21ST CENTURY SECURITY THREATS STATEMENT OF GENERAL CHARLES E. WILHELM, USMC COMMANDER IN CHIEF UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND BEFORE THE 105TH CONGRESS COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES UNITED STATES SENATE 5 MARCH 1998 Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to provide you with my assessment of the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Area of Responsibility (AOR). I have used the beginning of my tenure in SOUTHCOM to meet key regional military and civilian leaders, to build relationships within the interagency community, and to gain an in-depth, personal perspective of the region. I will provide a strategic assessment, review SOUTHCOM's major accomplishments, address our challenges, and present my vision for the future. STRATEGIC ASSESSMENT - Importance Of The Region To U.S. National Interests President Clinton has stated that the growing economic prosperity of the Latin American and Caribbean regions is of significant importance to U.S. national interests. As we enter the new millennium, U.S. trade with this region is envisioned to exceed trade with all of Europe. By 2010, U.S. trade with this region is projected to exceed trade with Europe and Japan combined. No one questions the strategic importance of the Middle East, but Venezuela alone provides the same amount of oil to the U.S. as do all the Persian Gulf states combined. The discovery of major oil reserves in Colombia, and existing oil supplies in Trinidad- Tobago and Ecuador, further increase the strategic importance of this region's energy resources. During the last decade, the Western Hemisphere has clearly transitioned to democracy. Of the 32 nations in our theater, Cuba stands alone as the last bastion of a failed, archaic ideology. We remain ever hopeful that a peaceful transition to democracy will eventually occur which will allow for a free government and increased economic opportunities for the Cuban people. The fact that the region now has 16 civilian defense ministers also exemplifies the improving trend of military subordination to civil authority. However, the roots of democracy are not deeply anchored and will require support and role modeling to become institutionalized. These nations are struggling to counter the threats of terrorism, international organized crime, and drug trafficking. We must remain actively engaged in this region to deter aggression, foster peaceful conflict resolution, and encourage democratic development while promoting stability and prosperity. Beyond our strong economic ties with the region, we have important cultural ties. The U.S. has the world's fifth largest Spanish-speaking population. We share a commitment to peace and stability with democratic states of this hemisphere. Increasing regional cooperation and sustaining regional stability remain the fundamental objectives of U.S. security interests throughout the hemisphere. - Southcom and U.S. National Interests Peace Through Regional Engagement SOUTHCOM supports the attainment of national objectives through our strategy of cooperative regional peacetime engagement. The strategy is crafted from national objectives and interests, and embodies the concepts of shape, respond, and prepare now. Using shared ideals we shape cooperative opportunities with other countries to create conditions which support the development of institutions that advance democracy and regional stability. SOUTHCOM will respond to hemispheric or regional challenges such as natural disasters, instability, narcotrafficking and other transnational dangers that threaten U.S. vital national interests. Ideally, the response will be multilateral, involving the cooperative participation of other nations within our hemisphere. SOUTHCOM will prepare now for an uncertain future and assist regional military and security forces in prudent preparations to strengthen multilateral commitment against future shared challenges. Theater Resources SOUTHCOM leverages scarce national resources for significant benefit. In FY97, DOD allocated $566 million to SOUTHCOM. our small in-theater force structure of approximately 5,700 personnel - nearly a 50% decrease since 1994 - maximizes the Total Force concept. In concert with our active duty forces, large numbers of guard and reserve forces deploy and exercise in the theater. With the assistance of our National Guard and Reserve Components, we have been able to accomplish our assigned tasks. Last year, more than 50,000 National Guard and Reserve Component workdays supported over 3,000 deployments throughout our AOR. Additionally, in FY97 the Services provided over 100 work-years of reserve support to SOUTHCOM and its service components for counterdrug operations, exercise participation and to relieve active duty PERSTEMPO/OPTEMPO. National Guard and Reserve units are fully integrated into SOUTHCOM's operational and functional plans and provide greater than 40% of all deployments within the region. Reserve component leaders serve as Commanders of U.S. Support Group Haiti and the Military Observer Mission for Ecuador and Peru. Reserve forces are a critical augmenting and reinforcing element of the Total Force capabilities that allow SOUTHCOM to attain a substantial return from a relatively small investment. However, small does not mean, "'free." SOUTHCOM requires a balanced forward military presence with a carefully crafted theater support architecture and balanced augmenting and reinforcing forces. We must continue to maintain a modest troop level composed of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines possessing the right skills, performing the right missions at the right place and time. Current crises facing our nation must be addressed. However, while we extinguish strategic brushfires elsewhere in the world it is important that we not lose sight of the need to make modest investments in people and resources to shape the future of Latin America and the Caribbean. Today's small investments in this hemisphere offer the promise of enormous returns in the next century. Landmark Year For Change This past year marked a period of profound change for SOUTHCOM. The most recent modification to the Unified Command Plan (UCP) fundamentally altered the character of SOUTHCOM's AOR. The addition of the Caribbean, its island nations and the ocean areas surrounding Central and South America changed the AOR from a land-locked theater to a truly balanced theater with continental, maritime, and aerospace dimensions. This change has necessitated a "bottom-up" review of the theater strategy. We are developing a revised strategy to comprehensively address the missions of regional cooperative engagement and counternarcotics support. In the counterdrug arena, the UCP and National Interdiction Command and Control Plan modifications unified responsibilities for the transit and source zones under a single, regional combatant commander. Our regional counterdrug strategy now combines transit and source zone assets into a focused, coordinated, theater-wide counterdrug effort. This is best illustrated by the improved command and control strategic linkages that have emerged between the two Joint Interagency Task Forces (JIATFs) now under SOUTHCOM. JIATF-South, located in Panama, detects, monitors and tracks suspected drug activity in the source zone with a focus on the Republic of Panama and the landmass of South America. JIATF-East, located in Key West, Florida, conducts similar missions in the transit zone including the Caribbean, Central America, Eastern Pacific, and the waters surrounding the nations of the Andean Ridge. As the strategic headquarters for the JIATFs, SOUTHCOM synchronizes theater counterdrug functions and activities, and ensures that the counterdrug missions in the region are properly resourced. This increases the efficiency and economy of operations throughout the theater, and provides for the seamless employment of all U.S. and allied counterdrug forces operating in the Western Hemisphere. The September 1997 relocation of the headquarters represents another fundamental change for SOUTHCOM. Miami is the right strategic location for this command. The move enhances our ability to address the challenges accompanying our expanded UCP responsibilities. Additionally, South Florida is the "'Gateway to the Americas" and the regional center of trade, finance, education, and culture. Our location at the regional transportation hub and collocation with the Caribbean and Latin American consulates facilitates our interactions with political, economic, and military leadership. ACCOMPLISHMENTS - Regional Linkages And Engagement Each nation within our AOR is unique in its level of prosperity, stability and history. Yet, regional commonalities of geography, economic environment, and shared regional-specific threats link countries to regional approaches and security cooperation. Cooperation shapes the security environment to recognize shared challenges and to establish a common understanding of the nature of a future, requisite response. SOUTHCOM's approach is founded upon hemispheric cooperation. We have an opportunity to further national interests and strengthen democratic institutions in Central and South America and the Caribbean. To do so requires focused effort and teamwork. Successful initiatives or actions do not occur in isolation, but are integral parts of a cooperative effort. SOUTHCOM's essential tasks are to garner thought, ideas, and support through effective theater engagement. - Military Observer Mission Ecuador Peru (MOMEP) The MOMEP is a result of shared thinking, ideas, and efforts, and continues to be perhaps the most highly successful peacekeeping operation in recent history. In an unprecedented move, this multinational, multi-million dollar peacekeeping operation has been fully funded by Peru and Ecuador--the nations in dispute. Recently, SOUTHCOM successfully transitioned the bulk of MOMEP mission support responsibilities to Brazil, Chile and Argentina. I believe MOMEP serves as a model for future peacekeeping situations as the U.S. transitions to a guiding vice leading role. - Exercises and Training One of the primary vehicles for maintaining and expanding regional engagement is through our exercise and training programs. Bilateral exercises have been practically eliminated as we have aggressively pushed for integrated and coordinated regional approaches to regional challenges. SOUTHCOM's multilateral exercises focus on peacekeeping, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, counterdrug operations, and medical training and assistance. These multilateral exercises and training events allow U.S. military forces and host nations to train together and exchange skills ranging from medical assessments and treatment to tactical maneuver and communications skills. These activities also serve to bring together varied nations; enhancing military-to-military confidence building measures, reinforcing respect for human rights and encouraging support for democratically elected institutions. An important component of our multilateral exercise effort is the Distinguished Visitor Program, which brings together regional government, business and military leaders. Typically, these influential leaders have the chance to observe an exercise, sit as panel members in special exercise seminars and participate in exercise After Action Reviews. This forum provides an extraordinary opportunity for a high-level exchange of ideas and enhances confidence building and cooperation among regional counterparts. Of special note, this past summer, Honduras hosted an exercise to coordinate Central America's regional response to natural disasters and humanitarian operations. The Honduran military planned, coordinated and executed the exercise. Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and observers from the Dominican Republic participated. This was the first Central American exercise of its type to be conducted without U.S. support or participation. This exercise highlights SOUTHCOM's influence in helping to build Central American confidence in intra-regional coordination and cooperation. - Security Assistance Security Assistance is a crucial element of U.S. national security strategy that fosters and supports cooperative regional arrangements. Cooperation and trust among traditional rivals is at an all time high. Military expenditures throughout this region are the lowest in the world. Nevertheless, Latin American and Caribbean militaries do have legitimate defense modernization requirements. Against these requirements, the Foreign Military Financing Program (FMF) shrank from $221.3 million in FY91 to $2 million per year for FY96 and FY97. This limits SOUTHCOM's ability to influence the direction and scope of regional military modernization. We continue to work with the Department of State in support of the FMF program. However, one of the most cost-effective means of encouraging development of democratic values and beliefs while shaping the region's militaries is through the International Military Education and Training (IMET) program. In FY97, this program provided training for 2,400 students from the region. Another important success story is the Expanded International Military Education and Training (EIMET) program. Improving civil-military relations in the region can be traced to the EIMET program. These programs are providing a tangible contribution to the professionalization of defense establishments within democratic societies. - U.S. Army School of the Americas The U.S. Army School of the Americas (USARSA) at Fort Benning, Georgia serves as a vital tool in attaining U.S. strategic objectives in Latin America and the Caribbean. The school offers theoretical and practical instruction that promotes democratic values, respect for human rights, and regional stability. USARSA provides an opportunity for Latin American military and civilian leaders to receive, in Spanish, the same instruction we provide our own defense forces. Since its inception in 1946, more than 60,000 officers, noncommissioned officers, cadets and civilians have graduated from USARSA. The school produces graduates who make positive contributions to their countries through distinguished military and civilian public service. Concepts and values taught at USARSA were reaffirmed over the past decade as Latin American military governments transitioned to democracies. In many cases, the interpersonal relationships, forged during a common educational experience in the school, serve as a valuable tool for regional engagement while promoting stability. - Humanitarian and Civic Assistance Program The Humanitarian and Civic Assistance (HCA) program helps maintain our readiness posture, generates goodwill, and improves quality of life for people of the region. During FY97, SOUTHCOM constructed or rehabilitated 2 roads, 32 schools, 10 clinics, and 18 water wells. We also conducted 60 medical readiness exercises providing quality medical care to those who might otherwise receive none. In FY98, deployments to 19 countries will provide similar support. This year SOUTHCOM will conduct the first in a series of disease intervention exercises starting with Peru. These multilateral exercises are designed to address the causes, not just the effects, of diseases unique to this region. - Humanitarian Assistance Program The Humanitarian Assistance (HA) program provides selected countries with non-lethal, excess DOD property to meet specific humanitarian needs. Last year we provided 28 shipments worth over $13 million to 20 different countries. Primarily medical and disaster relief supplies, these donations significantly boosted the limited medical infrastructure in recipient countries. We also provided medical care to the Haitian civilian population and initiated a Regional Medical Surveillance System in the Caribbean. In FY98, SOUTHCOM has programmed 28 HA projects for 22 countries. Our HA budget of $2.1 million includes purchasing equipment for medical/disease surveillance systems, assisting malaria eradication efforts, and shipping disaster relief supplies, medical supplies, and fire-fighting equipment throughout the region. - Human Rights SOUTHCOM's human rights program is a proactive engagement tool which has garnered increased support and respect for the tenets of human rights and international law among the region's security forces. Last June, SOUTHCOM sponsored a human rights seminar where representatives from militaries throughout the AOR met with members of the international human rights community to develop a consensus document creating a vision o regional militaries' responsibilities in human rights. Five main areas of responsibility were identified: (1) human rights and military doctrine, (2) human rights education and training, (3) internal control mechanisms (e.g., prevention, investigation, accountability), (4) external control of the military/subordination to civilian authority, and (5) clear delineation of military and police roles. More recently, a follow-on seminar was conducted to develop specific recommendations on ways that regional militaries can institutionalize human rights in doctrine, education, training and operational practices. Additionally, methods were developed to assist in measuring progress toward attaining these human rights objectives. - Demining SOUTHCOM Special Operations forces are assisting Organization of American States and the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) demining operations in Central America. Our goal is to develop self-sustaining national demining programs in the participating nations. U.S. forces provide training, technical advice, and logistical support to the International Demining team located in Danli, Honduras. Humanitarian demining operations are being conducted in Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua. On 5 Feb 1998, the Interagency Working Group for Humanitarian demining approved Guatemala for demining operations. The IADB and SOUTHCOM will conduct a resource determination and site survey in Guatemala during March of this year. On-site demining operations should commence shortly thereafter. As a result of these demining efforts, 1,672 mines have been destroyed and 73,741 square meters of land cleared in Nicaragua; 1,923 mines were destroyed and 166,637 square meters of land cleared in Honduras; and 37 mines were destroyed and 33,076 square meters of land were cleared in Costa Rica. Honduras and Costa Rica should complete their demining programs during the 2nd Qtr of FY99. To date, the International Demining Team has cleared mines that were impeding access to a series of electrical transmission towers in Nicaragua that supply energy to the central region. In the near future, a series of bridges that link the populated areas around Managua to the ports on the Atlantic Coast will be cleared of mines. As a derivative benefit, the Department of Defense has been actively engaged with the Nicaraguan military for the first time in over a decade. In addition, U.S. Marine forces are rapidly clearing our own minefields inside the confines of Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. - Counterdrug While the progress toward our national objective of a democratic, peaceful, and prosperous hemisphere has been substantial, narcotics trafficking remains a major challenge in the region. In simple terms, the threat posed by drug trafficking is an ambush in the path toward achieving our national objectives. Fighting through this ambush with a minimum of capital investment, our drug interdiction operations are having a significant effect on the flow of illegal drugs throughout the hemisphere. Coca cultivation has decreased more than twenty-seven percent in Peru and five percent in Bolivia. Additionally, our airbridge interdiction efforts are disrupting the aerial shipment of coca thereby forcing the narcotraffickers to adapt by moving to alternative air, ground and water transportation modes, and by relocating coca cultivation and laboratory processing sites. The opportunity exists to counter these new methods of growing, processing, and shipment, and ultimately affects narcotraffickers' motivation--profit. Enhanced engagement with national security forces will serve to constrict the ends of the drug pipeline. At the same time, the entire region must be postured to close down cross border support for narcotrafficking, stem the erosion of national sovereignty, and achieve a regional response to a shared threat. The nations of the Hemisphere are recognizing narcotrafficking as a shared threat and a threat to national sovereignty. Regional law enforcement forces, which have the lead role, are progressing in the struggle against narcotrafficking within their borders. This is largely the result of successful engagement by various U.S. agencies with host nations. The threat to national sovereignty is largely unchallenged as a regional effort. Regional militaries should assist civilian law enforcement agencies in the protection of their national sovereignty against a threat which knows no borders. SOUTHCOM's engagement must support these efforts. Where we are conducting military engagement, we are seeing success. Where our military engagement is limited, progress is limited. In the source zone, Operation LASER STRIKE, our airbridge interdiction effort, continues to have a significant impact in deterring illegal air traffic along the Peru-Colombia airbridge. In combined operations with Peru and Colombia, aerial and ground assets continue to degrade the narcotraffickers' ability to move coca base from cultivation areas in Peru to processing sites in Colombia. Last year alone, 27 narcotrafficking aircraft were either shot down, strafed, or seized by Peruvian and Colombian end-game forces. Riverine interdiction programs have been developed for Peru and Colombia that will significantly improve the riverine interdiction capabilities of those nations. Key elements of the Peru plan include establishing a Joint Riverine Training Center in Iquitos; training and equipping twelve operational Riverine Interdiction Units; and procuring and outfitting three Floating Support Bases. The training center will commence operations this summer with the first operational unit coming online during the 4th quarter of FY98. We are initiating a similar program to enhance the existing Colombian Riverine program. Key elements of the Colombia plan include improving infrastructure, providing spare parts, upgrading existing communications and navigation equipment, enhancing personnel protective equipment, sourcing additional riverine patrol craft and improving the quality and depth of training. These riverine initiatives are designed to provide Peru and Colombia unilateral capabilities to apply pressure along critical avenues where the narcotraffickers currently enjoy almost uncontested freedom of movement. In the transit zone, there has been a notable increase in the willingness of Caribbean and Central American nations to participate in combined interdiction operations. Operations SUMMER STORM and BLUE SKIES are excellent examples. operations in the eastern Caribbean have effectively teamed U.S. helicopter and transportation support with participating nation forces and surface assets. Due to limited resources, transit zone maritime interdiction operations have been focused on the Caribbean where cooperation from all nations including France, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands has produced positive results. Transit and source zone radar networks play a critical role in interdiction operations. The Puerto Rico ROTHR site, to be activated next year, along with source zone radar commercialization will enhance capabilities while reducing overall costs and personnel tempo. CHALLENGES While there is justification for optimism based on the wave of democratic reform that has swept through our region, we recognize that many of these emerging democracies are fragile and will require our continued support, assistance and nurturing as they mature. While insurgencies and border disputes continue to undermine stability in some countries, the greatest threats that confront the region are transnational in nature. They include international organized crime, drugs, terrorism, illegal migration and arms trafficking. - International Organized Crime International criminal organizations threaten stability, corrupt government officials, and hinder some governments' abilities to protect their citizens. Crimes include drug and arms trafficking, theft, smuggling of illegal migrants, kidnappings, and money laundering. Many governments lack the resources to counter these threats. Insofar as international crime erodes national sovereignty, regional militaries can play an appropriate role in support of law enforcement efforts. SOUTHCOM engagement helps regional militaries to assume and perform these roles and missions within a democratic context. - Drugs Though we have enjoyed some success in reducing production in the source zone, and our interdiction efforts have led to the interception of appreciable quantities of illegal drugs destined for the United States, supply continues to match demand and we see a number of challenges before us. The three most significant are: (1) obtaining sufficient detection, monitoring and tracking assets to cover all transit routes; (2) developing the common operating picture required to coordinate and orchestrate hemispheric counterdrug operations, and (3) sustaining counterdrug operations at current levels. During 1997, we were provided sufficient DOD and interagency resources to cover approximately 1/5th of the transit and source zones, 1/5th of the time. Through judicious application of assets and sound intelligence cueing, we were able to provide generally effective coverage of the source zone and the transit routes through the Caribbean. We have been unable, however, to mount effective detection, monitoring and tracking operations in the Eastern Pacific, a pipeline which feeds Mexico and ultimately the U.S. Due to worldwide competition for resources, we found it necessary to postpone the execution phase of CAPER FOCUS, an operation which promised to make substantial inroads into trafficking along the Eastern Pacific littorals. SOUTHCOM is working with the Joint Staff and interagency community to identify the detection, monitoring and tracking and other capabilities needed to execute CAPER FOCUS. Our inability to initiate this operation is yet another indicator of how thinly stretched our increasingly sparse DOD assets have become. The development of a common operating picture or system that will enable us to display simultaneously and in real time data developed by multiple collectors and operating agencies will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of both U.S. and multilateral counterdrug operations. Absent this capability, seams are created which are exploited by traffickers, and handoffs of tracks of interest and prosecution of end game operations are significantly impeded. We have stressed to our neighbors that drugs are a hemispheric problem, which demands a hemispheric solution. Development of the common operating picture will remove one of the major obstacles to hemispheric cooperation. In the face of continued reductions in forces and budgets, we will be hard-pressed to sustain operations during 1998 at the same levels as 1997. Ongoing, long duration contingency operations in Bosnia, continued support for the Government of Haiti, increased emphasis on demand side strategies, and the low priority accorded counterdrug operations in the Global Military Forces Policy all have impact on the kinds and quantities of DOD and non-DOD assets available to SOUTHCOM. To sustain the progress that has been made in the source zone countries of Peru and Bolivia, to continue our successful interdiction of the Andean Ridge air bridge, to close the Eastern Pacific "backdoor" and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of hemispheric counterdrug operations will require interagency consensus and continued emphasis on CD operations within the context of threats to our national interests and security. - Terrorism Regional insurgent groups such as the Sendero Luminoso, Tupac Amaru, FARC and the ELN pose credible threats to the governments and citizens of the nations in this region. In recent years, major international terrorist groups, including Hizballah, have turned to Latin America as a safe-haven for support bases to sustain worldwide operations. Though U.S. Personnel and forces have not been the subject of attack, we are sensitive to their vulnerability. To combat terrorism, SOUTHCOM has developed an active anti- terrorism program. Individual awareness is the primary weapon in our anti-terrorism arsenal. We require full compliance with SOUTHCOM and CJCS-directed anti-terrorism awareness training requirements before allowing any forces to enter the region. In addition, SOUTHCOM assessment teams review force protection/anti- terrorism programs and facilities of DOD and non-DOD activities to identify and correct vulnerabilities. Force protection/anti- terrorism responsibilities have been clearly delineated, and we work closely with country teams to help eliminate gaps and seams in this shared responsibility. Several efforts are ongoing to strengthen our antiterrorism posture. Procurement and upgrading of light armored vehicles for personnel transportation and enhanced communications capabilities are high priority initiatives throughout the region. Acquisition of the land surrounding the Headquarters is required to achieve adequate force protection standoff distances, while acquisition of the Headquarters building is the most cost effective means to support SOUTHCOM mission requirements. Physical security upgrade projects are being pursued for the U.S. Support Group - Haiti, JTF-Bravo in Honduras, source zone radar sites, and Guantanamo Naval Base. SOUTHCOM is sensitive to the imperative requirement for an effective force protection posture. We monitor closely the activities of our deployed personnel and units and move proactively when any change or intensification of threats is detected. - Illegal Migration The SOUTHCOM AOR has become a major avenue for both intra-and inter-hemispheric illegal migration. This migration places a strain through economic and social imbalances on the governments of the region. If unchecked, these imbalances can threaten a nation's sovereignty and internal stability. Only through a cooperative approach between governmental agencies, non- governmental organizations, and private voluntary organizations can we fashion an effective response. While the responsibility of routine migration operations resides with the Immigration and Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice, mass migration poses a particular challenge for SOUTHCOM. The capabilities required to conduct emergency mass migrant operations, if and when directed by the President, reside within our Service components. These Service component capabilities are important, and given regional political and economic uncertainties, may well be required in the future just as they were during the 1994 Caribbean migration crisis. While we remain poised to mitigate the effects of major illegal migrations, first emphasis is on prevention. Through proactive regional cooperative engagement, and in cooperation with other U.S. Government agencies, we seek to help identify and eliminate the causes for population displacement before they occur. - Illegal Arms Transfers In Latin America and the Caribbean, illegal arms transfers pose a serious threat. Arms caches from civil wars, black markets, military weapons captured by insurgents, and illegal seepage from military armories severely complicate the regional governments' abilities to maintain law and order. For example, well-armed guerrillas, paramilitary organizations, and narcotraffickers challenge governmental control in Colombia. If these organizations acquire more technologically advanced systems, governments will face an even greater threat. SOUTHCOM's challenge is to develop a cooperative approach with regional security forces to identify, stem and ultimately stop the illegal flow of arms within the region. A good first step was the passage in the Organization of American States of the Inter-American Convention Against Illicit Production Of and Trafficking in Firearms, Ammunition, Explosives and Related Materials, now awaiting Senate ratification. - Legal Arms Transfers: Modernization Politically and militarily, Latin America is in transformation. Though the region is at peace, Latin American militaries have legitimate modernization requirements. By following a rational and responsible, case-by-case review process for the sale of advanced weapon systems, the U.S. has the opportunity to shape modernization efforts of Latin American security forces. Our nation has made great strides in creating an atmosphere of mutual trust and cooperation. We are now witnessing a new era of trust, confidence and defense transparency between nations that only recently viewed their neighbors as adversaries. Some striking examples of this changing atmosphere are the Argentina-Brazil joint exercises, possible Argentina-Chile joint exercises, the multilateral exercises conducted by SOUTHCOM in Central and South America, and Chile's recent public release of its Defense Strategy--a first for Latin America. The progress of regional democracies in maintaining open and amicable relations with neighboring states is influenced primarily by domestic conditions and the conviction that national sovereignty is assured. Latin American nations are taking steps to modernize their militaries. Purchasing weapons systems from the U.S. brings with it full multi-year support and the desirable element of transparency. Most importantly, the U.S. is able to influence the employment of these weapon systems through training, doctrinal development, and levels of technology release, while enhancing hemispheric cooperative engagement. - Radio Frequency Spectrum Usage The radio frequency spectrum is a finite resource that must be shared by the public and private sectors. Current proposals assume significant revenue generation from the sale of the radio frequency spectrum now reserved for military use. However, spectrum reallocation legislation should contain appropriate consideration for future warfighting requirements. We are fully supportive of efforts to balance the federal ledgers, but believe the loss of certain critical spectrum segments may have unintended consequences. The expense to refit communications, navigational and weapons systems on key military platforms might negate the anticipated revenue gains from spectrum sales. SOUTHCOM fully supports the development of a National Spectrum Strategy. This approach will minimize the risk to future military operations while protecting national security. Spectrum sharing in both the public and private sector can be accomplished effectively and affordably if appropriately planned. - Specific Country Challenges Paraguay Paraguay's May 1998 presidential election will represent that nation's first democratic transition from one civilian president to another in 50 years. However, the election is threatened by a weak process. General Oviedo's influence further complicates the issue. In April 1996, then Army Commander General Oviedo challenged President Wasmosy's control of the military by initially refusing to obey a presidential order to retire. Although currently under house arrest, General Oviedo enjoys strong public support and is the presidential nominee of the Colorado Party that has dominated Paraguayan politics for the past 50 years. Paradoxically, he could be the next constitutionally elected President. our concerns in Paraguay center on persistent indications that some national leaders, to include the military, might consider extra-constitutional measures to block General Oviedo's candidacy thereby undermining the integrity of the nation and its democratic processes. Haiti Political adversities in Haiti have hindered progress toward achieving a self-sustaining democratic process that is capable of advancing political and economic reforms. President has assigned SOUTHCOM the mission of maintaining a periodic exercise presence. U.S. Support Group, Haiti, will remain in country to provide command, control and logistical support to U.S. forces conducting port calls and exercises. The Support Group has no security mission beyond force protection. In FY98, six schools will be built or renovated, five wells will be drilled and 130 separate medical site visits will be conducted. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard will conduct nine port- calls each involving a civic assistance project in Port Au Prince. Construction of the maritime operational facility in Jacmel will commence in mid-summer 199g. This project will enhance the u-S- and Haitian Coast Guard's ability to combat the illegal flow of drugs from South America into Haiti. We have aggressively sought to cut costs for Haiti operations. Our initial cost savings measure reduced the U.S. military footprint in Haiti through a reduction in the Support Group staff. Other reductions will be implemented in the 3 d quarter of FY98, without sacrificing our program of activities. SOUTHCOM is committed to supporting interagency efforts that nurture the democratic process. Ministerial Advisory Teams, attached to the U.S. Embassy, provide advice and assistance at the highest levels of the Haitian government on issues such as prisoner registry, enforcing customs laws and contraband control. U.S. military forces provide a visible and stabilizing presence, while periodic exercises are focused on Humanitarian and Civic Assistance and Humanitarian Assistance projects that enhance the Haitian quality of life. Colombia Colombia continues to be a troubled state plagued by violent insurgencies, paramilitary forces, and drug trafficking. While most of the region's insurgents have disappeared due to a lack of international sponsorship, two groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), survive. Both use narcotrafficking, kidnapping and extortion to bankroll their operations. Their existence seriously jeopardizes peace and economic progress. Insurgents and rogue paramilitary forces continue to violate the rights of innocent citizens. The FARC and ELN are not only dangers to Colombia, they also threaten bordering countries. To combat these insurgents, regional police and military forces must increase coordination and cooperation. The Colombian Army is currently on the defensive. As part of a comprehensive approach to both the narcotrafficking and insurgency problems, our engagement with the Colombian military will address deficiencies that Colombian security forces have shown in performing their counternarcotics mission. SOUTHCOM just concluded a very successful Andean Ridge Chiefs of Mission Conference in which Andean Ridge Ambassadors, DOS, NSA, JS, DOD, CIA and DIA reviewed Colombia's instability and its effect on the region. Discussions were fruitful reaching consensus on a wide range of issues including developing initiatives for a regional approach, promoting European involvement, and increasing engagement opportunities. STRATEGY - Vision SOUTHCOM's vision is a community of stable, democratic nations with professional, modernized, interoperable security forces that embrace democratic principles and human rights, that are subordinate to civil authority, and are capable and supportive of multilateral responses to regional challenges. Success in our theater requires a balanced approach to conducting regional engagement and counterdrug operations. A strategic link exists in varying degrees between these two missions in each country in our region. We seek to establish the correct balance between these missions in each country to meet that country's specific requirements. Our strategy requires a well thought out and carefully crafted theater architecture to ensure that our numerically small forces are positioned in a way that will enable them to engage continuously and conduct efficient and cost- effective regional engagement and counterdrug operations. SOUTHCOM must prepare now. The command will continue to leverage efficiencies by capitalizing on emerging technologies and revolutions in business and military affairs. However, as we integrate the concepts of Joint Vision 2010, the command must be vigilant to maintain interoperability with legacy systems employed by regional security forces. Therefore, SOUTHCOM must assist in modernizing and improving the interoperability of regional security forces. As we prepare to meet future challenges, special emphasis must be given to consequence management and the activities that must be accomplished following crisis termination. Throughout this process, force protection and quality of life of the force will be emphasized and sustained. Refined and coordinated country-specific force protection programs, coupled with enhanced threat acquisition, analysis and capabilities, will reduce the vulnerability of our personnel and facilities while advancing mission accomplishment. - Theater Architecture & Forward Presence Central to the effective execution of our mission is a properly structured theater architecture and an appropriate level and balance of forward military presence. These essential elements support theater engagement activities, counternarcotics operations, and will allow a rapid response to theater crises. The infrastructure in Panama provides a secure gateway to South America. While we hope negotiations with Panama for the establishment of a regional Multinational Counternarcotics Center (MCC) will come to a successful conclusion soon, the outcome of negotiations is uncertain. Soto Cano Air Base in Honduras continues to be an effective and efficient anchor point to support operations and exercises in Central America. Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, will grow to serve as the gateway to support theater engagement and counternarcotics operations in the Caribbean. In a region where the army historically dominates military forces, our partners view the relocation of United States Army South (USARSO) to Puerto Rico as an important signal of our continued commitment to them and to their security needs. Manned by soldiers who possess long-term experience and sensitivity to regional issues and cultures, USARSO is expert at shaping regional militaries, responding to regional crises and supporting our regional partners' preparations for an uncertain future. The relocation to Puerto Rico will permit us to capitalize on an existing, robust partnership and achieve the full and complementary integration of USARSO and Puerto Rican National Guard and Reserve components, thereby fully exploiting the unique capabilities of the Total Force. To further enhance SOUTHCOM's naval activities in regional engagement, I urge U.S. ratification of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (LOS). The Convention embodies the concept of the rule of law with regard to the use of the world's oceans and is consistent with U.S. national interests. The freedom of navigation and over-flight rights reflected in the Convention are of utmost importance to maintain operational flexibility of U.S. forces to protect U.S. vital interests. In the SOUTHCOM AOR there are several nations with excessive maritime claims or restrictions inconsistent with the Convention. The U.S. is engaged in diplomatic and operational initiatives to encourage these nations to conform their maritime claims to the provisions contained in the Convention. As non-Parties to the Convention, the authoritative weight of U.S. efforts is diminished. By joining the other 120 nations, which are Parties to the Convention, the U.S. will be better postured to further U.S. interests in the hemisphere. CONCLUSION Looking to the future, the United States Southern Command faces an intriguing mixture of challenges and opportunities. By and large this is a "good news" theater. . . nowhere have the objectives of our national strategy of engagement and enlargement been more widely achieved. This is also an economy of force theater, and it is our intention to keep it so. We do not need armor brigades, carrier battle groups, fighter wings, or Marine Expeditionary Forces. Rather, as asserted in the body of this posture statement, we simply need modest numbers of the right kinds of troops, with the right skills, performing the right missions, in the right places, at the right times. This is not a theater built on treaties, formal alliances, standard written agreements, or protocols. Instead, it is a theater and a region that runs on handshakes and personal relationships. An indispensable ingredient for our future success will be an adequate theater architecture. In very simple terms, our interests in Latin America cannot be superintended from North America. We must maintain a compact but visible presence in the region. I consider it imperative that when United States Army South leaves Panama, as it must under the terms of the Canal Treaties, that it relocate to Fort Buchanan in Puerto Rico. There, our active component planners and programmers can join forces with nearly 15,000 aggressive, hard-charging, bilingual Guardsmen and reservists. The result will be a unique total force team, focused on the region and sensitive to its cultures. With the SOUTHCOM Headquarters at the strategic hub in Miami, USARSO in Puerto Rico, Joint Task Force Bravo minding the store in Central America from Soto Cano, and with JIATF South as the United States element of a Multinational Counterdrug Center, in Panama or elsewhere, we will be well-postured to execute our theater strategy and prosecute the war on drugs as we enter the third millennium.