WASHINGTON — US Africa Command (AFRICOM) has a brand new chief, with US General Michael “Mike” Langley taking command of US navy missions on a continent the place the Pentagon says countering Chinese affect and threats from extremists stays paramount.
“I know I have a lot to do. We have a lot to do,” Langley stated throughout a ceremony on the command’s headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany.
Upon his promotion earlier this month, Langley turned the primary African-American four-star normal within the Marine Corps’ 246-year historical past. Prior to this place, Langley served as Commander of the Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic and Marine Forces Command.
“He is the right leader at the right time with the right skills to lead this critical command. He has the unique blend of character, competence, courage, experience and knowledge to lead AFRICOM in this challenging time,” General Mark Milley, stated the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Tuesday.
Langley is the sixth AFRICOM commander because the command was established in 2008. Outgoing commander Gen. Stephen Townsend, who’s retiring after 40 years within the navy, warned on the ceremony that “America cannot afford to ignore Africa.”
“The continent is full of potential, but also full of challenges, and it stands at a historic crossroads,” Townsend stated. “On one side is authoritarianism and foreign malign influence, along with the terrorism and food and economic insecurity that comes with it. On the other side is peace, security, democracy, development and the rule of law.”
Townsend continued to sound the alarm about terror teams thriving in uncontrolled areas of Africa, telling Congress earlier this 12 months that the US “may be going backwards” in its struggle in opposition to al-Shabab terrorists, since former President Donald Trump determined to withdraw all US troops from Somalia throughout his closing days in workplace.
In January, Townsend instructed VOA in an unique interview that he believed there are “more effective and efficient ways” to struggle al-Shabab than shuttling in and overseas for missions. Less than 4 months later, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin signed an order to ship a whole bunch of US troops again to Somalia.
Austin, who presided over the ceremony, stated Africa is on the entrance traces of a lot of this century’s most urgent threats. He warned that “autocracy is on the rise,” with Russia and China “working to tighten their grip on the continent.”
“Russia sells cheap weapons and backs mercenaries. It’s yet another reminder of Moscow’s willingness to sow chaos and threaten the rules-based international order – and it goes far beyond [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s reckless invasion of Ukraine,” he stated.