Out of a budgeted amount of $389 million AFRICOM’s startup budget was slashed $308.4 by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense, leaving just $80.6 million, not much for setting up a continent wide command. Unfortunately a number of programs involving military contractors are underway and will continue. . From the summary:
Murtha Summary of the FY09 Defense Appropriations Bill (PDF) :
AFRICOM: Includes a reduction of $308.4 million associated with U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM). The reduction is taken from the amount requested to stand up a new headquarters due to the lack of a suitable location. The reduction does not effect funding for the current headquarters, exercises, counter-terrorism, or counter-drug programs.
In related news, Ghana has signed a MOU, memo of understanding, with the United States to control drug traffic. The link to the Ghana Government website is not working this evening. I will double check it again tomorrow. Here is the announcement (updated):
The United States Government and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to create a facility within the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) to support counter-narcotics activities.
Both governments – Ghana and the US – have agreed to build a 75,000-dollar climate-controlled facility to house drug detection equipment and personnel at the KIA to enhance processing of narcotic suspects.
The project is a joint effort between the US Africa Command (AFRICOM), the US Embassy in Accra and the NACOB. The facility, when completed and fully operational is expected to amplify the ability of the NACOB and its partners to detect narcotics traffickers.
US Charge d’Affaires, Sue Brown, said the agreement was a “step toward strengthening the already significant level of law enforcement co-operation between the United States and Ghana” that would boost the country’s aptitude to tackling the problem of narcotics trafficking in the sub-region.
She said without dedicated and active co-operation, it would be impossible to counter the threat from the narcotics trade, adding that the US remained committed to partnering Ghana face the challenge associated with the menace.
Mr Ben Botwe, NACOB Executive Secretary, expressed appreciation for the support of the US government and said he was optimistic that the facility would advance the mission of the Board.
What else the US will do with this facility is not discussed. But if history is anything to go by, and that includes Ghana & US history, it won’t just be a center to catch drug dealers.