The U.S. vision for the ACRI is a greatly enhanced African
capacity to performpeacekeeping and humanitarian relief operations in a timely,
professionally competentmanner. ACRI aims to provide equipment and training to
10,000-12,000 African soldiers inwell-prepared companies and battalions,
commanded by trained African officers and capableof deployed operations with
consistent doctrine and procedures, using interoperablecommunications.
The ACRI Interagency Working Group has identified equipment
and training requirementsfor working with selected, democratic African partners
over a three- to five-year period,leading to self-sustainment on the part of
African peacekeeping contingents. The UnitedStates has completed initial
training with battalion-sized contingents from Senegal,Uganda and Malawi and
began training a Malian battalion in early February. Training with aGhanaian
battalion is scheduled for early April, in cooperation with Belgian
militarytrainers. Later this year, training will begin in Ethiopia, the first
country to committwo battalions and a brigade staff.
Africans are intent upon shaping their own future, in security
matters as in otheraspects of governance. The United States is interested in
working with democratic statesin Africa where the military respects human
rights and meets professional militarystandards in order to expand their
capacity for peacekeeping and humanitarian reliefoperations. We also are
looking to African states to bring African solutions to thesensitive issue of
command and control for brigade and higher levels of deployedoperations.
On the regional level, the Organization of African Unity began
to address internationalpeacekeeping initiatives, at the ministerial level,
late last year. At the internationallevel, the ACRI has provided the United
States with a vehicle for coordinating its Africanpeacekeeping approach with
other concerned nations. The United States hopes to see thiscoordination
instrument for both donors and troop contributors extended byinstitutionalizing
the African Peacekeeping Support Group, which first met at theinvitation of the
UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations in New York in December 1997.
The African Crisis Response Initiative comes at a critical
time, for the U.S. and for Africa, as we work to accelerate Africa's full
integration into a world of stable,democratic, and economically productive