GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany, Feb. 3, 2009 - U.S. Africa Command is planning the Department of Defense's military security assistance programs in Africa for fiscal years 2010 and 2011 during its annual capstone planning event in Garmisch, Germany, Feb. 2-6, 2009.

The 2009 Theater Security Cooperation Working Group conference brings together nearly 500 officials representing about a dozen U.S. government and international agencies, underscoring the multi-agency approach to developing and conducting security assistance programs in Africa.

"Our number one priority is the delivery of programs that make a difference," said General William E. Ward, commander of U.S. Africa Command, in his remarks opening the five-day conference. "To do that, advancing the partnership (and) advancing the coordination with our inter-agency partners continues to be one of our hallmark requirements."

U.S. Africa Command -- which was initially created two years ago this week -- conducts sustained security engagement through military-to-military programs, military-sponsored activities, and other military operations to promote a stable and secure African environment in support of U.S. foreign policy.

In Africa, the Department of State remains the executive agency for U.S. foreign policy matters, and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) leads development programs.

Among the senior U.S. officials providing keynote speeches on opening day were Theresa Whalen, deputy assistant secretary of defense for African affairs; Louis Mazel, director of the Department of State Office of African Regional and Security Affairs; Franklin Moore, deputy administrator for USAID's Africa Bureau; Ambassador Mary Yates, U.S.AFRICOM's deputy commander for civil-military affairs; and Vice Admiral Robert Moeller, U.S.AFRICOM's deputy commander for military operations.

By week's end, strategists will have developed a plan of projects and programs designed to build and strengthen security partnerships with African militaries. Those efforts are synchronized with the strategic plans of U.S. embassy country teams to work toward common security objectives.

Representatives from U.S. embassies and missions, defense attaches, and Africa Command's liaison officers assigned to embassies bring that feedback from their host countries.