Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, says partnerships with Central American nations are key to resolving the issues of drug and human trafficking in the region as part of a Military Times guest column published Tuesday.
Gen. Kelly writes drug cartels and other illegal activities in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala “have left near-broken societies in their wake” and have led to the collapse of human rights and law enforcement institutions in those countries.
“SOUTHCOM’s efforts in the region are in large part focused on stemming the flow of illegal narcotics,” according to Gen. Kelly.
Kelly said the Joint Interagency Task Force South oversees that effort by integrating intelligence into drug detection and monitoring operations.
“Unfortunately, over the next few years we will see fewer and fewer assets to detect, monitor and interdict, and the very same reality confronts our Canadian and European allies,” according to Kelly.
“The complex challenges facing Central America cannot be resolved by military means alone, but without appropriate application of U.S. military support it will remain fertile ground for every threat to regional security and stability,” he added.
Gen. Kelly calls for a balance in “prosperity, governance, security and funding” that involves every federal agency going forward.