Regional threats – whether in the form of transnational organized crime, transregional terrorist organizations, or violent extremist networks – are prevalent throughout the region, and many have global reach far beyond Latin America and the Caribbean.
A U.S. Coast Guard HC-144 Ocean Sentry aircraft detects a 25-foot go-fast boat with four individuals and suspicious packages aboard moving at a high rate of speed south of the Dominican Republic Jan. 22 2014.
These threats fuel violence and corruption, undermine effective governance, and pose a significant threat to regional stability and U.S. national security.
SOUTHCOM’s activities support U.S. and partner nation law enforcement efforts to disrupt, degrade, and dismantle threats in the region.
Our Countering Threats Efforts & Missions
Illicit trafficking networks pose complex transnational threats to the stability of Latin America and the Caribbean and to U.S. public health and national security. Well-resourced organized crime groups move drugs, weapons, counterfeit items, money and people on these networks. This insidious web of crime threatens citizen security, undermines basic human rights, cripples the rule of law through corruption, erodes good governance, and hinders economic development. The U.S. military works with federal agencies and partners in the region to counter these threats.
Operation Martillo (Hammer) is a U.S., European, and Western Hemisphere effort targeting illicit trafficking routes in coastal waters along the Central American isthmus. U.S. military participation is led by Joint Interagency Task Force South, a component of U.S. Southern Command. The U.S. contribution to the operation includes U.S. Navy and Coast Guard vessels, aircraft from U.S. federal law enforcement agencies, and military and law enforcement units from various nations working together to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit transshipment routes off Central America.
The U.S. military has 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. The CSLs are the result of cooperative, long-term agreements between the United States and host nations.
U.S. Southern Command, through its component commands and active engagements, conducts military information support operations throughout the Area of Responsibility, specifically; Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Trinidad and Tobago. These activities are designed to counter terrorist radicalization and recruitment efforts by terrorist organizations and criminal networks.