U.S. Africa Command Leader Talks ROTC, Piracy

Gen. William 'Kip' Ward working to develop security programs

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Gen. Ward greets former Virginia Gov. L. Douglas Wilder during the awards banquet. (Source: Zef Nikolla)

What are some of your goals for the U.S. Africa Command, and how do you hope to change the continent for the better?

My goal is that at AFRICOM we listen to the things that Africans say are important to them, and understand where those lines of consistency lie with our security objectives. The goal is to see increasingly more stable nations on the continent, contributing to the care of their people and to global security in substantial ways. When you have a stable continent of Africa that affects our stability, because in the days of a mobilized environment what happens in one part of the world, clearly affects all of us.

How has your command developed a strategy to try to reduce the threat of piracy?

It is an international concern, and it is not something that my command will do as an independent activity. We want to work with the international community and the African Union as they develop their programs. We need to address the ability of the nations to control their territorial waters and have the ability to police those waters in effective ways. Our strategy is to support Africa’s efforts, not to develop stand alone activities. Our instruction to their security organizations will provide additional capabilities to protect their territorial waters from illegal fishing and trafficking.

What advice would you give and what skills do you suggest one should try to acquire if they are interested in achieving the status of a four-star general?

I think being a four-star general is nice, but it is not something that everyone should try to achieve. You can’t be focused on yourself. Focus on doing the things that cause your teammates to be better. By doing so, you elevate the activities and achievements of the entire team. And if you are recognized and elevated, then that is great, but more importantly we elevate our fellow human beings and we elevate our organizations so that we are all in a better position to achieve things that will make a difference for all of us.

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