U.S. Southern Command is committed to being a trusted, reliable partner of choice in the region. The command’s success is dependent on the ability to engage effectively and transparently with regional militaries, partner nation governments, and interagency partners.
SOUTHCOM actively works with the countries in its area of responsibility
to build enduring, mutually beneficial partnerships that address regionally shared security concerns: violence and instability caused by transnational organized crime (TOC) and illicit trafficking, and the repercussions of natural disasters.
Building partner nation capacity and enhancing interoperability is at the core of everything SOUTHCOM does. In implementing this strategy, the command facilitates exchanges, seminars and training exercises throughout the region with partner nation militaries.
SOUTHCOM’s engagement strategy is reinforced through the Foreign Military Interaction (FMI) exercise program. Every year U.S. Southern Command sponsors seven military exercises specifically designed to facilitate interoperability, build capabilities, and provide venues to share best practices among the military and security forces in the region. (See more on Training and Exercises
Another key element of the command’s engagement strategy is the International Military Education and Training program, which provides professional development for foreign military officers and senior enlisted personnel from Latin America and the Caribbean.
Each year, U.S. Southern Command helps send approximately 5,000 students from the region to attend U.S. military training programs across the Department of Defense, to include the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC), the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, the Inter-American Defense College, and the Inter-American Air Forces Academy. SOUTHCOM’s goal is to encourage partner nation militaries to promote institutional professionalism within the context of democratic governance.
Training and education programs also promote respect for human rights with military partners. These programs remain important across the region, but hold particular relevance in the few countries whose militaries are being asked by their governments to assist local police forces in supporting and enhancing internal security. U.S. Southern Command’s programs support military partners in preparing to assume these roles and help them provide clear instructions to their soldiers to support and respect human rights. (See more on SOUTHCOM’s Human Rights program
U.S. Southern Command headquarters is organized to support interagency coordination and collaboration; 38 representatives from 14 different agencies are embedded throughout the command's structure.
This integration is both efficient and effective, allowing the command to combine resources, perspectives, and expertise to collectively address issues in the region. SOUTHCOM's interagency partners contribute to the development of strategic plans and participate in joint exercises and operations, a cooperation that is critical to success in the region. SOUTHCOM continues to seek innovative ways to orchestrate our efforts across the U.S. Government to maximize our results.