Éditoriaux Défense Sécurité Terrorisme Zones de conflits Logistique Livres de référence Liens
Terre Air Mer Gendarmerie Renseignement Infoguerre Cyber Recherche

More Ships Equal More Drugs Seized

More Ships Equal More Drugs Seized, Southcom Commander Says

By Claudette Roulo, American Forces Press Service.

Washington D.C. – (AFPS) – March 13, 2014 – Though drug interdiction looms large among U.S. Southern Command’s responsibilities, it isn’t the only national security role filled by the command, the Southcom commander said today during a media briefing at the Pentagon

“[It's] a big part of what I do,” Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly said, “but it's one of the three things I do the most.”

Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, discusses the latest developments in his command's efforts to stem the flow of drugs from South and Central America at a Pentagon media briefing, March 13, 2014.

DOD photo by Glenn Fawcett

Engagement with the countries in Latin America and the Caribbean and running the Guantanamo naval base and prison in Cuba are Kelly’s other major duties, he said. But the amount of engagement Southcom can conduct has recently declined due to limited assets, the general added. “[Combatant commands] get what the services can give us, … so if the services are hurting -- which they are -- for assets, then I'm hurting,” Kelly said.

In testimony earlier today to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Kelly said the lack of assets means he is forced to watch 72 percent of suspected drug traffic sail freely through his area of responsibility. The situation is unlikely to change in the near future, he added. “Of the five overseas combatant commands, I am certainly the least priority, and have been for some time, for a lot of different reasons,” the general explained, because with a finite amount of available assets, the Defense Department has to prioritize.

“That's just the way it is,” he said. “However, without assets, certain things will happen. Much larger amounts of drugs will flow up from Latin America. We'll do less and less engagement with our friends and partners in the region.”

Most of the countries in the region want to partner with the United States, the general said, and don't ask for very much in return other than advice -- from technicians, medical and dental professionals and veterinarians, for example. “And I can tell you, the engagements for me, they're very, very valuable,” he said.

Military-to-military engagement is a small part of the exchange, Kelly said, but “the overwhelming number of the engagements are … not focused on a kinetic kind of threat, but simply on how to make them a better military.”

Kelly estimates that he needs 16 vessels capable of transporting a helicopter to fulfill a mandate by President Barack Obama to reduce by 40 percent the amount of drug traffic flowing into the United States from Latin America. Working with an interagency group of partners that includes the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Agency, the departments of State, Commerce and Treasury, and international partners, Southcom detects and monitors the movement of narcotics traffic. “We do that superbly. I have very, very good clarity on the flow of drugs as it comes out of Latin America [and] Central America. The end game part of that is a law enforcement end game,” the general said. Frequently, the interdiction team may launch from a U.S. military helicopter or ship, but the teams themselves are Coast Guardsmen or federal agents, he explained.

Locally, the governments of Colombia, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador have been “unbelievable partners,” Kelly said. In Colombia alone, more than 200 tons of cocaine are destroyed before ever leaving the country, the general noted.

Canada, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and France are providing assistance in the form of vessels and aircraft, he said. Last year, a Dutch oiler served as a platform to launch interdictions via helicopter, Kelly said.

“So as I said, I don't need a warship. I need a ship, something that floats, with a helicopter. … We think it takes 16 of those things to accomplish the 40-percent mission,” Kelly told reporters.

Last year, Southcom and its partners seized 132 tons of cocaine on the high seas, Kelly said. “That was done by, on average, having three, three and a half, maybe, ships on station day-to-day -- different ships, not always the same ship, but three ships, 132 tons,” he added. “The year before that, we took 153 or 154 tons. Why less this year than last year? Less assets. It's almost a scientific equation: more assets, more tonnage.”

Kelly said he estimates that each ship in his command stops an average of about 20 tons of narcotics yearly, despite spending just 1.5 percent of the entire U.S. government's counternarcotics budget. “And I get the overwhelming tonnage,” the general said.

(Follow Claudette Roulo on Twitter @rouloafps) : Contact Author

Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly

Related Sites:
U.S. Southern Command
Special Report: U.S. Southern Command

Derniers articles

Verdun 2016 : La légende de la « tranchée des baïonnettes »
Eyes in the Dark: Navy Dive Helmet Display Emerges as Game-Changer
OIR Official: Captured Info Describes ISIL Operations in Manbij
Cyber, Space, Middle East Join Nuclear Triad Topics at Deterrence Meeting
Carter Opens Second DoD Innovation Hub in Boston
Triomphe de St-Cyr : le Vietnam sur les rangs
Dwight D. Eisenhower Conducts First OIR Missions from Arabian Gulf
L’amiral Prazuck prend la manœuvre de la Marine
Airmen Practice Rescuing Downed Pilots in Pacific Thunder 16-2
On ne lutte pas contre les moustiques avec une Kalachnikov...
Enemy Mine: Underwater Drones Hunt Buried Targets, Save Lives
Daesh Publications Are Translated Into Eleven Languages
Opération Chammal : 10 000 heures de vol en opération pour les Mirage 2000 basés en Jordanie
Le Drian : Daech : une réponse à plusieurs niveaux
Carter: Defense Ministers Agree on Next Steps in Counter-ISIL Fight
Carter Convenes Counter-ISIL Coalition Meeting at Andrews
Carter Welcomes France’s Increased Counter-ISIL Support
100-Plus Aircraft Fly in for Exercise Red Flag 16-3
Growlers Soar With B-1s Around Ellsworth AFB
A-10s Deploy to Slovakia for Cross-Border Training
We Don’t Fight Against Mosquitoes With a Kalashnikov
Bug-Hunting Computers to Compete in DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge
Chiefs of US and Chinese Navies Agree on Need for Cooperation
DoD Cyber Strategy Defines How Officials Discern Cyber Incidents from Armed Attacks
Vice Adm. Tighe Takes Charge of Information Warfare, Naval Intelligence
Truman Strike Group Completes Eight-Month Deployment
KC-46 Completes Milestone by Refueling Fighter Jet, Cargo Plane
Air Dominance and the Critical Role of Fifth Generation Fighters
Une nation est une âme
The Challenges of Ungoverned Spaces
Carter Salutes Iraqi Forces, Announces 560 U.S. Troops to Deploy to Iraq
Obama: U.S. Commitment to European Security is Unwavering in Pivotal Time for NATO
International Court to Decide Sovereignty Issue in South China Sea
La SPA 75 est centenaire !
U.S. to Deploy THAAD Missile Battery to South Korea
Maintien en condition des matériels : reprendre l’initiative
La veste « léopard », premier uniforme militaire de camouflage
Océan Indien 2016 : Opérations & Coopération
Truman Transits Strait of Gibraltar
Navy Unveils National Museum of the American Sailor
New Navy, Old Tar
Marcel Dassault parrain de la nouvelle promotion d’officiers de l’École de l’Air
RIMPAC 2016 : Ravitaillement à la mer pour le Prairial avant l’arrivée à Hawaii
Bataille de la Somme, l’oubliée
U.S., Iceland Sign Security Cooperation Agreement
Cléopatra : la frégate Jean Bart entre dans l’histoire du BPC Gamal Abdel Nasser
Surveiller l’espace maritime français aussi par satellite
America's Navy-Marine Corps Team Fuse for RIMPAC 2016
Stratégie France : Plaidoyer pour une véritable coopération franco-allemande
La lumière du Droit rayonne au bout du chemin

Directeur de la publication : Joël-François Dumont
Comité de rédaction : Jacques de Lestapis, Hugues Dumont, François de Vries (Bruxelles), Hans-Ulrich Helfer (Suisse), Michael Hellerforth (Allemagne).
Comité militaire : VAE Guy Labouérie (†), GAA François Mermet (2S), CF Patrice Théry (Asie).