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Laying the Foundation in Africa: Bolstering US and African partnerships will help strengthen strategic military-to-military relationships, while enabling the United States to respond to crises when needed, said Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, commander of US Air Forces Africa (17th Air Force), at the 2011 African Chiefs Conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. "The bottom line is that these objectives help us focus on areas that provide the greatest opportunity to strengthen security force cooperation between our militaries," she said in remarks at the late April conference. Some 150 military and civilian aviation specialists from more than 20 African air forces gathered there to discuss the challenges they face, such as lack of resources and insufficient training in highly technical areas. "The themes we hear from you are identical to the issues you would hear from the United States Air Force as well," Woodward said. (Addis Ababa report by SSgt. Stefanie Torres) (See also Schwartz Eyes Expanded Ties with Africa.)