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Africom, Southcom Commanders Discuss FY21 Priorities at Senate Hearing

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The heads of U.S. Southern Command and U.S. Africa Command have testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on their fiscal year 2021 defense funding needs, DoD News reported Thursday. Gen. Stephen Townsend, the Africom commander, and Adm. Craig Faller, the Southcom commander, also detailed their plans for the five-year Future Years Defense program during the hearing.

According to Townsend, Africom seeks to improve operational efficiency, support defense interests and shift its focus to global power competition efforts. However, Townsend noted that Africa will remain challenged by the "inconvenient reality" of major terrorist groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida.

"While we should not try to confront each one, we should remain resolute in confronting those who threaten Americans and the American homeland, like al-Shabab — the largest, most violent of al-Qaida's branches," said Townsend. "Today, Africa does that with a light and relatively low-cost footprint by supporting African and international partners who are leading these efforts."

He added that the U.S. needs to ensure that assets such as sea lines and global crossroads remain open and secure. According to Faller, the U.S. must also address the issue of smaller nations being exploited by extremist groups and adversaries like China, Russia and Iran.

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