The United States and its South American partners are committed to working together in addressing the security challenges impacting Latin America and beyond, the U.S. Southern Command commander said in Lima, Peru, yesterday.
Navy Adm. Kurt W. Tidd joined South American security leaders for discussions on defense support to humanitarian and disaster relief efforts and cooperation to detect, disrupt and dismantle threat networks in the Western Hemisphere.
"This conference is symbolic of our hemisphere's tradition of collaboration," Tidd said in opening remarks at the South American Defense Conference. He is cohosting the Aug. 22-24 event with Peru's Adm. José Paredes, chief of the Peruvian Armed Forces Joint Staff.
The conference, which includes military leaders from nine other nations, also symbolizes the shared understanding of the "challenges of the modern security environment and our willingness to face them together," Tidd said.
Regional, Global Cooperation
Discussions are focusing on truly global issues, including defeating illicit networks and responding to cyberattacks and humanitarian crises, he said. "This means there's not a single country or military out there able to solve them by acting alone," he added. "We all have to work together, sharing information freely and trusting one another implicitly."
He underscored the importance of the partner countries examining how they can hone or focus security cooperation efforts to help mitigate or possibly avert regional crises and large-scale emergencies.
Tidd advocated for going beyond bilateral partnerships, and working as "one network, united in purpose and unified in action" to defeat illicit networks, strengthen defenses against cyberattacks, and build regional resilience against crises.
"This conference represents the potential of a hemisphere that pools its resources and collaborates freely to face new and old challenges alike," he said.
Tidd pointed out many South American nations have been affected by natural disasters in recent years and tested by "increasingly sophisticated illicit actors who do not respect our national boundaries, laws or sovereignty."
The United States and its regional partners remain united in facing challenges in South America, he said. The conference, he added, is an important forum to discuss key cooperation to deal with threats in the region.
"We have a priceless opportunity during this conference not only to build upon past successes, but also to enrich our dialogue with these recent experiences," he said.
(Follow Lisa Ferdinando on Twitter: @FerdinandoDoD)