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SPEECH | Aug. 30, 2018

Prepared Remarks: Adm. Tidd closing remarks at 2018 South American Defense Conference

SOUTHDEC 2018 Closing Remarks, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Aug. 29, 2018

Adm. Kurt W. Tidd, commander, U.S. Southern Command

Minister of Defense Aguad, General Sosa, SOUTHDEC 2018 distinguished participants and observers;

Buenas tardes... Good afternoon!!

As we close a couple of days of terrific discussion and hard work, let me begin by again thanking General Sosa and the Argentine armed forces for hosting SOUTHDEC 2018. Your warm hospitality was simply amazing and fostered the deepening of dialogue and friendships.

On behalf of all of us -- thank you for the incredible effort that went into making this event so worthwhile.

Conferences like this take enormous hard work and energy. A special thanks to the Argentine and U.S. teams who worked together to make this event a tremendous success. Likewise, I want to commend the moderators and presenters for a job well done!

I’d also like to express my appreciation to the defense chiefs and their designated representatives from the region; our distinguished representatives from Canada, Spain, and the Inter American Defense Board; and the senior enlisted leaders attending the conference -­ thank you for your leadership and insightful contributions to our dialogue!

Over the past two days, we had a rich conversation on issues of mutual concern.

We discussed the advantages and challenges posed by more integrated approaches to peacekeeping operations.

For example, Gen Sosa suggested we explore the potential to regionally pool the capabilities of individual countries, in order to increase South American contributions to peace support operations. This would require a greater degree of standardization in the preparation of forces for deployment.

In addition, we shared perspectives on transregional threats, and the means and methods necessary within a comprehensive approach to successfully confront these threats.

We talked about the ways our militaries can improve their contributions to addressing internal and external security threats, within the unique context of each nation's interagency effort.

Today, we face a security environment of unprecedented complexity, and challenges that are simultaneously civil, criminal, and military in nature. For example, all of our nations are grappling with the challenges posed by threat networks and cyber defense.

The evolution of these challenges is compelling many of our nations to adjust legal frameworks, authorities, doctrine, and investments in building capabilities for the future.

The success of our military efforts -- at the national and regional levels -- depends on many factors. But the most critical factor is leadership, including in our non­commissioned officer corps.

An effective non-commissioned officer corps is essential to institutionalizing the characteristics of a capable, modern security force. Our non-commissioned officers are vital to ensuring our forces are trained to meet operational requirements, respect human rights, and successfully operate in a joint environment.

To all of our senior leaders -- thank you for sharing your perspectives over the past two days. As we move forward, these kinds of candid exchanges are essential to ensuring we develop effective joint and multinational solutions to strengthen security and stability across our shared region.

Looking ahead, I am very pleased to share Admiral Ademir's gracious offer to co-host SOUTHDEC 2019.

Of course there is still much work to be done before we meet in Brazil. As we train, operate, and exercise together over the year ahead, we will continue to strengthen our information sharing and interoperability. And we will deepen our shared commitment to the inter-American values that bind us together as equal partners and true friends.

I wish you all safe journeys home and a terrific SOUTHDEC 2019 in Brazil!