President Joe Biden has selected Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael Langley to command all U.S. forces in Africa. If confirmed, he will lead U.S. Africa Command (or AFRICOM) with all of the U.S.’s military operations on the African continent under his responsibility.
AFRICOM is one of the 11 unified combatant commands of the U.S. Department of Defense, headquartered at Kelley Barracks, Stuttgart, Germany.
Langley would become the first Black four-star general in the service’s 246-year history, The Hill reported. There are 73 four-star generals, all white.
Langley would also be the second Marine in charge of AFRICOM after Gen. Thomas Waldhauser, who served from 2016 to 2019. The other four have all come from the Army, the Africa Report reported.
Not all are happy about the news, despite its historic ramifications. To some, AFRICOM promotes the U.S.’s imperial affairs In Africa. In fact, there is a call for the dissolution of AFRICOM, which was created in 2007.
The Black Alliance for Peace’s Africa team and the U.S. Out of Africa Network organized a month of action on AFRICOM in October 2021. The purpose was to “raise the public’s awareness about the use of western military power to impose western control of African land, resources, and labor on behalf of the world’s corporate and financial elite, as well as the effort to build a popular movement for demilitarization and anti-imperialism on the African continent,” according to Black Alliance for Peace website. The alliance bills itself as a “human rights project against war, repression and imperialism.”
U.S. Out of Africa Network (USOAN) is the organizational arm of the U.S. Out of Africa: Shut Down AFRICOM campaign.
According to the movement to shut down AFRICOM, the goal of the command is to “practice full-spectrum dominance over the entire continent,” Hood Communist reported. Critics say that AFRICOM has been cultivating relationships with military forces in Africa so it can use them “as proxies to fight wars” on behalf of the U.S.
“’Africa COMMAND’ spells colonialism,” wrote Nunu Kidane, Network Coordinator for Priority Africa Network, in the blog MRonline. Kidane added, “It is an initiative to ensure ‘command’ of land and resources that in the past was called just plain ‘colonialism.’”
Still, the Biden administration is celebrating the nomination of Langley.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced the nomination. Langley has served as head of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Command and Marine Corps Forces North. Langley has also been commanding general of Fleet Marine Force Atlantic since November 2021, Stripes reported.
Since his commission in 1985, Langley has commanded at every level, from platoon to regiment. He has deployed to Japan, Afghanistan, and Somalia. Langley has also worked at the Pentagon and U.S. Central Command, the military arm that oversees U.S. forces in the Middle East, according to his Marine Corps biography.
A native of Shreveport, La., Langley graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington.
Photo: Left, Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley, U.S. Marine Corps AFRICOM nominee / Right, U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Michael E. Langley thanks sailors preparing the USS Gunston Hall ship for deployment, March 25, 2022. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Mr. Casey Price)