STUTTGART, Germany — Marine Corps Forces Africa — the Marine component of AFRICOM — officially activated on Monday, bringing all of the Corps’ missions on the continent under one command in Stuttgart.

The new command, which operates alongside Marine Corps Forces Europe at Panzer Kaserne, unfurled its colors Friday during a ceremony in anticipation of its activation this week.

Brig. Gen. Tracy L. Garrett will lead both commands.

“The primary focus of the new command will be on engagement — through theater security cooperation activities — bringing U.S. Marine Corps competencies to the table in support of U.S. Africa Command,” said Garrett during the ceremony.

The new command is responsible for coordinating Marine Corps-related operations and exercises on the continent, including civil affairs missions and military-to-military training exercises intended to promote broader stability.

“Constructing a new command is a major undertaking,” said AFRICOM’s commander, Gen. William E. “Kip” Ward, during Friday’s ceremony. “What you are doing now will create something that will make a real difference, that will add value for the people of Africa and for our nation.”

AFRICOM, which was first announced by President George W. Bush in February 2007, activated on Oct. 1 of this year. Years in the making, the new command was formed in recognition of Africa’s growing strategic value.

Previously, responsibilities for military activities on the continent were divided among U.S European Command, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Pacific Command. MARFORAF has been in the process of integrating responsibilities and missions previously carried out by three separate Marine components that operated under the old structure.

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John covers U.S. military activities across Europe and Africa. Based in Stuttgart, Germany, he previously worked for newspapers in New Jersey, North Carolina and Maryland. He is a graduate of the University of Delaware.

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