Lesson 5: Don't expect instant results.
Our partners in Africa warn us that we must adopt an "African time" perspective. We should not expect quick results or approach the continent with a "make it happen now" mindset. At the same time, we do see slow, steady progress. Coups are decreasingly tolerated as a means of acceptable regime change, and in some cases, such as Mauritania, we have seen militaries take stock of the international community and make steady progress in restoring civil authority. Much of our work is aimed at reinforcing African success stories so that we can work together as capable partners to address regional and global concerns. Tensions in Sudan as next year's referendum on southern independence approaches can be reduced if regional neighbors build cooperative relationships with all parties in Sudan.
Somalia remains a country in daily conflict, with a people so fiercely proud of their independence that any lasting security solution must be African-led. As I write this, the Ugandan People's Defense Force is operating deep inside neighboring nations, with an unprecedented level of intergovernmental cooperation, to end the decades-long reign of terror by the Lord's Resistance Army, an extremist group that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions.
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the U.S. military is one small player in a much larger international effort to help that nation reform its security sector. We have provided some funding to renovate medical facilities that provide support to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, and we are currently conducting a six-month pilot project to train a model military unit in the Congolese Army. Although this program includes basic military skills training, it also emphasizes respect for human rights, the rule of law, and an understanding of the military's role in a civil society.
As we conduct our daily and weekly activities across Africa we believe we share a long-term vision with our African partners: Sustained security programs can, over time, help support the conditions for economic development, social development, and improvements in health -- so that people will continue to see progress in their lives and growing prosperity in their communities.
That is how we support U.S. foreign policy in Africa, while also promoting the long-term aspirations of the African people. It has indeed been a personal honor and a privilege to be a part of the creation of Africom.