Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, the active Army’s only
black four-star general, was tapped Tuesday to lead the Pentagon’s new Africa
Ward, 58, currently deputy commander of U.S. European
Command, will take over a sprawling new command, which will work with African
countries to strengthen governments and their militaries and make the nations
less vulnerable to terrorist activities.
Initially the command will be run through the existing
European Command in Stuttgart, Germany,
but is expected to become an independent unit by the end of September 2008.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced in a press release
that President Bush had nominated Ward for the new post.
“I am honored by President Bush’s and Secretary Gates’
confidence and look forward to the confirmation process,” Ward said in a
written statement. “In the meantime I remain focused on the important work
of U.S. European Command.”
According to the Pentagon, Africa Command will help
“promote peace and security and respond to crises on the continent.”
It will also coordinate military support for other diplomatic and development
officials are still working out the size and the location of the command,
although there have been indications that portions of it will be established in
several places around the continent.
Bush announced the formation of the Africa Command in
February, saying it will “strengthen our security cooperation with Africa
and create new opportunities to bolster the capabilities of our partners in Africa.”
Ward graduated from Morgan
ROTC program and joined the military in 1971. He received his bachelor’s degree
from Morgan, and his master’s degree from Pennsylvania
Ward has held a number of overseas and staff posts, and served as commander of
the 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division in Somalia.
He later was the commander of the stabilization force in Bosnia
and Herzegovina in 2000.
He became the fifth black to be promoted to the rank of
general when he received his fourth star in May 2006.
The military has regional commands all around the works,
including Pacific Command, which largely overseas Asian affairs; Central
Command, which concentrates on the Middle East; and
Southern Command, which focuses on Latin America.
On the Net:
Gen. William “Kip” Ward Biography:
Defense Department: http://www.defenselink.mil
– Associated Press
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