Active engagement with our partner nations is a key component to effectively counter transnational criminal activities. U.S. Southern Command supports U.S. Government security initiatives in Colombia, Central America, and the Caribbean.
- Information on U.S. military support to Colombia
White House / Office of Nat’l Drug Control Policy links:
In support of the U.S. Government’s two sub-regional initiatives to improve citizen safety -- the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)
and the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI)
-- U.S. Southern Command supports interagency efforts to interdict illicit trafficking in international waters and airspace.
Through Theater Security Cooperation activities, we will continue to enhance the capacity and capability of our partner militaries to operate within their respective territories and to support bilateral and multilateral operations to Counter Transnational Organized Crime.
With its porous borders, lack of surveillance capabilities, and under-governed areas, Central America has become the organizations preferred transit zone of Transnational Organized Crime (TOC) to the United States. TOC groups support and use a spectrum of destabilizing activities to conduct their operations, to include corruption, intimidation, extortion, kidnapping, targeted violence, and terror tactics. Confronting this spectrum requires a sophisticated, orchestrated strategy that both guides efforts to meet current challenges as well as sets a framework for disrupting future TOC adaptations.
Our current plan to counter the trafficking threat in Central America is to support U.S. interagency efforts and help build self-sustaining regional military capacity to increase the cost and consequences to TOC of use of the Central American transit zone. Under initiatives like Secure Seas and Enduring Friendship, we facilitated the procurement of maritime interdiction assets and command, control, and communications capabilities for Central American and Caribbean Basin countries. To strengthen international borders, we are facilitating technology transfers that support Department of Homeland Security training that is improving our partners’ ability to detect and interdict illicit shipments at international crossings. We are also providing training and equipment to partner nations’ ground forces to strengthen their capacity to respond to TOC-related events requiring a military response.
However, the limited capabilities of Central American states have allowed Mexican TOC organizations to establish convenient points of entry for illegal drugs coming from South America. Nearly all cocaine destined for the U.S. crosses the Guatemala-Mexico border. The expansion of Mexican TOC into Central America has created even more violence and crime, and a significant decline in citizen safety. Focusing specifically on this vulnerable Mexico-Guatemala-Belize border area, we are engaged in planning with our U.S. Northern Command, interagency, and partner nation colleagues. As a result, we are on solid footing towards developing a regional operations capability among these three countries.
With Caribbean Basin countries, we want to reduce the ability of TOC to expand their operations. To achieve this goal, we will support CBSI and leverage existing regional initiatives in the Caribbean Basin like the Caribbean Community and the Regional Security System in the Eastern Caribbean to build capacity to conduct aerial and maritime surveillance and interdict illicit trafficking.