Part III: United States Southern Command and Latin America

hariette spierings hariette at
Thu Jun 13 15:04:21 MDT 1996

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>Date: Thu, 13 Jun 1996 13:47:20 -0700 (PDT)
>From: Sabina Astete <sgastete at>
>To: peru at
>Cc: tumi at
>Subject: Part III: United States Southern Command and Latin America
>Sender: owner-tumi at
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>SouthCom: Making a Difference Regionally
>SouthCom provides a regional vision for cooperation. We also serve as a
>catalyst to foster an integrated and synchronized counterdrug effort
>throughout the region. our lead organization of the regional counterdrug
>effort is the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South). It is
>located at Howard Air Force Base, Panama. JIATF-South coordinates the
>efforts of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and
>interagency representatives from the U.S. Customs office, DEA, CIA, DIA,
>and NSA on the SouthCom staff.
>Additionally, colonels from Peru, Colombia, and Venezuela coordinate
>JIATF-South and SouthCom's activities with their respective countries. All
>of JIATF-South's counterdrug efforts are designed to support each
>ambassador's counterdrug objectives.
>To assist ambassadors in developing these objectives, SouthCom provides
>Joint Planning and Assistance Teams and Tactical Analysis Teams to the
>U.S. Embassy country teams. These teams are physically located in the
>Embassies or with the U.S. security assistance organizations in
>drug-producing or transiting countries. These teams also provide the
>security assistance organization commanders the capability to conduct
>combined and operational support to allied nations, counterdrug efforts.
>SouthCom provides other assets to support the counterdrug effort. Air
>Force and Special Operations troops provide support and training to our
>allied nations' counterdrug forces. Deployments of U.S. Air Force AWACS,
>ground based radars, and relocatable-over-the-horizon radars (ROTHR) are
>integrated in an extremely useful Andean Ridge counterdrug network which
>detects and monitors narcotrafficking aircraft.
>Regional cooperative efforts are fostering greater regional cooperation
>and understanding. Colombians, Ecuadorians, Peruvians, and Canadians now
>ride on U.S. AWACs flights directed against the narcotics air bridge
>between Peru and Colombia. Venezuela and Brazil are now engaged in the
>counterdrug effort and have expressed enthusiasm to expand their
>cooperation. In counterdrugs, success breeds success.
>Operation Green Clover
>Operation Green Clover was approved by the National Command
>Authority and directed by the Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff. Supported
>by SouthCom, it was a regional counterdrug surge operation. Employing
>assigned and augmenting forces, SouthCom expanded its assistance to allied
>nations in their efforts against narcotics trafficking. This operation
>featured interagency cooperative efforts with Colombia, Peru, Venezuela,
>Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, and the Netherlands Antilles.
>In a two-month period, 582 personnel conducted 32 separate deployments in
>support of this surge effort. With a small shift in resources, Operation
>Green Clover increased the disruption of the flow of narcotics via air
>routes and demonstrated the significance of synchronized and integrated
>regional counterdrug operations. Intelligence indicators reveal that the
>operation suppressed air activity and forced an adjustment of
>narcotrafficker air patterns.
>The direct benefits of Operation Green Clover are expressed in the
>enhanced law enforcement cooperation among Peru, Colombia, Bolivia,
>Ecuador, and Venezuela. Costa Rica and Belize also benefited.
>Additionally, Brazil and Venezuela employed counterdrug observation teams
>for the first time. As a direct result of Operation Green Clover, Peru and
>Brazil have begun a dialogue on counterdrug cooperation.
>The Way Ahead
>Future operations will sustain the pressure on narcotraffickers.
>SouthCom's latest counterdrug effort, Operation Laser Strike, commits a
>sustained level of U.S. detection, monitoring, and tracking resources to
>support extended interdiction and law enforcement efforts in Peru,
>Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil. Operation Laser Strike
>will intensify the disruption of production and transportation of illegal
>drugs by increasing the level of U.S. resources devoted to the regional
>counterdrug effort.
>The employment of ground-based radars in conjunction with Operation Laser
>Strike is a vital element in the coordinated air interdiction effort.
>These ground-based radars present a significant deterrent to
>narcotraffickers. SouthCom will increase this deterrent by strategically
>relocating and augmenting the existing radar network. Additionally, a
>state-ofthe-art upgrade will complete electronic connection between all
>ground and air counterdrug assets.
>To help coordinate these efforts and promote regional counterdrug
>thinking, SouthCom will host a Counterdrug Conference in conjunction with
>the Latin American Symposium scheduled for April 1996. Country Team and
>allied nation representatives from Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador,
>Bolivia, and Brazil will attend. The Counterdrug Conference will provide a
>forum to further refine the regional counterdrug strategy.
>Last year's counterdrug results are encouraging. A strong, capable U.S.
>presence in the region is key to the further improvement in regional
>counterdrug cooperation and success. SouthCom deployments and resources
>will maintain pressure to disrupt narcotrafficking. our goal will be to
>continue to promote and contribute to a regional, multinational,
>integrated counterdrug operation. We will build upon our tactical
>successes to assist and enhance the air, land, sea, and riverine
>interdiction efforts of our Latin American allies.
>Ensuring U.S. Forces are postured for missions today
>-- Considerations Affecting Continued US Military Presence
>* US Interests
>-- Conduct of contingencies and humanitarian operations
>-- Facilitates:
>* Conduct efforts
>* Use of existing training facilities
>* Panamanian Interests
>-- Facilitates engineering and training
>-- Provides environmental protection to the Canal watershed
>* Regional Interests
>-- Enhances training for jungle and riverine operations
>-- Improves joint training for counterdrug operations
>-- Demonstrates U.S. commitment to Latin America
>U.S. Forces Forward Presence in Panama
>SouthCom continues to comply with the 1977 Panama Canal Treaties. There
>has been a steady reduction of permanently stationed U.S. troops in Panama
>from more than 10,300 troops in 1994, to fewer than 7,500 today. Drawdown
>will continue to less than 5,000 in 1997 and to zero by 31 December 1999.
>In 1995, Fort Davis and Fort Espinar, totaling over 4,400 acres and
>buildings, were transferred to Panama. This year Fort Amador, the "Pearl
>of the Canal", and the Arraijan Fuel Tank Farm with a 800,000 barrel
>capacity will be transferred.
>In September 1995, the presidents of both the U.S. and Panama agreed to
>hold exploratory talks on the possibility of a post-1999 U.S. military
>presence in Panama. The process of the exploratory talks is still
>evolving. Both governments have undertaken serious studies and analyses of
>the two options: a continued U.S. military presence or total withdrawal.
>Any solution will build on our existing excellent relations with the
>Government of Panama.
>SouthCom is supporting U.S. preparations for the exploratory talks by
>providing data, tours, and information requested by both U.S. and
>Panamanian negotiating teams.
>Unified Command Plan
>The President's approval of the Unified Command Plan (UCP) will have
>significant benefits for Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as for
>U.S. defense efforts in the hemisphere. The new UCP directed a two-phased
>reshaping of the SouthCom AoR. Initially, the Atlantic and Pacific waters
>adjacent to the Central and South American landmass were added to the
>SouthCom AOR. This strengthened our ability to conduct integrated air,
>land, and sea operations throughout the region. We look forward to the
>significantly increased opportunities to interact with the Naval forces of
>Central and South America.
>Perhaps even more noteworthy will be the second phase of the President's
>changes. When directed by the Secretary of Defense, but not earlier than 1
>June 1997, SouthCom will assume responsibility for the Caribbean, the Gulf
>of Mexico, and the included islands.
>This change will support U.S. efforts to address Latin America and the
>Caribbean as a single region and will enhance SouthCom's ability to
>coherently and consistently address common issues in the region. Also, it
>will allow a single commander to control military operations in this
>region -- enhancing counterdrug operational support and other important
>We fully recognize the importance of the Caribbean and are already
>involved in detailed planning and preparations to assume these additional
>responsibilities. The SouthCom staff is working to capture all available
>expertise and to make this transition as smooth and transparent as
>possible. Our goal is to reshape SouthCom to more effectively implement
>the hemispheric cooperative security initiatives announced by Secretary
>Perry at last summer's Defense Ministerial of the Americas.
>Headquarters Relocation to Miami
>The move of SouthCom headquarters to Miami in 1997 will greatly enhance
>mission effectiveness. The Miami International Airport is the air hub of
>the region: 85 percent of all U.S. carrier flights to Central and South
>America originate from Miami. There are 37 Latin American and Caribbean
>countries which have consulates in Miami. Over 30 percent of all U.S.
>trade with Latin America and the Caribbean is done through Miami. Miami
>annually hosts 2.3 million visitors from Central and South America. Miami
>is a Latin American center of learning; the University of Miamils
>North-South Center and Florida International University's Latin American
>and Caribbean Center provide a steady focus and world class research on
>the region.
>The Miami location will provide an excellent quality of life for SouthCom
>families. Miami has a splendid public school system with an extensive
>magnet school program. There are top-rated civilian dental and health care
>facilities. Miami offers affordable housing and access to the Coast Guard
>commissary and the Homestead Air Reserve Base Exchange Mart. Recreation
>and entertainment opportunities in Miami are extensive. There are
>professional and collegiate sports' 670 public parks and recreational
>areas, and 40 theaters, museums, and cultural facilities.
>Relocation Status SouthCom's relocation to Miami was announced by
>President Clinton on 29 March 1995. Since then, the U.S. Army Corps of
>Engineers has completed an environmental analysis resulting in a finding
>of no significant impact; an economic analysis that supported leasing the
>headquarters; and a market survey finding adequate facilities for
>competitive leasing in the vicinity of the Miami International Airport.
>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a solicitation for offers for
>the new headquarters facility in November 1995.  The site selection and
>lessor were announced in Miami on 15 March 1996.
>An exciting aspect of the new headquarters building is the opportunity to
>establish a state-of-the-art Command, Control, Communication, Computer,
>and Intelligence (C4I) network integrating the new Global Command and
>Control System. This capability will meet current and future requirements.
>The relocation of the headquarters, coupled with changes to the Unified
>Command Plan, makes acquisition of the latest C4I capabilities essential
>for command and control of deployed forces and for connectivity to the
>National Command Authority.
>V. Conclusion
>The Western Hemisphere is increasingly marked by two characteristics:
>democracy and free market economics. Democracy and free market economies
>prosper when a nation's and a region's security are not in question. More
>than 830 million people live under freely elected governments. Only Cuba
>holds onto its autocratic dictatorship. Collectively our economies
>constitute a $13 trillion market. By the turn of the century, Latin
>America will have a $2 trillion economy and will trade more than $600
>billion in goods and services.
>"Democracy, peace and prosperity in the region are the best guarantee of
>U.S. national security. DoD's regional strategy is to use the defense
>assets at its disposal to promote these goals."
>United States National Security Strategy
>Though traditional security concerns do exist in the Americas, the region
>has been spared many of the world's conventional military problems.
>Nonetheless, there are difficulties that can undermine the democratic and
>economic progress of the past decade. Most of these problems cannot be
>solved by military institutions. These problems, which include poverty,
>inequality, drug production and trafficking, and concerns over
>sovereignty, require the collective efforts of the societies affected.
>The U.S. Armed Forces can contribute to America's and the region's
>security by continuing its modest interactions with the armed forces of
>Latin America. They can help defuse conventional military crises as
>SouthCom has done this past year on the Ecuador- Peru border. They can
>assist committed nations to limit the ability of drug traffickers to
>violate sovereign air, land, and sea space as SouthCom demonstrated during
>Operation Green Clover, and will show in future operations like Laser
>The U.S. Armed Forces can contribute to the ongoing debate over
>appropriate roles and missions of the armed forces in democratic
>societies. This is, of course, a debate that must take place within each
>country and the answers to the debate will be different in each country.
>Additionally, they can share the results of their own experiences as
>SouthCom exhibited during the Defense Ministerial of the Americas and
>during symposia, such as the Human Rights Conference.
>The U.S. Armed Forces can also assist the countries in the region as they
>reorganize and modernize their armed forces in accordance with the
>conclusions of their democratic leadership. SouthCom's security assistance
>programs are appropriate vehicles for this and allow us to provide limited
>assistance in this area.
>SouthCom remains committed to providing a satisfactory quality of life for
>our soldiers, Sailors, airmen, Marines, DoD employees, and their family
>members. By 1998, our troop strength in Panama will be approximately 4400,
>representing a reduction of more than 50 percent from 1992 troop levels.
>U.S. service members continue to perform missions such as MOMEP and
>Operation Green Clover with pride. Their motive is patriotism, and they
>devote their talents and commitment to the United States with little
>regard for personal gain.
>The senior leadership of SouthCom proudly shares with Congress the
>responsibility of maintaining a wholesome quality of life for American
>service members.
>At SouthCom, our shared responsibility is to ensure that tomorrow's force
>remains as capable as today's force. This means maintaining our contract
>with the troops. SouthCom believes continued Congressional support for
>appropriate military pay raises, upgrading military housing, and medical
>care has signaled to our troops that their sacrifices are being
>The single resource that best allows SouthCom to effectively support U.S.
>interests in the Americas is our dedicated men and women, both civilians
>and uniformed. They represent all that is good in America.
>They come from all States of the Union and serve in the Active Component,
>the National Guard and the Reserves. These professionals serve with pride,
>and have gained valuable experience across the region. They constitute the
>best equipped and most capable armed force in the world today.

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