The United States is to set up a command centre for Africa to oversee its military operations on the continent.
US Defence Secretary, Robert Gates says the Pentagon’s plans will help US authorities coordinate action and counter potential threats.
“The president has decided to stand up a new unified combatant command — Africa Command,” Gates told a congressional panel.
US officials say Africa is of growing strategic importance to the United States because of increased efforts by China to gain influence on the continent.
Africa Command would be the United States’s fifth regional operations base.
As the US already has an anti-terror task-force based in Djibouti, it is unclear whether the new command centre will be located in Africa or the United States.