NAVAL STATION MAYPORT, Fla. (NNS) -- U.S. 4th Fleet is supporting Joint Interagency Task Force-South's (JIATF-S) Operation Martillo with deployed maritime and aviation assets in U.S. Southern Command's (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility (AOR), following an JIATF-S announcement Feb. 8.
Operation Martillo, a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. Martillo is the Spanish word for hammer.
Oliver Hazard Perry-class frigates USS Ingraham (FFG 61), USS Elrod (FFG 55), USS McClusky (FFG 41) and USS Nicholas (FFG 47) are already operating in support of Operation Martillo, conducting Combating Transnational Organized Crime operations(C-TOC), while Patrol Squadron (VP) 1 is providing aerial patrol support while forward deployed to El Salvador.
The 4th Fleet assets are working closely with JIATF-S, USSOUTHCOM, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Air Force, and various Federal law enforcement agencies and partner nations to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit shipping routes through South and Central America for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash and weapons.
"JIATF-South is the lead Federal agency for all of our activities in combating transnational organized crime," said Rear Adm. Kurt Tidd, commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command/U.S. 4th Fleet. "The Department of Defense, and specifically U.S. Southern Command and 4th Fleet plays an important supporting role in Operation Martillo. Our ships and aircraft have unique capabilities to detect and monitor criminal activities in the maritime domain especially tracking the movement, by sea and air, of illicit materials intended for the United States."
Operation Martillo is a critical component of the U.S. government's coordinated interagency regional security strategy in support of the White House Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime and the U.S. Central America Regional Security Initiative.
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space in order to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.