G&A Podcast – Episode 5


4.10.18 – The hard work of setting up the new U.S. Military Command for AFRICA: General William E. “Kip” Ward and Ambassador Mary C. Yates discuss how they got the phones to work, built a culturally sensitive multi-talented team, dealt with skeptics, traveled the continent and expanded America’s military presence to boost U.S. security.















General William E. “Kip” Ward: William E. “Kip” Ward, a retired U.S. Army General Officer, is President of SENTEL Corporation of Alexandria, Virginia. As the inaugural Commander of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM), Ward successfully established the nation’s newest and uniquely positioned interagency combatant command responsible for all U.S. defense and security activities on the African continent and its island nations with staff representatives from State, Commerce, Treasury, Homeland Security and other U.S. Cabinet Departments and Agencies. He is a native of Baltimore, Maryland and was commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate into the Regular Army in June 1971 through the ROTC program at Morgan State University. He is a distinguished leader having commanded at every echelon from Lieutenant to General.

Prior to commanding AFRICOM, General Ward was the Deputy Commander, United States European Command, Germany. While serving as Deputy Commanding General and Chief of Staff U.S. Army Europe and Seventh Army in 2005, General Ward was selected by the U.S. Secretary of State to serve as the United States Security Coordinator, Israel Palestinian Authority in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Other key command and staff assignments include: Commander 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division during Operation Restore Hope, Somalia; The NATO Commander of Operation Joint Forge Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina; Chief of the Office of Military Cooperation, Cairo, Egypt; Vice Director for Operations, J-3, The Joint Staff, during the September 2001 terror attack on the Pentagon; Assistant Division Commander, 82nd Airborne Division, Ft Bragg, North Carolina and Commanding General 25th Infantry Division and U.S. Army Hawaii. Ward has also served command tours with troops in Germany, Korea, Ft Bragg, North Carolina, Ft Drum, New York and Ft Wainwright, Alaska. At the United States Military Academy at West Point, General Ward was an assistant professor in the Department of
Social Sciences, teaching political science and public policy. Ward holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science from Morgan State University, a Master of Arts Degree in Political Science from The Pennsylvania State University, an honorary Doctorate in Public Service from Morgan State University, and an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Virginia State University. He is a graduate of the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses at Ft Benning, Georgia, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Ft Leavenworth, Kansas, and the U.S. Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania.

His military awards and badges include: the Defense Distinguished Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters); the Distinguished Service Medal (with Oak Leaf Cluster); the Defense Superior Service Medal (with two Oak Leaf Clusters); the Legion of Merit (with three Oak Leaf Clusters); the Expert Infantryman’s Badge; the Combat Infantryman’s Badge; and the Master Parachutist Badge. He has also received numerous foreign awards including from Liberia, Egypt, Italy, Uganda, Rwanda, Niger and Canada. In addition, Ward has also received several noteworthy lifetime achievement honors, including: Special Congressional Recognition by the United States House of Representatives (2009); Trumpet Award for Military Service; Essence Leadership Award; Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) Lifetime Achievement Award; Presidential Award of Distinction from Morehouse College; 100 Black Men of America Lifetime Leadership Award; and 2004 ROCK of the Year. Ward is a life member of the Morgan State University Alumni Association, the Association of the United States Army, the U.S. Army War College Association, the 555th Parachute Infantry Association, The ROCKS Inc., the National Society of Pershing Rifles, the Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council, the National Defense Industrial Association, the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition and serves on the Boards of Africare, the Corporate Council on Africa and The History Makers. Ward and his wife are the proud parents of a married son and daughter and have two grandchildren.


Ambassador Mary C. Yates: Yates retired as a Senior Foreign Service officer in September 2011 after 31 years with State. Her final assignment was Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council (NSC) of the White House from January 2011- August 2011 after serving as Senior Advisor for Strategic Planning and Special Assistant to the President from June 2009 – December 2010. Following her retirement, she served as Charge d’Affaires in Khartoum, Sudan for the Department of State through February 2012. In the fall of 2012, Ambassador Yates was nominated to serve as a director of the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C. and as a member of the Board of Regents of the Oregon State University Honors College, her alma mater.

Ambassador Yates came to the NSC directly from serving as Deputy to the Commander for Civil-Military Activities (DCMA) for the United States Africa Command, (AFRICOM) October 2007 – May 2009, the first such military command to have two co-equal 3-star level deputy commanders (military and civilian). From 2005-2007 Ambassador Yates served as Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) to the United States European Command (EUCOM) led by General James Jones.

A Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Minister Counselor, Ambassador Yates began her diplomatic career in 1980. She served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Ghana from 2002 until 2005. While serving as Ambassador to the Republic of Burundi from 1999 until 2002, she worked extensively to bring peace and stability through the Burundian Peace Process, led by President Nelson Mandela. She also served in Kinshasa, Zaire (Congo) as Political Officer and then Public Affairs Counselor from 1991-1995, during the critical period of genocide in neighboring Rwanda. Her other assignments included Paris, Manila, Seoul and the Department of State, Washington DC.

A native of Portland, Oregon, Ambassador Yates earned her BA in English from Oregon State University and a Masters in Comparative East-West Humanities from New York University (NYU), where she advanced to candidacy for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Asian Studies. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of English from her alma mater, Oregon State University, in June 2007. She is married to a diplomatic colleague, Amb (ret) John M. Yates, and is the stepmother of five children.