of Gen. Peter Pace, commander-in-chief, U.S. Southern Command,
Senate Armed Services Committee, March 27, 2001
of General Peter Pace, United States Marine Corps
Commander in Chief, United States Southern Command
Before the Senate Armed Services Committee
March 27, 2001
Mr. Chairman and
distinguished Members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity
to present my assessment of security in Latin America and the Caribbean.
I would also like to thank the Members of Congress and particularly this
Committee for your outstanding support to the United States Southern Command
(USSOUTHCOM) . I appreciate your interest in USSOUTHCOM's Area of Responsibility
(AOR) and the support you have consistently provided to our mission with
Partner Nations in this theater.
Since assuming command
of USSOUTHCOM six months ago, I have traveled to 21 of the 32 countries
and 3 of the separate territories in my assigned AOR, visiting many of
the Andean Ridge nations several times. I have met key military and civilian
leaders in the region, and I have worked to ensure Southern Command's
plans and initiatives are well coordinated with the Joint Staff, the Office
of the Secretary of Defense, and other U.S. government agencies. My visits
to our neighboring nations have provided important insights into the region
and its leaders, as well as to specific challenges and opportunities.
In this statement,
I will provide the Committee our strategic assessment of the AOR, highlighting
the most serious transnational threats that challenge the growth of democracy
in several countries. Next, I will detail our progress in resetting the
theater architecture in the post-Panama era, followed by an overview of
our engagement efforts and most important requirements. I will conclude
by presenting my priorities for the way ahead.
U.S. Southern Command's
AOR includes all of Central and South America, the Caribbean, and surrounding
waters, totaling more than 15.6 million square miles. The AOR is divided
into four sub-regions: the Caribbean, Central America, Andean Ridge, and
the Southern Cone. Total population in the AOR exceeds 404 million people.
Twenty-five languages are spoken, and the people practice 10 different
religions. The theater is a diverse region, rich in natural resources
with largely untapped industrial potential. Today, the per capita Gross
Domestic Product (GDP) ranges from a low of about $1300 to a high of $25,000.
The United States
has strong economic, cultural, and security ties to Latin America and
the Caribbean. More than 39 percent of our trade is conducted within the
Western Hemisphere. Furthermore, 49 cents out of every dollar spent in
Latin America is spent on imported goods and services from the U.S. Latin
America end the Caribbean supply more oil to the U.S. than all Middle
East countries combined. In addition to our strong economic ties, we share
an increasingly strong cultural bond. Today, one of every eight Americans
is of Hispanic origin, and that ratio is projected to increase to one
in four by 2050.
Except for Cuba,
all nations in the USSOUTHCOM AOR have some form of democratically elected
government and free market economy. During the past twenty years, we have
seen a positive trend as nations adopted democratic principles and institutions,
subordinated their military to civilian leadership, instituted the rule
of law, and-promoted respect for human rights. However, democracies have
not matured or flourished equally in the region. Some countries are struggling
to complete the full transition to democratic rule. In other countries,
democracy itself is at risk as failing economies, deteriorating security,
and endemic corruption undermine institutions and public support.
age-old border disputes still provide ample opportunity for disagreement
between neighbors, this region does not have an arms race or a 'shooting"
war between nations. In fact, the region spends less per capita on arms
than any area of the world. Today, democracies in this AOR generally maintain
open and amicable relations with each other and reject armed conflict
The greatest threats
to democracy, regional stability, and prosperity in Latin America and
the Caribbean are illegal migration, arms trafficking, crime and corruption,
and illegal drug trafficking. Collectively, these transnational threats
destabilize fragile democracies by corrupting public institutions, promoting
criminal activity, undermining legitimate economies, and disrupting social
Illegal migration is a potential problem in our AOR. The ongoing violence
in Colombia associated with fighting between illegally armed groups is
expected to displace Colombian refugees across the international borders
of neighboring nations. Panama and Venezuela have already reported displaced
Colombian refugees inside their sovereign territory. Several countries
that share porous borders with Colombia will remain vulnerable to illegal
migration and incursions by armed insurgents and paramilitaries, resulting
in political and social instability.
The illegal trafficking of arms poses a serious threat to the national
security of several nations. In our AOR, the breakup of the drug cartels
in the early 1990's resulted in smaller, more adaptable Drug Trafficking
Organizations (DTOs) that have formed a symbiotic relationship with the
insurgents and paramilitaries. These illegal and violent groups receive
significant financial support from the DTOs, which they use to procure
weapons. The insurgents can afford anything available on the international
arms market, possibly including man-portable air defense weapons systems
(the possession of which we cannot confirm).
Crime and Corruption.
Local and international criminal organizations are an increasing threat
to the security and stability of the region. Many nations in the AOR lack
the organization and resources to effectively counter criminal activity
within their borders. In some areas, criminal organizations are so pervasive
that the governments cannot effectively protect their citizens.
Although money laundering,
kidnapping, extortion, and bribery of government officials are common
criminal activities within many Latin American and Caribbean countries,
the impact is regional, as evidenced by the recent kidnapping of oil workers
in Ecuador. In calendar year 2000, Colombia reported more than 3,000 kidnappings.
Although criminal activity in the Caribbean has typically been less violent
and characterized as local, we are seeing a proliferation of street gangs.
The illicit drug industry is a corrosive force that threatens the stability
and rule of law in the Andean Region. Partner Nation governments realize
the importance of working together to develop regional approaches to counter
the production and trafficking of illegal drugs. However, effective and
sustainable counterdrug operations are beyond the capabilities of our
Partner Nations' thinly stretched security forces. U.S. counterdrug assistance
to security forces will help Colombia and other nations in the region
develop more effective counterdrug capabilities while enhancing United
States Government support to Partner Nation interdiction efforts.
organizations have shown considerable skill in adjusting their operations
in response to our counterdrug efforts. These small but efficient organizations
will change the place of production, transport routes, points of transshipment,
and markets when eradication or interdiction programs-achieve success.
Many DTOs provide financial support to the insurgents and illegal self-defense
groups to secure protection from counterdrug operations conducted by the
Colombia National Police (CNP) and Colombian Military (COLMIL).
We are encouraged
by the success of cocaine eradication programs in Peru and Bolivia and
by the initial results of Phase I of Plan Colombia. Unfortunately, reductions
in Peru's and Bolivia's cultivation appear to have been offset by Colombia's
increased coca cultivation in calendar year 2000. However, further assessment
is required to determine the full impact of the intensive aerial eradication
effort recently conducted by the Government of Colombia in the Putumayo
The illicit drug
industry is also a growing threat to the U.S. homeland. According to the
most recent Interagency Assessment, law enforcement and security forces
detected 645 MT of cocaine hydrochloride (HCl) moving toward the United
States from the Source Zone during 2000. The assessment also reports that
128 MT were interdicted, leaving the possibility that an estimated 517
MT were available for domestic consumption. According to the Office of
the National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), nearly 17,000 Americans lost
their lives last year to drug overdoses and drug related violence. In
addition to this tragic loss of life, the direct and indirect costs of
illegal drug use to the U.S. taxpayer exceeded $110 billion.
The United States
Southern Command, located in Miami but based in Panama until 1997, is
responsible for planning, coordinating, and conducting all U.S. military
activities in our AOR. We promote democracy and stability by working cooperatively
with host nation security forces, responding to crises- or contingencies
such as the recent earthquakes in El Salvador, and supporting Partner
Nation security forces and U.S. law enforcement agencies (LEAs) in reducing
the flow of illegal drugs into the United States. To accomplish our mission,
we have established the post-Panama theater architecture that includes
our headquarters in Miami and component headquarters forward deployed
in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico has replaced
Panama for forward basing headquarters in the region. United States Army
South (USARSO) has completed its relocation to Fort Buchanan, where it
draws heavily on the Puerto Rican Army and Air Force National Guardsmen
and Reservists to accomplish its assigned missions. United States Navy
South (USNAVSO) was activated last year and is collocated with Special
Operations Command South (USSOCSO) at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads.
To compensate for
the loss of the 8,500 ft runway at Howard Air Force Base, the United States
Government (USG) negotiated long-term agreements for the use of Forward
Operating Locations (FOLs) at Aruba- Curacao in the Netherland Antilles,
Manta in Ecuador, and Comalapa in El Salvador. These locations provide
us the capability to conduct sustained CD operations throughout the Source
and Transit Zones. U.S. Detection, Monitoring, and Tracking (DM&T)
operations from the FOLs improve our support to Partner Nation interdiction
efforts. Thanks to the support of the U.S. Congress, funding has been
provided for necessary operational and safety improvements for Manta and
Aruba- Curacao and for construction design at Comalapa.
FOL provides effective, rapid response DM&T operations in the northern
Source Zone, which includes the Guajira Peninsula of Colombia and the
Venezuelan border region, as well as a large part of the Transit Zone.
The formal 10-year access agreement with the Kingdom of the Netherlands
was signed on March 2, 2000, but awaits final parliamentary debates and
The FOL at Manta
extends our Airborne Early Warning aircraft coverage deep into the Source
Zone. It is the only FOL from which aircraft can reach all of Peru, Colombia,
and the drug producing areas of Bolivia. In January 2001, the Ecuadorian
Constitutional Court issued the favorable ruling that the November 1999
access agreement complies with the country's constitution. Construction
at the Manta FOL is on schedule. We will begin operating AWACS aircraft
from Manta in October of this year and all construction will be completed
by June 2002.
The Government of
El Salvador offered the use of the Comalapa International Airport as an
FOL for U.S. aircraft in Central America. Excellent relations between
the U.S. and El Salvador, strengthened by years of solid military-to-military
contact, helped produce favorable negotiations on the FOL agreement. This
FOL extends the reach of our DM&T aircraft into the Eastern Pacific,
Western Caribbean, and all of Central America.
In addition to our
headquarters in Miami and three component headquarters in Puerto Rico,
USSOUTHCOM has permanently assigned headquarters in the following locations:
our Air Force Component (United States Air Force South) at Davis-Monthan
Air Force Base in Arizona; our Marine Corps Component (United States Marine
Corps Forces South) in Miami, Florida; Joint Interagency Task Force East
(JIATF-E) in Key West, Florida, which plans, coordinates, and supervises
the execution of our support to counterdrug operations in the Transit
and Source Zones; Joint Southern Surveillance & Reconnaissance Operations
Center (JSSROC), collocated with JIATF-E in Key West, which receives,
fuses, and disseminates the radar common operating picture from AWACS
and ground based, aerostat, and ROTHR radar; and Joint Task Force Bravo
(JTF-B) in Soto Cano, Honduras, which provides responsive helicopter support
to USSOUTHCOM missions in Latin America and the Caribbean.
Most of our post-Panama
theater architecture is firmly in place, and we look forward to permanently
anchoring our headquarters in CONUS, accomplishing necessary improvements
at the FOL in Comalapa, and completing previously approved but temporarily
suspended military construction projects in Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.
The United States
Southern Command's military-to-military engagement with host nation forces
seeks to build mutual trust and understanding that will engender regional
stability and shared solutions to common problems. Our approach focuses
on combined operations, exercises, training and education, security assistance,
and humanitarian assistance programs. While maintaining strong bilateral
relationships throughout the AOR, we promote regional cooperation and
transparent operations among all our regional partners.
Caribbean. The FY97
Unified Command Plan assigned responsibility for U.S. military activities
in the Caribbean, a region of more than 32 million people, to USSOUTHCOM.
The countries and territories in this region, as a rule, have very small
security forces that need modernization and training assistance. They
are receptive to regional cooperation and are well represented in the
Organization of American States (OAS) and Caribbean Nation Security Council
(CANSEC) . During CY0O, USSOUTHCOM conducted medical readiness training
(MEDRETE) and New Horizon engineer exercises; assisted Partner Nation
security force training and new equipment fielding; and hosted TRADEWINDS
2000, a multi-national exercise that fosters maritime and land-based forces
cooperation in response to regional crises and drug trafficking. In addition,
many of the countries hosted other regional events to improve Partner
Nation capabilities. For example, in January 2001, Jamaica hosted a regional
Disaster Preparedness Seminar that included representatives from more
than twenty countries throughout the AOR.
conduct operations and training with the United States Coast Guard that
improve their capabilities to interdict illicit drug shipments through
the Transit Zone. Most countries in the Caribbean have assisted U.S. efforts
to interdict the flow of illicit drugs through the central and eastern
Caribbean. One of our most successful efforts is Operation Bahamas, Turks,
and Caicos (OPBAT), a multi-agency international effort based in Nassau,
Bahamas. The mission of OPBAT is to interdict the flow of cocaine and
marijuana transiting through the Bahamas destined for the United States.
OPBAT was established on July 12, 1990 by the TRIPART Agreement, a diplomatic
engagement signed by the Governments of the Bahamas, the United Kingdom,
and the United States. U.S. government agencies participating in OPBAT
include DoS, DoD, USCG, and the U.S. Customs Service.
counterdrug operation in this region is WEEDEATER, which is conducted
in the Eastern Caribbean. DoD provides helicopters for host nation Law
Enforcement Agencies and DEA to conduct marijuana eradication. The most
recent WEEDEATER operation eradicated 1,013,635 marijuana plants and seedlings
with an estimated Miami street value in excess of $800 million. Total
helicopter operating costs for this WEEDEATER was slightly more than $129,000.
Four factors stimulate our engagement initiatives in this region. First,
Central America, with more than 36 million people, is one of the least
developed regions in our AOR. The military budgets of these nations cannot
support large forces or large modernization efforts. Second, this-region
is vulnerable to natural disasters, as evidenced by Hurricane Mitch a
few years ago, wildfires last year in Guatemala, and the recent earthquakes
in El Salvador. Third, powerful criminal organizations, often fueled by
drug related activities and money, challenge democratic institutions,
and in many cases, exceed the capacity of the nations' security forces
to provide protection to the population. Last, governments this region
are understandably sensitive to border disputes that have been ongoing
for many years. Examples include the border disputes between Belize and
Guatemala, between Honduras and Nicaragua, and tne maritime disagreement
concerning the Gulf of Fonseca. Last summer, USSOUTHCOM helped diffuse
the Fonseca disagreement by providing Global Positioning Systems (GPS)
and night vision goggles to Honduran and Nicaraguan military vessels to
aid them in precise navigation.
Military forces in
this region range from none to very capable. Costa Rica and Panama now
have only police forces, while El Salvador demonstrated a very professional
and capable military force during recovery operations following the recent
earthquakes. Nicaragua has a large inventory of mechanized equipment,
but needs assistance in training and sustainment.
Our engagement activities
in Central America mirrored our efforts in other regions. Last year, we
relied heavily on our New Horizons Exercise program to provide much needed
assistance to several communities in Belize, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.
In total, our forces renovated 12 schools, drilled 12 water wells, and
provided road and bridge improvements. We also conducted a total of 32
medical deployments that provided health and dental services to more than
95,000 people. Medical teams on these deployments provided veterinary
services as well.
and seminars are excellent vehicles to promote cooperation and interoperability
between neighboring nations. This past year, we conducted several combined
activities in Central America, including the Peacekeeping Operations -
North (PKO-North) exercise, hosted by Honduras and attended by 20 nations.
This exercise trained multinational staffs from Caribbean and Central
American nations in peacekeeping operations.
Costa Rica, Guatemala,
Honduras, Belize, El Salvador, and Panama have also participated in Central
Skies counterdrug operations. In support of Central Skies, the United
States provides transportation support to Central American Country Teams
and host nation military and counterdrug law enforcement agencies. The
most recent Central Skies Operation in Costa Rica eradicated 385,563 marijuana
plants with a Miami street value that exceeded $300 million. U.S. helicopter
operations costs for this iteration of Central Skies was approximately
USSOUTHCOM has a
long history of providing assistance to Central American nations following
natural disasters. Last April, JTF-B from Soto Cano provided emergency
assessment and fire fighting assistance to help Guatemalan forces extinguish
nearly 250 wildfires. In November 2000, Hurricane Keith hit the eastern
coast of Belize. USSOUTHCOM provided humanitarian assistance to the Belize
government in the form of emergency shelters, vehicles, disaster relief
equipment, and medical supplies. In the most recent disaster in El Salvador,
USSOUTHCOM provided emergency assistance that included the movement of
560 personnel and 160 tons of supplies by JTF-B helicopters. USSOUTHCOM
relief and sustainment efforts following the earthquakes will include
several medical readiness training exercises, technical expertise, and
humanitarian assistance supplies and equipment.
Central America is
key to U.S. counterdrug efforts. El Salvador agreed to allow the U.S.
to use Comalapa International Airport as an FOL for counterdrug operations.
This facility supports U.S. DM&T aircraft coverage in Central America,
Eastern Pacific, and Western Caribbean. El Salvador's rapid agreement
to our reouest for ramp space is reflective of the outstanding military
to military relationship that has been nurtured over the years.
Southern Cone. Harmonious
relations among Southern Cone countries provide the necessary preconditions
for increased defense cooperation, dialogue, and multilateral training
exercises. Keeping pace with new training opportunities, Chile and Brazil
have recently begun military modernization programs. In December 2000,
the Chilean government made a formal decision to negotiate the possible
purchase of F-16 aircraft with Lockheed Martin. Brazil has also initiated
programs to modernize its Air Force and Navy. In some neighboring countries,
budget constraints still limit military procurement and modernization.
Argentina and Uruguay
both participate routinely in United Nations peacekeeping operations.
Last year, Argentina hosted the USSOUTHCOM annual CABANAS training program,
a peacekeeping exercise that included military forces of seven other nations.
Argentina and Chile each hosted phases of the UNITAS exercise, the largest
multinational naval exercise in this hemisphere. In addition to nations
from the USSOUTHCOM AOR, UNITAS 2000 included Canada and several European
nations. This exercise is one of Southern Command's most important engagement
tools and contributes significantly to regional cooperation in the Southern
Andean Ridge. USSOUTHCOM
operations in the Andean Ridge are the most diverse of any region. Recent
activities have included humanitarian civic assistance, demining operations,
training exercises, and extensive counterdrug operational_ support. Militaries
in this region range from small and under-equipped to standing forces
with considerable capabilities.
One of USSOUTHCOM's
most important and visible missions during FY00 was Operation Fundamental
Response in Venezuela. Following torrential flooding and mudslides that
devastated Venezuela's northeastern coast, USSOUTHCOM performed life saving
rescue, medical evacuation, and disaster relief operations. With Venezuela
reporting estimated 30,000 dead, USSOUTHCOM provided immediate rescue
assistance, ultimately saving more than 5,500 lives and delivering 673
tons o: food and water. U.S. forces, largely JTF-B aviation assets, Special
Operations and Reserves, produced more than 2.8 million gallons of potable
water, flew more than 1,300 aircraft sorties, and distributed more than
$650,000 worth of medical supplies. Total cost of USSOUTHCOM directed
support to Venezuela was $8.25 million.
In Ecuador, USSOUTHCOM
has worked closely with the U.S. Ambassador and President Noboa's administration
to provide assistance to Ecuador's military, particularly in the management
of national crises. We have also worked closely with military leaders
to improve Ecuador's capability for detecting and interdicting illegal
drug traffic. As previously noted, Manta Air Base on the northwestern
coast is a linchpin in resetting our AOR architecture and extending the
reach of our DM&T aircraft coverage in the Source Zone.
support to Andean Ridge nations includes training and equipment for the
riverine forces of both Peru and Colombia. The Joint Peruvian Riverine
Training Center in Iquitos, Peru is the finest facility of its kind in
the AOR. Peruvian and Colombian riverine units have significantly increased
their capabilities during the past year.
USSOUTHCOM has provided
extensive support to the training of Colombia's Counternarcotics (CN)
Brigade. The second CN Battalion graduated from training in December 2000,
and the third battalion is scheduled to complete training on May 24, 2001.
To provide air mobile capability to the CN Brigade, USSOUTHCOM is supporting
the Department of State (DOS) led effort to field Huey II and UH-60L helicopters
to the Colombian Army and to assist in training the required aircrews.
USSOUTHCOM is cooperating
with the security forces of each Andean Ridge nation to build more effective
counternarcotics capability. Bolivia, with perhaps fewer resources than
any otner country in the region, has achieved unprecedented success in
eradicating illegal coca cultivation and aggressively interdicting Drug
Trafficking Organizations' (DTOs') movement of precursor chemicals. We
have assisted Bolivia's military training effort with mobile training
teams and facility construction. We are also assisting the Bolivian Army
in renovating troop barracks to establish a permanent presence in the
Chapare coca-growing region.
The United States
Government has provided substantial support in military hardware, training,
and services to Latin American and Caribbean countries. Each year, USSOUTHCOM
executes engagement programs throughout this AOR, to include combined
operations and training exercises, educational opportunities, mobile training
teams, unit exchanges, humanitarian civic assistance, foreign military
financing and sales, and counterdrug training and operations.
program is the engine for our Theater Engagement Plan. USSOUTHCOM will
conduct 17 Joint or Combined Exercises and 178 training deployments with
Partner Nations this Fiscal Year. We conduct four different types of exercises
and deployments. First, our Operational Exercises are based on USSOUTHCOM
Contingency Plans and normally include only U.S. forces. The primary purpose
of these exercises is to train the CINC's and the JTF's battlestaffs.
Interaction Exercises (FMI) are the core of USSOUTHCOM's engagement program.
They are conducted throughout the AOR and are generally hosted by the
many participating nations in the region. All of these exercises, which
include UNITAS TRADEWINDS, PKO North and South, CABANAS, United Counterdrug,
and Fuerzas Aliadas Humanitarias, are multilateral.
New Horizons (NH)
are the command's civic assistance exercises that focus on engineering
and medical projects. humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) projects
are embedded in these programs but can be conducted as stand alone deployments
for training as well. USSOUTHCOM plans to conduct six NH exercises in
FY01. Planned sites include the Bahamas, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Guatemala,
Honduras, and Paraguay.
The fourth type of
exercise is stand-alone Training Deployments. USSOUTHCOM will conduct
a total of 178 stand-alone training deployments in FY01. These deployments
will include Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET), Riverine Training
Teams (RTT), and Counterdrug Training Support (CDTS) . Included in the
training total are 66 stand- alone medical assistance deployments that
predominantly support Central America and the Andean Ridge.
In a typical year,
USSOUTHCOM deploys more than 12,000 service members, the majority of which
are National Guardsmen and Reservists, in support of the FMI and NH exercise
programs. In FY99, the U.S. Congress provided funding to expand the NH
Exercise concept. Funding has remained relatively constant for 2000 and
2001. These exercises have been very successful in providing schools,
water wells, road and bridge improvements, and medical outreach programs
to needy communities. NH Exercises have the added benefit of providing
U.S. forces with realistic training opportunities generally not available
in the United States. In FY00, USSOUTHCOM completed 98 HCA projects in
19 countries; 105 construction and repair projects are planned for FY01.
Scenarios for the seven FMI exercises conducted in FY00 and the six planned
for this year focus on peacekeeping operations, disaster relief, and counterdrug
Education and Training (IMET) and its companion program, Expanded IMET
(EIMET) provide professional education opportunities to selected military
and civilian candidates in our AOR on a grant basis. These programs are
the backbone of our combined professionalization and military education.
They provide funding for military and civilian personnel from our Partner
Nations to attend professional development courses in United States military
institutions. At only modest cost, these programs represent valued investments
as many of the students go on to become senior leaders in their respective
militaries and government agencies. In FY00, USSOUTHCOM received $9.89
million for IMET and trained 2684 students, including 474 civilians. We
invested roughly two-thirds of our IMET dollars in Professional Military
Education (PME), Management, Postgraduate Courses, Mobile Education Teams,
and English Language training. The remainder paid for Technical Assistance
Training throughout the AOR.
With declining military
budgets, most countries in the USSOUTHCOM AOR request military equipment
through the Excess Defense Articles (EDA) program or Section 506 Emergency
Drawdown Authority. Few countries are able to purchase new equipment in
large quantities through the Foreign Military Sales Program. Although
we have been very successful in assisting Partner Nations through EDA
and Drawdown, transport costs and sustainment of the received equipment
fall to the requesting country. Absent host nation funding and the availability
of Foreign Military Financing (FMF), we have not been able to help these
nations build the maintenance programs to sustain the equipment. At its
peak in 1991, the FMF program for Latin America was $220 million. Last
year, the Caribbean received $3 million, while Latin America received
Communications, and Intelligence (C4I)
As we reset our theater
physical architecture in the post-Panama era, we are also enhancing our
C4I architecture for fixed and mobile operations throughout the AOR. Because
most of the countries in this theater are still maturing their C4 infrastructure,
satellite communications are vitally important to our deployed forces,
especially in time of crises. However, satellite communications are currently
limited by available bandwidth.
We have initiated
several programs to increase-our C4I effectiveness throughout a very large
AOR. Programs like the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange (CNIES)
and the Counternarcotics Command and Management System (CNCMS) have helped
optimize satellite bandwidth. We have also initiated the Theater Signal
Support Program, which is focused on streamlining and enhancing C4 operational
and maintenance support that was degraded by our exit from Panama.
Our top readiness
priorities for this AOR remain Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
(ISR). Although OSD and the Joint Staff have helped us a great deal in
this area, we still have unresourced requirements in national, theater,
and tactical collection and processing for Signals Intelligence (SIGINT)
, Human Intelligence (HUMINT), and Imagery Intelligence (IMINT).
IMINT, SIGINT, HUMINT
and measurement and signals intelligence (MASINT) provide commanders at
all echelons indications and warnings (I&W), situational awareness,
battle damage assessments (BDA), and crop cultivation estimates. However,
the current suite of national sensors and platforms meets only part of
our requirement for a comprehensive intelligence and counterdrug picture
in this AOR. USSOUTHCOM needs greater redundancy in ISR assets to mitigate
risk during crises. Specifically, we need additional airborne quick-reaction
ISR capability and the focus of a tactical military intelligence unit
dedicated to this AOR. Funding support for planned and existing MASINT
capabilities, plus an effective MASINT architecture, will significantly
enhance the conduct of future operations.
The USSOUTHCOM AOR
is a mixture of legacy and twenty-first century technology systems. While
we are making progress in transitioning to more sophisticated and more
reliable systems, we still need significant support for three important
activities: wide area surveillance for maritime and ground detection and
monitoring; theater air surveillance, tracking, and sorting; and force
protection against asymmetric threats. First, a real-time integrated wide
area surveillance capability is required to track and monitor maritime
and ground targets of interest, particularly in support of counterdrug
operations in this theater. This system should be compatible with both
manned and unmanned ISR platforms. Second, the theater air surveillance
system will provide air space detection, sorting, monitoring, and management
that will promote regional cooperation in support of theater engagement
strategies. Third, asymmetric warfare challenges our best force protection
measures and strategies. Sophisticated surveillance systems are needed
to enhance force protection for our limited number of forward-deployed
personnel in high threat areas.
Our ability to execute
effective operations is often hampered by restrictions on sharing data
with our Partner Nations. We need to streamline sharing procedures that
are currently used for time sensitive counterdrug information. Like other
unified commands, we are developing information-sharing networks that
will allow us to combat the drug trafficking problem more efficiently.
The South American Net (SURNET), the Caribbean Information Sharing Network
(CISN), and the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES)
are all ongoing initiatives that enable us to share certain types of counterdrug
We experience continuing
shortages of intelligence personnel, especially qualified linguists and
other SIGINT experts. A fully manned and functioning regional SIGINT Operating
Center at Medina, Texas, is essential to support our AOR operations. We
also face many difficulties in our efforts to maintain a robust tasking,
processing, exploitation, and dissemination architecture (TPED) . Due
to persistent C4I shortfalls, these issues are expected to continue in
the near term.
significant funding last year to support President Pastrana's Plan Colombia.
During the past several months, USSOUTHCOM has worked with the U.S. Interagency
to develop the plan and begin executing the support package. This program
is on track and is increasing Partner Nation counterdrug capabilities.
Although most of the supplemental funding was directed to Colombia, neighboring
nations also received assistance.
USSOUTHCOM is using
the funds designated for military purposes to improve Partner Nation Capabilities
in counterdrug operations. We are lead for execution of DoD support and
provide assistance to DoS as needed on military related programs. We have
coordinated the intended use of the funding in the U.S. Interagency process
to ensure our actions complement other agencies' activities and comply
with Congressional law and OSD directives. U.S. assistance to Plan Colombia
will significantly improve the COLMIL capability to successfully support
eradication and interdiction operations. Although $180 million was also
distributed in the aid package to Colombia's neighbors, several of these
neighboring nations will need additional assistance in the form of both
military and non-military programs to effectively challenge the illicit
drug industry within their own borders. We also anticipate that nations
in this region, particularly Colombia, will likely need international
assistance to sustain these programs in the long term.
is Job #1. We are committed to providing the best possible protection
measures to our forces in this theater. Since the terrorist attack on
the USS Cole, we have conducted a comprehensive review of our force protection
requirements and have focused our efforts on improving policies and procedures
for deterring, disrupting, and mitigating terrorist attacks.
Each of my Component
Commanders has formed "Red Teams" to assess his force protection
posture on a continuous basis. Throughout the AOR, we have intensified
ongoing efforts to identify potential threats and the corresponding force
protection measures to mitigate risk to these threats. We are also looking
specifically for seams in our force protection posture that could be exploited.
We have implemented a suite of preventive measures, such as limiting travel
to known or suspected high-risk areas, to minimize exposure of DoD personnel.
We have used the
Combating Terrorism Readiness Initiative Fund to resource emergent and
unforeseen high priority requirements. However, we still require better
access to enhanced national signals collection and processing, organic
airborne reconnaissance capability, a military intelligence unit permanently
assigned to this theater, and expanded human intelligence collection.
Our Components continue to work with host nation security forces, to include
establishing U.S. controlled security zones when necessary, to ensure
protection of our deployed aircraft, vessels, and personnel. Component
Commanders tailor threat conditions and Random Antiterrorism Measures
based on their assessment of the threat for assigned and in-transit units.
The USS Cole Commission
recommendations address the diversity of threats that could potentially
target U.S. personnel and interests in the USSOUTHCOM AOR. We continue
to make good progress in hardening our headquarters, bases, and Forward
Operating Locations. Where we are unable to mitigate threats through physical
or structural enhancements, we are addressing the risk with procedural
modifications for our personnel.
Our vision for this
theater has not changed. These nations can become a "community of
stable, democratic, and prosperous nations served by professional, modern,
and interoperable security forces that embrace democratic principles and
human rights, that are subordinate to civil authority, and are capable
and supportive of multilateral responses to regional challenges."
Five objectives guide
our engagement and security activities in this AOR:
o Promote and support
o Promote and support
respect for human rights and adherence to the rule of law.
o Assist Partner
Nations to modernize and train their security forces
o Sustain and strengthen
multilateral security cooperation
o Cooperate with
regional forces to detect, monitor, and reduce the transit of illegal
Thanks to the hard
work and vision of many U.S. Government agencies, we have been able to
assist our neighbors, some gravely threatened by insurgencies, narcotics,
and other transnational threats. Because of this Committee's efforts and
the strong bipartisan support in Congress for programs key to this hemisphere,
we are making a positive difference in helping to strengthen democracy,
promote prosperity, and foster regional security in Latin America and
Thank you again for
the opportunity to appear before you.