2024 Posture Statement to Congress

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

Air Force Gen. Gregory M. Guillot, 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 2025 and future years at a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Defense Department officials appear at a House Armed Services Committee posture hearing. Testifying are: Air Force Gen. Gregory Guillot, commander of U.S. Northern Command; Army Gen. Laura Richardson, commander of U.S. Southern Command; and Rebecca Zimmerman, performing the duties of assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs and acting principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense and hemispheric affairs.



March 12: Leaders Discuss Security Priorities for Western Hemisphere (DoD News)

March 19: General Says Crisis in Haiti Requires International Response (DoD News)



Security linkages with Latin America and the Caribbean

“Our national security strategy recognizes the direct link between this region's security and our own security. We are harnessing the power of partnership from Team USA in support of Team Democracy by leveraging all instruments of national power, diplomacy, information, military, and economics, to expeditiously assist partner nations and addressing the challenges that impact our collective security. This region, which is our shared neighborhood, remains under assault from a host of cross cutting transboundary challenges that directly threaten our homeland. I have seen these challenges intensify since I met with you last year, and this remains a call to action. In almost two-and-a-half years in the command, I've made it my priority to meet partners where they are, and to listen and understand the challenges that affect us all. The world is at an inflection point.  Our partners in the Western Hemisphere, with whom we are bonded by trade, shared values, democratic traditions and family ties, are increasingly impacted by the interference and coercion.”  

SOUTHCOM efforts to strengthen partnerships in the region

“The United States remains the preferred and most trusted security partner in the region. We build trust through investment and security cooperation programs that train and equip our partners, our partner military and security forces, and a robust joint exercise program to build interoperability and the development and employment of emerging technologies. Moreover, we maximize the resources allocated by the Department of State's International Military Education and Training Program and military financing for military sales, to build that interoperability and counterbalance PRC military engagements and investments. As the National Defense Strategy states, the U.S. derives immense benefit from a stable, peaceful and democratic Western Hemisphere. That also reduces security threats to the homeland. USSOUTHCOM continues to innovate and adapt in putting integrated deterrence into action every day. We remain committed to working across all domains with allies and partners, combatant commands, the joint force, the U.S. Interagency, non-federal entities, and the U.S. Congress to guarantee safety, security and prosperity throughout the Western Hemisphere.  This is the work and promise of SOUTHCOM as a part of Team USA, in support of Team Democracy.”

Guyana – Venezuela border controversy; U.S. support to Guyana

“In terms of our relationship with Guyana, as a very willing partner and democracy in the region, very important partner. And we see that what the Maduro regime and Venezuela are doing in the activities that they are taking against this democracy with an unjustified claim.

“We have a very robust plan with Guyana, and we've continued on that plan. And that's been coordinated with, with our U.S. government... And so it consists of visits by folks within my command, and the engagements that we do, the exercises, the subject matter exchanges, we've continued with all of those. Not trying to exacerbate the situation, but continued on the path with our regular engagements that have been scheduled.”

Importance of Women, Peace and Security and Enlisted professional development exchanges

“In every visit I do in the countries, we have a Women, Peace and Security event. The great thing is that we get what I call a ‘two-fer’ with our Enlisted Leader Professional Development Program as well. We have many women enlisted leaders that are in our military formations in the region. And so that dovetailing nicely with our different programs, they're both rockstar programs, if I must say, and our partner nations doing that, and seeing the diversity and the ability to increase readiness within their forces, they have realized that and they continue on a really good path.”

Importance of the State Partnership Program; Theater Maintenance Partnership Initiative

“I have the largest SPP program amongst all the geographic combatant commands. And we're very grateful for that program. It's a huge enabler… They organize and synchronize the activities of the National Guard SPP program with the operations. activities and investments. So, it's a critical role.

And with the Theater Maintenance Partnership Initiative, which is a program that we're rolling out to put nine centers of excellence in the region. And this is partnering with the partner nation militaries and their military academies, with program of instruction to teach and train maintenance and the culture of maintenance. But it's a tactical level program all the way up to an operational level into the ministries of defense, where you can anticipate logistics and teach logistics, logistics and that culture of maintenance, to keep equipment ready and increase the readiness of capability for these partner nations.”


People Republic of China activities in Latin America and the Caribbean

“The People's Republic of China has exploited the trust of democracies in this hemisphere, using that trust to steal national secrets, intellectual property, and research related to academia, agriculture and health care. The scope and scale of this espionage is unprecedented. Through the Belt and Road Initiative, the PRC aims to amass power and influence at the expense of the world's democracies. Here in the Western Hemisphere, Latin America and the Caribbean have the potential to feed and fuel the world. Understanding this, the PRC has already busy extracting and exploiting predatory investment practices, construction of mega ports and dual use space facilities and criminal cyber activities are just a few of the PRC is malign activities that jeopardize the sovereignty and safety of the region.”

Presence of China, Russia and Iran in Latin America and the Caribbean

“Russia remains an acute threat and seeks to increase its foothold by bolstering authoritarian regimes and Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In the last year, China, Russia and Iran have increased their presence diplomatically, economically and even militarily in the region. These activities undermine democracies and challenge their credibility. Both China and Russia exploit the presence of transnational criminal organizations and amplify their destabilizing impacts on democratic governments.”

Threats of Transnational Criminal Organizations

“[Transnational Criminal Organizations] traffic weapons, drugs, people gold, lithium, rare earth, minerals, commodities and counterfeit goods, while contributing to the surge of fentanyl related deaths here at home. The good news is working with our very willing partners leads to the best defense. We must use all available levers to strengthen our partnerships with the 28 like-minded democracies in this hemisphere who understand the power of working together to counter these shared threats. The United States remains the preferred and most trusted security partner in the region.”

“…with the transnational criminal organizations in my region, and the insecurity in the instability that they continue to create, and, and their portfolio has diversified and they become more powerful. As I was saying before, our countries working together to try and eliminate those threats and share the information on those threats that are in the South America, Central American region, is extremely important.”

SOUTHCOM engagement with partner nations on Human Rights

“The Human Rights Office in SOUTHCOM -- that we've had for over 20 years -- has been a huge enabler. Everything that we do, it's baked in, it's a core foundational principle. And human rights, the rule of law and the professionalization of the militaries as we work with our military partners in the region, that is at the top of the list. and then just infusing that in terms of all of the programs, and then it dovetails nicely into women peace and security, the integration of women into the forces, the militaries in the public security forces, our enlisted leader development program, which is a rockstar program. That's what makes our US military so strong is our enlisted force. And what we do is we bring that, that program to the region and help our partners make that stronger. Just about every six months, I meet with human rights organizations when I travel in the region as well to hear their perspective, because it's a perspective that you have to understand, not just our military-to-military perspective, but what is happening on the ground, what they're seeing, what they're concerned about.

Importance of Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-South) to counter-illicit trafficking efforts

The work that JIATF-South out of South has done with the interagency… we have just a huge synergy with JIATF-South and the law enforcement community in the interagency. And so to continue to build that and every year, our partner nations’ abilities to utilize that detection and monitoring, both our law enforcement but partner nations too, because we want that in terms of them being able to increase the interdictions as a result of that information. And that continues to go up every year. It's 76% by our partner nations. And so we see that they're very, very effective.”