By Sgt. Wayne WoolleyMay 11, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Gen. George W. Casey, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, on Monday night welcomed nearly 100 senior military leaders from nations across the African continent to the inaugural African Land Forces Summit.
Casey told the leaders the five-day summit is the latest in a series of efforts to assist African nations as they work to form partnerships to foster stability and peace on the continent.
He said the establishment of the U.S. Africa Command in 2007 and then U.S. Army Africa last year is "an indicator of our long-term interest in the militaries on the African continent."
The summit theme is "Adapting Land Forces to 21st Century Security Challenges."
Casey outlined the threats the U.S. Army expects to face in the coming years.
"Two trends that worry me most are weapons of mass destruction in the hands of terrorist organizations and safe havens -- countries and parts of countries where the local government can't or won't deny their countries to terrorists," Casey said.
The general said the United States must also expect to face conflicts involving "hybrid threats," a terrorist organization that is supported by one or more sovereign nations.
"Hezbollah is a good example of what a hybrid threat can be," he said. "It's a mix of conventional irregular, terrorist and criminal capabilities that are organized and employed asymmetrically. That's what we think we're going to see."
To prevail against such threats, the United States must form strong alliances with other nations.
The Land Forces Summit is a continuation of that kind of effort, he said.
"We're here to listen and we're here to partner," Casey said. "We plan to be at this for awhile."
Opening Ceremony - African Land Forces Summit - 10 May 2010 from US Army Africa.