U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command
U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, (COMUSNAVSO) headquartered at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico is the Naval Component Commander to the U.S. Southern Command, based in Miami, Florida. It provides strategic and operational command and control for U.S. Naval Forces in South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
On 10 December 1999 the U.S. Navy established Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command, also known as NAVSOUTH, in a ceremony aboard USS Vicksburg (CG 69) inport Roosevelt Roads. The new organization is responsible for Navy operational forces in the United States Southern Command's area of responsibility (AOR). It oversees U.S. naval forces participating in drug enforcement operations and interaction with South American naval forces, including the annual UNITAS operations around South America. As the Navy's senior representative, Commander, United States Naval Forces, Southern Command (COMUSNAVSO) serves as the principal liaison with the government of Puerto Rico.
The command consolidates functions previously conducted by the recently disestablished Commander, Western Hemisphere Group, formerly in Mayport, Florida and the Commander, South Atlantic Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (COMSOLANT), formerly located at Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico. COMUSNAVSO was built around the core of COMSOLANT, that was established in June of 1958 with headquarters in Trinidad and Tobago and was moved to Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico in 1973. COMSOLANT had participated in annual "UNITAS" deployments around South America since 1960, and routinely deployed to Africa for the West African Training Cruise since 1980.
In addition to UNITAS, COMUSNAVSO participates in navy-to-navy exercises, counter drug operations, port visits, humanitarian missions, and protocol events. COMUSNAVSO exercises military command and control of all assigned ships and units, and represents the U.S. Southern Command with respect to naval matters in the region.
COMUSNAVSO conducts its basic mission -- providing strategic and operational command control of assigned U.S. Naval Operations in the Southern Command Area of responsibility which includes Central America, the Caribbean and South America.
In January 2004 The Navy decided to relocate U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (USNAVSO) from Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, to Naval Station Mayport, FL. Since the Navy must close Naval Station Roosevelt Roads by March 31, 2004, relocation of USNAVSO is a high priority.
The relocation of USNAVSO to Mayport, FL, effectively meets Navy mission requirements and will ensure Navy personnel assigned to the command continue to enjoy a high quality of life. The Navy studied a number of locations and took into account availability of existing infrastructure, communications capabilities and anti-terrorism/force protection support, amongst other factors. This relocation is scheduled to commence next month and be completed by March 2004.
Initially, Commander USNAVSO was "dual-hatted" with Commander Naval Surface Group Two, and the two staffs were consolidated. One flag officer billet will be disestablished. Naval Surface Group Two will then be disestablished, creating personnel savings and alignment efficiencies.
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