On April 1, 2020, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential national security objectives.
Caribbean Sea and Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Additional U.S. capabilities include:
Navy destroyers and helicopters
Coast Guard cutters and helicopters
Navy littoral combat ships
Customs and Border Protection maritime patrol aircraft
Navy P-8 patrol aircraft
Air Force E-3 AWACS aircraft (ISR) and E-8 JSTARS aircraft (ISR)
Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB) Company (advise and assist)
Ally & partner contributions:
22 nations provide intelligence and operations support as part of Joint Interagency Task Force – South (JIATF-South)
Key partners in this fight: Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama, as well as European partners France, The Netherlands, and the United Kingdom -- will provide capabilities. 50% of interdictions last year involved partners.
U.S. whole of government efforts continue with interagency assets from Customs and Border Protection, DEA and others.
These enhanced counter-narcotics operations constitute an increase in Naval destroyers, combat ships, aircraft and helicopters, and Coast Guard cutters. Additional assets double capabilities in the region.
Our increased presence will:
Disrupt the flow of illicit drugs to the homeland, thereby protecting Americans
Reassure allies and partners; build their capacity to contribute to the counternarcotics fight
Drugs pose a threat to the homeland as drug overdoses kill around 70,000 Americans each year. Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) take advantage of the COVID-19 pandemic, increase drug trafficking and can easily contribute to the spread of the virus.
Our multilateral counter-narcotics operations will be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic as supporting nations turn inward.
Learn more about SOUTHCOM's support to interagency and multinational efforts to Counter Transnational Criminal Organizations in the Western Hemisphere.
Learn more about Campaign Martillo, an ongoing U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere partner nation effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus.
Learn more about the U.S. military's two Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs), formerly known as Forward Operating Locations, in Latin America and the Caribbean. The CSLs are strategic, cost-effective locations in Comalapa, El Salvador and Aruba-Curacao, formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles, which allow U.S. and partner nation aircraft the use of existing airfields to support the region’s multinational efforts to Combat Transnational Organized Crime.
U.S. Dept. of State's International Narcotics Control Strategy Reports
U.S. Dept. of State's Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
National Drug Control Strategy (by Office of National Drug Control Policy, Feb. 2020)
SOUTHCOM Commander Telephonic Press Briefing on Enhanced Counter Narcotics Operations
Audio and transcript of U.S. State Department's Media Hub of the Americas-hosted telephonic press briefing with the Commander of U.S. Southern Command, Navy Adm. Craig S. Faller, April 17, 2020. (Links to State.gov)
TWEETS from April 1 Announcement:
Graphic: “Enhanced Counter-Narcotic Operations.” On 1 April 2020, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counternarcotics operations in the East Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential national security objectives. A flood of enforcement resources: Ships: Navy destroyers | Coast Guard Cutters | Navy littoral combat ships. Aircraft: Helicopters on destroyers and cutters | Navy P-8 patrol aircraft | Air Force E-3 AWACS aircraft (ISR) | Air Force E-8 JSTARS aircraft (ISR). Ground Forces: Security Forces Assistance Brigade (SFAB) Company.