Active engagement with our neighbors in Central America, South America and the Caribbean contributes to regional and U.S. security. By helping strengthen partner nations’ security capabilities, the U.S. military promotes regional cooperation and enhances deterrence against transnational and other shared threats.
Within the region, we build relationships with partner nation militaries and security forces through a range of security cooperation engagements such as training exercises and educational exchanges. Many of our support activities are aligned with the U.S. government’s contributions to regional security initiatives like the Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI), the Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI), and the Colombian Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI).
Strengthening Partner Nation Security Capabilities
We seek to build the capabilities of regional militaries and security forces to confront internal challenges to stability, sovereignty, and security. We provide training and logistics support, share expertise and information and facilitate the transfer or procurement of equipment and technology.
The aim is a region where partner nations have self-sustaining capabilities to protect themselves and prevent regional instability. Major support efforts include:
Our engagement centers on space and the modernization of military capabilities.
We are supporting the development of a regional maritime interdiction strategy, as well as providing equipment and training to improve maritime and air domain awareness. See more on Secure Seas Program | Tradewinds | Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI).
We are providing training and security assistance to improve maritime, aerial, and land domain awareness capabilities, focusing on the Northern Tier countries (Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) where the threat posed by transnational criminal organizations is greatest. See more on Operation Martillo | Central American Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)
We continue to support Colombia’s military and security forces as they work to thwart narco-terrorist activity in the country. Additionally, we are supporting Colombia as they share their military expertise and capabilities with partner nations to support regional security efforts in Central America. See more on Colombian Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI)
We support planning related to counterterrorism efforts against Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path). See more on U.S.-Peru security and defense cooperation (State Department website)
Strengthening Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Capabilities
We work with partner nations to conduct low-cost humanitarian assistance programs and exercises that provide training to U.S. and partner nation personnel while providing- humanitarian services to communities throughout the region. We also work throughout the region to bolster the capabilities of our partners to prepare for and respond to natural and man-made disasters.
To help mitigate costly disaster relief operations and strengthen state presence in under-governed areas, we conduct low-cost humanitarian assistance programs and exercises that provide training to U.S. and partner nation personnel and demonstrate U.S. values to the region.
We conduct annual multinational training exercises with our partners that focus primarily on maritime interdiction, defense of the Panama Canal, and training for peace support and disaster response operations. These exercises promote regional cooperation, enhance readiness and interoperability of our hemisphere’s military forces, and encourage collective action to address shared security challenges.
Educational and professional exchange programs
Our Human Rights Initiative and International Military Education & Training are essential to developing professional armed forces throughout the Americas. The regional trend of deploying militaries in non-traditional roles like domestic security underscores the continued importance of our human rights training, including our ongoing support for Colombian military justice reform.
Programs like the Inter-American Air Force Academy, the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, the Inter-American Defense College, the U.S. Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School and the Combating Terrorism Fellowship build relationships among future senior military leaders in the region. Additionally, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies helps strengthen regional defense institutions by promoting security sector reform. These entities are all vital in assisting our partner nations develop the accountable, professional, and transparent defense institutions that are key to long-term hemispheric security.
We are also helping many partner nations as they undertake efforts to improve their defense and security sector and build strong, accountable defense institutions. Through courses, seminars and professional exchanges, we are helping partner nations build capacity to perform core ministerial functions (resource management, personnel management, budgeting), develop doctrine, improve their military legal system, and enhance ministry personnel training and development.