Aug. 23, 2017
SOUTHDEC 2017 Welcome Remarks
Adm. Kurt W. Tidd | Lima, Peru | Aug. 23, 2017
Thank you. Minister Nieto, Admiral Paredes, fellow flag and general officers, distinguished regional leaders, ladies and gentlemen ... Ve cl nos y amigos: buenos dfas .. . bom dia ... Good morning! Bienvenidos a la Conferencia de la Defensa Sur Americana dos mil Diez y Siete. Les agradezco a todos por participar en lo que sera un foro muy productivo para el intercambio de informacion e ideas.
I'd like to thank Admiral Paredes and the Peruvian armed forces for co-hosting this important meeting. Thank you admiral, for the hard work and efforts of your team, and for your generous hospitality. I'd also like to thank the 'super heroes' from both our staffs who work long hours behind the scenes to make sure everything is perfect.
As I said last night, it's great to be among so many friends-both old and new. And that is really what this conference is about: friendship and cooperation. Over the years, SOUTHDEC has brought together South American defense and security officials.
It has served as one of many important regional forums for dialogue and cooperation, complementing the already robust mechanisms for cooperation among South American nations.
This conference is symbolic of our hemisphere's tradition of collaboration. It's also symbolic of our understanding of the challenges of the modern security environment, and our willingness to face them together.
This meeting demonstrates our shared interest in strengthening relations with our neighbors, to come together as equal partners and true friends, who welcome all ideas and perspectives that help improve the security and prosperity of our shared home. Over the next two days, we will participate in three thought provoking panel discussions. Each of these panels is focused on truly global issues. Challenges like illicit networks, cyber security, and humanitarian crises aren't confined to any particular place or space. They affect multiple countries, regions, and hemispheres.
This means there's not a single country or military out there able to solve them by acting alone. We all have to work together, sharing information freely and trusting one another implicitly.
This trust is the foundation of our relationships with one another, just as our shared values are the foundation of our collective security. In a region of so much diversity, the Inter-American principles of democratic governance, rule of law, and the protection of human rights are the common bonds that unite our different countries.
It is my hope that our discussions over the next two days will serve to deepen those bonds, and increase our understanding of our common interests and shared threats to the prosperity, security, and stability of all our nations.
We have been tested by increasingly sophisticated illicit actors, who do not respect our national boundaries, laws, or sovereignty.
And in the face of these challenges, we have stood firm, together. We have been united in partnership, confident in our capabilities, and committed to cooperation. 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.
This is an opportunity to continue learning from one another. To improve upon existing processes and mechanisms to identify concrete ways to employ integrated approaches and synchronized actions. Integration and synchronization are especially critical in the face of complex challenges like illicit networks and cyber threats.
Non-state actors threaten our institutions and infrastructure, erode the confidence of our citizens, and sow chaos, instability, and criminality.
These challenges aren't just law enforcement or security problems -- these are development problems, economic problems, governance problems, and criminal justice problems.
Only by taking a holistic look at these issues can we begin identifying how to apply whole-of-government solutions. The same goes for responding to humanitarian crises and disasters. As we all know, every second counts when the lives of our citizens are on the line.
But l'd go further than that.
Every second also counts before that crisis breaks out. What vulnerabilities should we be monitoring? What indicators should we be tracking?
What can we do now, to hone or focus our security cooperation efforts to help mitigate, or possibly avert, the effects of regional crises and large-scale emergencies?
These are some of the complex issues that we will delve into over the course of today and tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to our discussions, and to hearing your insights and perspectives.
Finally, l'd like to leave you all with a vision of the future -- a vision that i believe all of us share. Last week, US Vice President Pence spoke of the future of U.S. relations with Latin America.
The nations in this room represent the future. You represent the incredible, yet-to-be-fully-tapped potential of this hemisphere.
If we could go beyond bilateral partnerships, and work as one network, united in purpose and unified in action ... If we could rid our region of illicit networks and drugs, and harden our collective defenses against cyberattacks, and build regional resiliency against crises.
This conference represents the potential of a hemisphere that pools its resources and collaborates freely to face new and old challenges alike. So our goal is simple: work together, as one network, to unlock that un-tapped potential in every way we can.
To expand on a Peruvian proverb ... Poco a pogo, se anda lejos ... Y andando juntos, podemos llegar a nuestro mutuo dest/no, el bienestar de nuestros pueblos.
I look forward to a candid exchange on these ideas. Thank you.