2017 Posture Statement to Congress
Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee April 6, 2017, as part of the command’s annual Posture Statement to Congress. This page provides information, multimedia resources, documents and testimony excerpts.
Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testifies at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on defense posture, April 6, 2017.
DOCUMENTS & RESOURCES
Adm. Tidd on Threat Networks
“These adaptive threat networks can move anything. What keeps me up at night is the potential for even more deadly cargo moving through these networks and directly into our cities. ISIS has encouraged its followers to exploit the vulnerability of the pathways leading directly into the United States in order to move weapons of mass destruction.
To address this challenge, we're changing our approach to better understand and disrupt the immediate threats. We're working with our partners to reduce the vulnerabilities that allow these networks to exist in the first place. And we're expanding information sharing and building the capacity of our partners so that they can better secure their territory against these challenges.”
Adm. Tidd on Russian Activities and Influence in Latin America
“We have seen the deployment of ships, particularly frequent deployment of intelligence collection ships that we know operate frequently on the East Coat of the United States and then spend time down in the Caribbean. We've also seen, periodically, the deployment of long-range aviation that comes down and spends a bit of time down in our theater.
But of probably greater long term concern is the very aggressive arm sales programs where Russia is down and talking with our traditional partners and attempting to displace the United States as the partner of choice.
And then the part that I think is most troubling, we see that they're engaged in a very aggressive misinformation campaign. Basically peddling the story that the United States is not a reliable partner in Latin America, that we are not interested in the region and that we are withdrawing from the region. It's troubling because of resource constraints that we have had and the requirement for the number of forces available in our theater that has declined -- that plays directly into that narrative that Russia has been peddling.”
Adm. Tidd on Security Partnership with Colombia
“With the peace accord now final in Colombia, a firm anchor for regional stability and one of our most trusted partner, Colombia still faces a challenging road ahead. We continue to stand together in defense of our shared interest.”
Adm. Tidd on Ability and Resources in Counter Illicit Trafficking
“We continue to be able to see a significant amount of traffic heading towards the Central American Peninsula, unfortunately we only have the resources to be able to intercept about 25 percent.
…We're seeing the volume continue to go up. We're seeing some significant improvement on the part of some of our partner nations in their ability to be able to conduct intercepts but we still watch far more go by that we can actually act on.”
Adm. Tidd on Importance of International Military Education & Training (IMET) Program
“I think that the IMET program… is probably, you know, one of the single most important long term investments that we can make in establishing positive, constructive relationships based on trust with our partners. There's nothing like an officer coming or a senior enlisted coming and studying in our schools and living in the United States and experiencing for themselves all that this country represents to be able to counteract the sometimes negative messages that they might see in the international press.
And so, when we have those opportunities they are absolutely priceless. They pay off because we see time after time after time, particularly throughout our region, the senior military leaders of many of the services in the countries have trained in the United States, they've lived in our country, they know who we are. And frankly I think our country and our culture sells itself.”
Adm. Tidd on Role of Hezbollah in Latin America
“Hezbollah has been present in small pockets scattered throughout the region for decades. They've been actively engaged largely in criminal activities to raise funds to support the terrorist activities of Hezbollah in other parts of the world.
But we also recognize that Hezbollah was responsible for the two terrible terroristic attacks on Jewish sites in the Israeli consular center in Argentina back in the 1990s. So they've been present here and we view them as probably the most dangerous of the terrorist groups present in this region.”