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More Discussion on Drugs, Terrorism and Western Hemisphere Issues

March 18, 2009
By Henry Kenyon

Last October, AFCEA and U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) hosted SOUTH 2008, a conference focused on operations in SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility. Coverage of the event appeared in the December edition of SIGNAL in the article Narcotics and Terrorism are Linked, Pose Threats to Hemisphere. Adm. James Stavridis, commander of SOUTHCOM, played an integral role in the success SOUTH, and gave a keynote address during the event. His presentation focused on the problems and links of drugs, terrorism and poverty in the Western Hemisphere. The admiral also addressed the issue of drug smugglers effectively using semisubmersibles to move their products as well as the potential danger of those vehicles being used to smuggle terrorists.

Adm. Stavridis brought up the same problems on March 17 when he presented a posture statement to the Senate Armed Forces Committee. He made even stronger links between terrorism and drugs, speaking about specific efforts undertaken to root out terrorism in the region. Aside from terror groups native to the region, terror organizations more associated other parts of the globe are operating in Latin America. Adm. Stavridis's remarks also touched on the need for interagency cooperation, advancing technology and success stories in Latin America, including huge advances toward peace and stability. He additionally stressed the continued problem of semisubmersibles. The text of the admiral's presentation is available online

Another combatant commander and speaker at SOUTH, Gen. Victor Renuart, USAF, commander, U.S Northern Command, and North American Aerospace Defense Command, also gave testimony at the committee meeting. His prepared statement is posted online as well. Two other combatant commanders also gave statements in the meeting, Gen. William Ward, USA, commander, U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Duncan McNabb, USAF, commander, U.S. Transportation Command. The entire committee meeting is available through the Webcast.

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