un.org/riaa/cases/vol_XXV/83-195.pdf, https://doi.org/10.18356/65fe2835-en-fr.

Deutsch P.J., “Energy Independence”, Foreign Policy, November–December 2005.

Diamond L., “Democracy in Decline: How Washington Can Reverse the Tide”, Foreign Affairs, vol. 95, no. 4 ( July/August 2016).

Diop B.B., “The Danger of ‘Yes Sir’ Politics”, New African, no. 562 ( June 2016).

“Diplomat, Admiral Become Co-Deputies of U.S Africa Command”, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs, 29 October 2007, at http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.art=1576/.

“DoD Establishing U.S. Africa Command”, Department of Defense, at http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?id=2940.

“DoD News Briefing-Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs, Michael A. Westphal”, US Department of Defense News Transcript, 2 April 2002, at http://www.defenselink.mil.

Dowden R., Africa, Alerted States, Ordinary Miracles, London 2009.

Dubé F., “China’s Experiment in Djibouti”, The Diplomat, at https://thediplomat.com/2016/10/chinas-experiment-in-djibouti/.

“Electrify Africa Act of 2015 – Report to Congress”, USAID, at https://www.usaid.gov/open/electrify-africa/2016.

Everstine B.W., “AFRICOM Nominee: Russia, China Growing Concern in Africa”, Air Force Magazine, 2 April 2019, at https://www.airforcemag.com/africom-nominee-russia-chinagrowing-concern-in-africa/.

Fabricus P., “AFRICOM May Be Looking for a New Home”, 18 September 2020, Institute for Security Studies, at https://issafrica.org/iss-today/africom-may-be-looking-for-a-new-home.

Feleke E., L.A. Picard, T.F. Buss, “African Security Challenges and AFRICOM”, in: T.F. Buss, J. Adjaye, D. Goldstein, L.A. Picard (eds.), African Security and the African Command:Viewpoints on the US role in Africa, Sterling 2011.

Foy H., “Russia to Build Naval Base in Sudan”, Financial Times, 16 November 2020.

Frazer J., Exploring the U.S. Africa Command and New Strategic Relationship with Africa, Testimony Before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Subcommittee on African Affairs, Washington, DC, 1 August 2007, at https://fas.org/irp/congress/2007_hr/africom.pdf.

“General William E. ‘Kip’ Ward Commander United States Africa Command”, U.S. Africa Command, at http://www.africom.mil/ward.asp.

Heisbourg F., “A Surprising Little War: First Lessons of Mali”, Survival. Global Politics and Strategy, vol. 55, no. 2 (April–May 2013), https://doi.org/10.1080/00396338.2013.784458.

“Hillary on Safari”, The Economist, 15 August 2009.

“History Southern European Task Force”, U.S. Army in Africa, at http://www.usaraf.army.mil/history.html.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (ed.), The Military Balance 2012. The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defence Economics, London 2012.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (ed.), The Military Balance 2013. The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defence Economics, London 2013.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies (ed.), The Military Balance 2017. The Annual Assessment of Global Military Capabilities and Defence Economics, London 2017.

Interview with Vincent Crawley, Deputy Director of Public Affairs U.S. Africa Command, Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, 1 December 2010.

Kagan R., The Return of History and The End of Dreams, New York 2009.

Keenan J.H., “War Games in the Sahel”, New African, no. 568 ( January 2017).

Kempe F., “Africa Emerges as a Strategic Battlefield”, Wall Street Journal, 25 April 2006.

Klare M., Volman D., “The African ‘Oil Rush’ and US National Security”, Third World Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 4, https://doi.org/10.1080/01436590600720835.

Kłosowicz R., “The Role of Ethiopia in the Regional Security Complex of the Horn of Africa”, Ethiopian Journal of Social Sciences and Language Studies, vol. 2, no. 2 (2015).

Kłosowicz R., U.S. Marines jako narzędzie polityki zagranicznej Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki, Kraków 2008.

Kłosowicz R., Mormul J., Erytrea i jej wpływ na sytuację polityczną w Rogu Afryki, Kraków 2018.

Kościółek J., USA wobec ludobójstwa w Afryce: Rola amerykańskiej kultury politycznej w ewolucji polityki antyludobójczej, Warszawa 2019.

Kumelska M., „Problemy pomocy dla Afryki w okresie prezydentury George’a W. Busha Juniora”, Forum Politologiczne, vol. 12 (2011).

Lach Z., Skrzyp J., Geopolityka i geostrategia, Warszawa 2007.

Landau E., Osama ben Laden: Wojna z Zachodem, przeł. K. Gradoń, Warszawa 2011.

Mania A., Department of State 1789-1939: Pierwsze 150 lat udziału w polityce zagranicznej USA, Kraków 2011.

„MARFORAF Stands Up as Corps’ Newest Command”, U.S. Africa Command, 14 November 2008, at http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=2251&lang=0.

Mengisteab K., The Horn of Africa, Cambridge 2014.

McCrisken T., “Obama’s Drone War”, Survival: Global Politics and Strategy, vol. 55, no. 2 (April–May 2013), https://doi.org/10.1080/00396338.2013.784469.

Mearsheimer J.J., Walt M., “The Case for Offshore Balancing”, Foreign Affairs, July/August 2016.

“Middle East Oil Less Important than African Oil for USA”, Mongabay, 22 February 2007, at http://news.mongabay.com/2007/02/middle-east-oil-less-important-than-african-oil-for-us/.

Mormul J., “Problem łamania praw człowieka w państwach dysfunkcyjnych: Przypadek dzieci żołnierzy”, in: R. Kłosowicz (ed.), Państwa dysfunkcyjne i międzynarodowe wysiłki zmierzające do ich naprawy, Kraków 2014.

“National Security Review 30: American Policy Towards Africa in the 1990s-Key Findings”, AllAfrica, at https://allafrica.com/stories/200101080520.html.

“The National Security Strategy of the United States of America”, Washington, D.C., The White House: President George W. Bush, 20 September 2002, at https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/nsc/nss/2002/.

A New National Security Strategy of the United States of America, December 2017, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/NSS-Final-12-18-2017-0905.pdf.

“Obama’s Speech in Ghana”, [Remarks by the president to the Ghanaian Parliament], 11 July 2009, at https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-ghanaian-parliament.

“Obama Visit Stirs Pride Among Ghanaians”, The Washington Post, 11 July 2009.

Pellerin Ch., “Obama to Announce AFRICOM Joint Force Command HQ in Liberia”, DoD News, 16 September 2014, at https://www.defense.gov/Explore/News/Article/Article/603259/obama-to-announce-africom-joint-force-command-hq-in-liberia/.

“Pentagon Creates Military Command for Africa”, National Public Radio: News and Analysis, 7 February 2007, at http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7234997.

Ploch L., “Africa Command: U.S. Strategic Interests and the Role of the U.S. Military in Africa”,Congressional Research Service, 3 April 2010

“President Bill Clinton’s Africa Trip”, August 2000, Africa South of the Sahara, at http://wwwsul.stanford.edu/depts/ssrg/africa/clinton2000.html.

“Presidential and Secretaries Travels Abroad”, President Barack Obama, Department of State.

Office of the Historian, at https://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/travels/president/obama-barack.

Prosper Africa: U.S. Trade and Investment Initiative, at https://www.trade.gov/prosper-africa. “Remarks by National Security Advisor Ambassador John Bolton on the Trump Administration’s New Africa Strategy”, Washington, 13 December 2018, at https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/remarks-national-security-advisor-ambassador-john-r-boltontrump-administrations-new-africa-strategy/.

Rondeaux C., “Cutting U.S. Funding for AFRICOM Is a Losing Proposition”, World Politics Review, 21 February 2020, at https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/28550/cutting-u-s-funding-for-africom-is-a-losing-proposition.

Rothchild D., Keller E., Africa-US Relations: Strategic Encounters, London 2006.

Raji R., “More Caviar, Fewer Guns on Sochi Menu?”, New African, no. 598 (October 2019).

“Russia, Wagner Group Complicating Libyan Ceasefire Efforts”, 15 July 2020, AFRICOM, at https://www.africom.mil/pressrelease/33008/russia-wagner-group-complicating-libyan-cease.

Scahill J., Brudne wojny, transl. by J. Małecki, Kraków 2014.

|17th Air Force, at http://www.17af.usafe.af.mil/.

Statement of General Thomas D. Waldhauser, United States Marine Corps Commander United States Africa Command before the Senate Committee on Armed Services, 7 February 2019, at https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Waldhauser_02-07-19.pdf.

Strategic Survey 2007: The Annual Review of World Affairs, London 2007.

Strategic Survey 2008: The Annual Review of World Affairs, London 2008.

Strategic Survey 2020: The Annual Review of World Affairs, London 2010.

“Terrorism in Africa is No Longer Somebody Else’s War”, New African, no. 560 (April 2016).

Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Initiative (TSCTI), at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/tscti.htm.

Trzcionka M., “Polityka sankcji Stanów Zjednoczonych wobec Chin w latach 1950-2007”, in: K. Budzowski (ed.), Wybrane aspekty handlu międzynarodowego, Kraków 2008.

Trzcionka M., Sankcje gospodarcze w polityce zagranicznej USA po II wojnie światowej, Kraków 2015.

“U.S. Africa Command Stands Up”, United States Africa Command, 9 October 2008, at http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=2177.

“US AFRICOM headquarters to remain in Germany for ‘foreseeable future’”, 19 February 2008, Herald Tribune, at http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/19/africa/AF-GENUS-Africa-Command.php.

“U.S. Army Europe and Africa Commands Consolidate”, U.S. Army Public Affairs, 20 November 2020, at https://army.mil/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.army.mil%2Farticle%2F241094%2Fu_s_army_europe_and_africa_commands_consolidate.

U.S. Army in Africa, at http://www.usaraf.army.mil/mission.html.

“U.S. European Command Statement Following President Bush’s Remarks Addressing Global Posture”, United States European Command, 16 August 2004, at http://www.eucom.mil/english/FullStory.asp?art=282.

“U.S. President Bill Clinton in Africa”, 27 March – 2 April 1998, AllAfrica, at http://allafrica.com/specials/clinton2000/clinton_res.html.

“United States Africa Command”, U.S. AFRICOM Public Affairs Office, at http://www.africom.mil/getArticle.asp?art=1644#.

„The Vice President Appears on Meet the Press with Tim Russert”, Camp David, 16 September 2016, The White House: President George W. Bush, at https://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/vicepresident/news-speeches/speeches/vp20010916.html.

Volman D., AFRICOM: The New U.S. Military Command for Africa, African Security Research Project, June 2008, at http://concernedafricascholars.org/african-security-researchproject/?p=12.

Volman D., “Africom to Continue Under Obama”, Global Research, http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14131.

Volman D., “The Bush Administration and African Oil: The Security Implications of US Energy Policy”, Review of African Political Economy, vol. 30, no. 98 (December 2003), https://doi.org/10.1080/04.

Venter A.J., “Keeping the Terrorists at Bay: ISIS, AQ Moved to Africa”, New African, no. 601 (April/May 2020).

Wambu O., “Obama: The Final Verdict”, New African, no. 565 (October 2016).

“Where Does America’s Oil Come From?”, World Economic Forum, at http://www.weforum.org/agenda/2015/08/where-america-oil-come-from.

“Why the U.S. Military is in Niger”, United States Africa Command, 20 October 2017, at https://www.africom.mil/article/30023/why-the-u-s-military-is-in-niger.

Wiatr K., „Trudne początki Africomu”, 5 October 2008, Portal Spraw Zagranicznych, at http://www.psz.pl/tekst-13863/Trudne-poczatki-AFRICOMu.

Zachara M., “Międzynarodowy handel bronią jako czynnik destabilizujący sytuację państw dysfunkcyjnych”, in: R. Kłosowicz (ed.), Państwa dysfunkcyjne i ich destabilizujący wpływ na stosunki międzynarodowe, Kraków 2013.

Zimmerman J., “Trump, as Africans See Him”, New African, no. 564 (October 2016).

Zimmerman K., “Why the US Should Spend 0.3 Percent of Its Defense Budget to Prevent an African Debacle”, Military Times, 12 March 2020, at https://www.militarytimes.com/opinion/commentary/2020/03/12/why-the-us-should-spend-03-percent-of-its-defensebudget-to-prevent-an-african-debacle/.




How to Cite

Kłosowicz, Robert. 2022. “United States Africa Command – Balance of Activities During the Presidencies of George H. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump”. Politeja 19 (1(76):255-84. https://doi.org/10.12797/Politeja.19.2022.76.13.