Commandant meets with U.S. Southern Command Commander to discuss Western Hemisphere strategy

Coast Guard Headquarters News
U.S. Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft, and U.S. Southern Command Commander, Gen. John Kelly met at U.S. Southern Command Headquarters on Sept. 4, 2014 to discuss strategic objectives, mutual priorities and opportunities for collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The meeting centered on the synchronization of existing efforts in ensuring safety and security along U.S. and regional borders in addition to outlining new initiatives, including the U.S. Coast Guard Western Hemisphere strategy to be released in late September.

Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft (right), and U.S. Southern Command Commander, Gen. John Kelly meet at U.S. Southern Command Headquarters Sept. 4, 2014, to discuss strategic objectives, mutual priorities and opportunities for collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting centered on the synchronization of existing efforts in ensuring safety and security along U.S. and regional borders in addition to outlining new initiatives, including the U.S. Coast Guard Western Hemisphere strategy to be released in late September. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Coast Guard Commandant, Adm. Paul Zukunft (right), and U.S. Southern Command Commander, Gen. John Kelly meet at U.S. Southern Command Headquarters Sept. 4, 2014, to discuss strategic objectives, mutual priorities and opportunities for collaboration in Latin America and the Caribbean. . (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Patrick Kelley)

Dialogue focused on four key points –

  • The need for renewed effort toward safety and security in the Western Hemisphere.
  • Transnational organized crime networks create instability in Central America that undermines governance, disrupts free market societies, exhausts resources and inhibits development.
  • The Caribbean basin and eastern Pacific Ocean represent critical fronts in countering violence and emerging threats in the region. Persistent maritime presence is a crucial component in supporting effective governance and sovereignty in the region.
  • A whole-of-government approach is essential to defeat pervasive criminal networks.

Adm. Zukunft Statement:

“The wide-spread violence of criminal networks just to our south has reached epidemic levels. Their unfettered proliferation, fueled by immense profits from drug and human trafficking, and their insatiable appetite for violence, weakens governance, stymies economic growth and terrorizes citizens. Today, some of the most violent countries in the world are in our own hemisphere. Our nation saw the result of this violence firsthand as thousands of unaccompanied children arrived along our southwest border this past year. Combating these criminals requires an all-inclusive commitment of maritime, air and land-based forces. It will take a network to defeat this network.”

Gen. Kelly Statement:

“Criminal organizations engaged in trafficking threaten nations and the security of their citizens. These challenges require close cooperation among federal agencies, along with willing partners in the region, to continue the fight against illicit trafficking. These relationships not only enhance our abilities to deal with these threats to our sovereignty and security, they offer a tangible example of our willingness and commitment to work with partners in support of shared goals for peace, security and prosperity throughout the western hemisphere.”

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