2023 Posture Statement to Congress

Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee March 23, 2023, as part of the command’s annual Posture Statement to Congress. This page provides information, multimedia resources, documents and testimony excerpts. The general previously testified before the House Armed Services Committee March 8, 2023

Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testify about the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2024 and future years during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander of U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command, and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command, testify about the defense authorization request for fiscal year 2024 and future years during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Melissa G. Dalton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs; Air Force Gen. Glen D. VanHerck, commander, U.S. Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command; and Army Gen. Laura J. Richardson, commander, U.S. Southern Command, address the House Armed Services Committee.



MARCH 23, 2023: Generals Discuss Hemispheric Challenges, Solutions

MARCH 8, 2023: DOD Officials Testify About Homeland Defense Before House Panel


China’s expanding influence in Latin America and the Caribbean:

“The world is at an inflection point.  Our partners in the Western Hemisphere with whom we are bonded by trade, shared values democratic traditions, family ties, are feeling the impacts of external interference and coercion. The People's Republic of China (PRC) -- our pacing challenge -- continues to expand its economic, diplomatic, technological, informational and military influence in Latin America and the Caribbean. The PRC has the capability and intent to eschew international norms advance its bearing its brand of authoritarianism, and amass power and influence at the expense of these democracies. The PRC has expanded its ability to extract resources, establish ports, manipulate governments through predatory investment practices, and build potential dual-use space facilities, the most space facilities in any combatant command region.”

Russia’s activities in the Western Hemisphere:

“Russia -- an acute threat --bolsters authoritarian regimes in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela and continues its extensive disinformation campaign. These activities undermine democracies and challenge our credibility.”

SOUTHCOM’s support to Integrated Deterrence:

“As the national defense strategy states, the U.S. derives immense benefits from a stable, peaceful and democratic Western Hemisphere. That reduces security threats to our homeland. U.S. SOUTHCOM is putting ‘Integrated Deterrence” into action every day using innovative methods to work seamlessly across all domains, with the other combatant commands, the joint force allies and partners, Congress, the U.S. Interagency, NGOs and the private sector, to help build a hemisphere that's free, secure and prosperous for our generation and generations to come. I call this Team Democracy, and we need to build and field a resource team.”

On the threat of Transnational Criminal Organizations in the region:

“The [Transnational Criminal Organizations] bring violence and corruption and then and the PRC comes in and is able to exploit that. So, it all connects together. But the violence is… it's off the charts.  These organizations are getting more powerful, $310 billion revenue annually. They've diversified the portfolio. It's not just Counter Narcotics, it's human trafficking, it's illegal mining, illegal logging, fishing, whatever they can get their hands on. And then the Chinese money laundering that with the seven PRC banks, 275 branches in the region. It's just a vicious cycle that continues. So, the work that we do with the security cooperation to help our partner nation militaries and certain public security forces deal with these challenges internally and be able to secure their borders and work cross border with their neighbors, enables them to handle these situations.”


Importance of security partnerships in the region:

"Our partners look to us to lead in the hemisphere. We have an obligation to meet them where they are and continue to aggressively address our common security challenges. We must continue to maximize the effectiveness of important tools like security cooperation programs to train and equip our partner militaries and security forces, conduct multilateral exercises and build interoperability, and increase the State Department's international military education and training, foreign military financing, foreign military sales programs to educate, train and build capacity that our partners put to immediate use to stand shoulder to shoulder with us."

Security partnership with Colombia:

"Our relationship with Colombia is very, very strong and continues to be very strong. We have not canceled anything. All the exercises, all the military-to-military cooperation is absolutely continuing. And that relationship couldn't be any stronger than it is now."

Importance of security cooperation to counter transnational criminal organizations (TCOs):

"Security cooperation is my main lever in SOUTHCOM and being able to train and equip our partners to be able to handle and counter the effects of the transnational criminal organizations which are at the top of their list that they deal with every single day. The TCOs are way more powerful. They're more sophisticated. They're five times more than all the defense budgets added together for my entire region of partner nations. And we have got to really get after that. But the foreign military sales, foreign military financing, excess defense articles, we've got to speed that process up because every delay in a piece of equipment a little goes a long way in this region. I don't need big aircraft carriers. Our partner nations don't need big brigades of soldiers or helicopters. But they need 5 or 6 helicopters, a maritime patrol aircraft, a King Air 250. I mean, these go a long way for them. But every delay in that means our partner isn't in the fight with us. And so we need to make them stronger to counter the powerful TCOs."