General William Ward, the founding commander of AFRICOM, has stepped down at a ceremony in Stuttgart, Germany after about three years in his post. VOA reports on his departure and profiles his successor, General Carter Ham:
The new commander of Africa Command, General Carter Ham, said he intends to maintain the approach General Ward established. “The longer I serve, the more I believe relationships with our partners are what really matters and really enables us to achieve our objectives. I believe we are most successful when we help find African solutions to African security challenges. And I know we will face many challenges. Some of those we can see very clearly today, while others will emerge in unexpected ways and in unexpected places,” he said.
General Ham has been the commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe for the past two-and-a-half years, and has had a variety of command and Pentagon assignments.
Most recently, he co-led the defense department’s analysis of the potential impact of allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the U.S. military. That process led to the approval of a law that is expected to lift the ban this year, once the military services have conducted a planned training program.
The military leadership, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, has emphasized continuity amidst transition, though AFRICOM’s staff and the entire Pentagon are clearly watching events in North Africa carefully and assessing the impact those events might have on AFRICOM’s future. AFRICOM has responsibility for any US military activities in Libya.
AFRICOM’s press release is here.