AFRICAN CRISIS RESPONSE INITIATIVE (ACRI)
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 forAfrica, as we work to accelerate Africa's full integration into a world of stable,democratic, and economically productive states.