Africom to Conduct Change of Command Next Week

ADDIS ABEBA – Germany-based U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) says it will conduct a change of command on Friday, next week.

U.S. Army Gen. Stephen J. Townsend will assume command from retiring U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas D. Waldhauser.

The acting U.S. Secretary of Defense is scheduled to preside over the ceremony to be held at Patch Barracks, Stuttgart.

“Waldhauser will relinquish command and subsequently retire after a distinguished 43-year career serving in uniform,” Africom says in a statement.

His replacement Townsend previously served as the commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command since March 2, 2018. He will be the fifth AFRICOM commander since the command was established in 2008.

Raised in an Army family, Townsend commissioned as an infantry officer upon graduating from North Georgia College in 1982. Townsend has led and commanded all U.S. and multi-national forces fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as the Commander, Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve.

U.S. Africa Command is one of six U.S. Department of Defense geographic combatant commands.

It was set up in 2008 to bring all U.S. military activity in Africa under one unified command, rather than dividing responsibility between commanders in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

Africom also conducts crisis response on the African continent in order to advance U.S. interests.

Photo Caption: U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, commander of United States Africa Command, addressing service members for Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) on Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, June 14, 2018.