Thursday, November 19, 2009
Foreign Policy has an article out titled "Think Again: Africom" by Elizabeth Dickinson. It's a little light, but that's not surprising given where it's been published (these are the people who see fit to give Tom Ricks a forum). Once you get past the fact that they consistently refer to the command as Africom (as opposed to its real name which is AFRICOM), I don't see anything factually incorrect with this article. At a minimum, it addresses the "conventional wisdom" surrounding the command, probably without adequately addressing all of the issues that drive that CW, or prove or disprove said CW. Not like the paper I highlighted here.
Probably most interesting in all of this (if you've already read the CRS paper) is that someone from the AFRICOM Public Affairs Office, a Vince Crawley, commented on the article. That is odd coming from a combatant command. And I don't think Mr. Crawley makes very persuasive arguments, it just sounds like complaining about some very valid concerns surrounding AFRICOM. But could you imagine CENTCOM responding to every article about it? Especially ones that are actually pretty objective? Very bizarre. The AFRICOM PAO doesn't seem all that ready to handle the messaging issues that the command will require. If you doubt me, look them up on Facebook and see what they put out every day. I'm sure you'll be equally unimpressed.