In its mission to prevent conflict in Africa, the new U.S. military combatant command in Africa (AFRICOM) will likely address the environmental dimensions of conflicts, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for African Affairs Theresa Whelan
told Inside the Pentagon
(subscription required). “To the extent that the Africa Command in its management of our capability and capacity-building training programs enables African forces to be more effective in deterring conflicts, defusing conflicts, responding to local flare-ups that might occur because of some environmentally caused issue—then, yes, you could say that AFRICOM is part of the process of addressing the consequences of environmental change,” said Whelan. She noted that shifting weather patterns and sustained drought helped precipitate the current conflict in Darfur between pastoralists and farmers—echoing an argument
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made in a June 2007 editorial in The Washington Post
A transcript of an October 2007 interview Whelan gave on AFRICOM is available here. In a New Security Beat post, Department of the Army Senior Africa Analyst Shannon Beebe argues that AFRICOM should implement an environmental security strategy.