U.S. Southern Command leader and U.S. Navy Adm. Kurt Tidd has outlined the security challenges posed by illicit networks in Latin America and the Caribbean, DoD News reported Thursday.
Cheryl Pellerin writes criminals and terrorists use illicit networks for smuggling drugs, wildlife, bulk cash, weapons, people, illegal logging and mining activities to raise money.
The report said the U.S. military collaborates with its partners such as other federal agencies and allies, diplomatic, law enforcement, and intelligence organizations to detect, illuminate and disrupt networks.
“The disruption piece is almost always going to be by partner-nation law enforcement organizations, or by partner-nation military organizations, so that drives a lot of our activities where we work closely to build their capacity to deal with these networks,” said Tidd.
Southcom deploys more than 7,000 service members in the region weekly to support the cooperation of 45 nations and territories of Central and South America and the Caribbean Sea, the report added.
Pellerin also noted that Southcom supports national and multinational efforts to address Zika virus through research on the transmission vectors, assistance on eradication efforts and supporting the international medical research effort to develop a vaccine.