African Standby Force
The African Standby Force (French: Force africaine en attente) is intended to be an international, continental African military force, with both a civilian and police component, under the direction of the African Union. It is to be deployed in times of crisis in Africa. In 2003, a 2010 operational date for the force was set.
The genesis of the African Standby Force is contained in a document which provides a framework for the structure of the ASF. The establishment of the ASF has been envisioned in two parts:
1. Regional Economic Communities would complement the African Union by establishing regional standby forces up to a brigade size. 2. In time, the idea is that the AU will be good enough at peacekeeping activities to handle missions with varying degrees of complexity, thereby allowing the ASF to maintain a purely supplemental role.
Currently, Africa's five regions are in the process of setting up their regional brigades and agreeing on issues of harmonisation and standardisation between them. Current seat is Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Each brigade is to have a planning element and brigade headquarters, as well as assigned units from member states.
Regions and status are provisionally as follows:
- North Africa: The Arab Maghreb Union cooperating with Egypt were initially designated to act as the regional organisation which would create and support the brigade. For some time, intra-regional differences prevented any progress at all. However, a new mounting body, the North Africa Regional Capability, has now been created to take on the role of the REC for Northern Africa. It signed a MoU with the AU in January 2008.  U.S. diplomatic reporting in March 2009 from Addis Ababa said that AU PSC Commissioner Ramtane Lamamra said the North African brigade "was "catching up" quickly. He said Egypt will provide headquarters for the brigade and contribute one battalion. Algeria has pledged two autonomous battalions and two additional support companies, while Libya is offering helicopter support. Tunisia has signed an MOU, but the nature of its pledge is not yet known, said Lamamra."
- West Africa: The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Standby Force is being established as a 1,500 strong ready battalion group as the first element of a 6,500 strong brigade. In mid-2008 a first exercise at Bamako, Mali evaluated the capabilities of the assigned units of the force. It has been reported that the Nigerian Army battalion assigned to the force is located at Okitipupa in southwest Nigeria. Discussions continue over the use of a logistics depot at Hastings, Sierra Leone. A multinational planning cell is located at Abuja, Nigeria under Brigadier General Hassan Lai of the Nigerian Army.
- It was reported in May 2010 that: 'Altogether, the ECOWAS Standby Force consists of a Task Force and a Main Force. The Task Force, composed of 2773 personnel from the predetermined units including 200 police personnel, consists of a Headquarters, two Infantry Battalions (West and East) and a Logistics battalion. On order, the Task Force is to deploy within 30 days and be self-sustained for 90 days. The West ESF Battalion, led by Senegal, with membership of Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Conakry and Gambia, was evaluated during the joint Senegal/France field training exercise held in December 2007. The Logistics battalion, led by Mali and Nigeria as second-in-command, with additional membership of Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal, was validated in Burkina Faso in June 2009.' The East Battalion was validated in a multinational military field training exercise in May 2010.
- Central Africa: The Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) is the nominated regional organisation. A meeting of Defence Chiefs of Staff was held in Brazzaville in October 2003, at which it was decided that a brigade-size peacekeeping force, the Central African Multinational Force (French acronym FOMAC) would be created in order to intervene in unstable Central African areas. The meeting recommended that military planners from each of the ECCAS states form a group to work out the details for the force. They also suggested the establishment of a joint peacekeeping training centre and military exercises every two years. The first of these is to take place in Chad. By 2008, the regional PLANELM in Libreville had 13 members, including six from the region and seven from Gabon. The regional logistics base was to be established in Douala.
- East Africa: The force is now known as the Eastern Africa Standby Force (EASF), while the EAstern Africa Standby Brigade Coordination Mechanism (EASBRICOM) was the supporting secretariat. The Brigade HQ and logistics base are both located at Addis Ababa while the planning element is in Nairobi.  An experts' meeting in 2007 identified a number of duplications between the existing Planning Element and Brigade headquarters structures.
- Southern Africa: A Southern African Development Community (SADC) brigade (SADCBRIG) has been used already as the basis for AU deployments in the Sudan(?). The brigade was officially launched on 17 August 2007 in Lusaka, Zambia. The Brigade planning element are located in Gaborone, Botswana, as part of the SADC Secretariat. Helmoed-Romer Heitman revealed the initial contributions listing from the various countries in Jane's Defence Weekly, 25 July 2007. They included two brigade HQ pledges (South Africa and Tanzania) one parachute battalion, pledged by South Africa, and six motorised infantry battalions.
- fr:École de maintien de la paix Alioune Blondin Beye de Bamako - the intermediate level peacekeeping school for the ECOWAS component of the ASF
- African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises
- Stephen Burgess, The African Standby Force, Subregional Commands, and African Militaries, Air War College
- Johan Potgieter, Peacekeeping Forces for Peace Support Operations in Africa[dead link], Africa Peace Support Trainers' Association, 4 August 2009
- U.S. Mission to the African Union, USAU: Africa Command Deputy Meets with AU Peace and Security Commissioner Lamamra, 09ADDISABABA735, 30 March 2009, via United States diplomatic cables leak
- , February 2009
- ECOWAS Multinational Military Field Training Exercise Ends, Monday, May 3, 2010, via nigeriadefence.com
- UK House of Commons, House of Commons Written Answers 28 April 2004, part 37, accessed March 2009
- Ulf Engel, João Gomes Porto, Africa's New Peace and Security Architecture: Promoting Norms, Institutionalzing Solutions, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2010, 136
- Jane's Defence Weekly, February 2009
- East African Brigade Coordination Mechanism, Report of the Experts Workshop on the Concept of Cooperation in Peace and Security in the Eastern Africa Region, Seychelles, 24-26 September 2007
- Polity.org.za, Zambia: Mwanawasa: Launch of the SADC Brigade (17/08/2007)
- Jakkie Cilliars and Mark Malan, Progress with the African Standby Force, Institute for Security Studies, Pretoria, 2005
- 'SADC lines up its contributions to African Standby Force,' JDW 25 July 2007, 32.
- Franke, Benedikt. Security Cooperation in Africa: A Reappraisal. Boulder, Colo: FirstForumPress, 2009.
- Bachmann, Olaf. The African Standby Force: External Support to an 'African Solution to African Problems'?, IDS Research Report 67, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, 2011
- Guicherd, Catherine. The AU in Sudan: Lessons for the African Standby Force, New York, International Peace Academy, 2007
- ACCORD, The African Standby Force and Regional Standby Brigades, Conflict Trends 2008/3
- Virginia Gamba, SADC Security Cooperation and Progress with the SADC Brigade, SaferAfrica, February 2008, accessed May 2010
- African Standby Force
- Steve Mbogo, African Peacekeeping Force Development Continues Despite Funding Challenges, World Politics Watch, Dec. 21, 2006.
- ECOWAS, U.S. Donates Equipment to ECOWAS Standby Force, Press Release 079/09, August 22, 2009
- http://www.wikileaks.ch/cable/2005/12/05ADDISABABA4179.html, December 2005