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Building Regional Security Cooperation in the Western Hemisphere: Issues and Recommendations

Authored by Dr. Max G. Manwaring, COL Wendy Fontela, Dr. Mary Grizzard, Mr. Dennis M. Rempe.

October 01, 2003

46 Pages

Brief Synopsis

Dr. Max Manwaring and his team of conference rapporteurs have generated a substantive set of issues and recommendations. They have provided a viable means by which to begin the implementation of serious hemispheric security cooperation. Additionally, we have included U.S. Southern Command Commander General Hill's conference luncheon remarks as the Preface to our Issues and Recommendations report. The intent is to provide more context for readers who might not have attended the conference. We have also asked Ambassador Ambler Moss, the Director of the North-South Center, to expand that context with a short Afterward. This report comes at a critical juncture, a time of promise for greater economic integration between the United States and Latin America, but also a time of profound concern about the deteriorating security situation in a number of countries in the region.

Key Points

  • Generally, the conference dialogue stressed that building regional security cooperation in the Western Hemisphere is not a strictly short-term unilateral or bilateral defense effort. Regional security will result only from a long-term, cooperative, multilateral civilmilitary effort. A viable framework for success evolved from the conference presentations and related discussions that clarifies diverse issues, focuses the regional security debate, and generates a number of potential action items. The results emphasize four highly related needs and associated recommendations:

    • The need to advance hemispheric understanding of the security concerns of each country, and those that the region as a whole faces (e.g., the internal and external threat(s) to security).

    • The need to develop multilateral, civil-military structures and processes to identify and address threats in the contemporary security environment.

    • The need to foster expanded dialogue, consultations, and cooperation for building consensus principles and concepts for regional security cooperation.

    • The need to adapt U.S. military efficacy to the contemporary threat environment in the hemisphere at the strategic level.

  • Finally, these issues and associated recommendations demand a carefully staffed and phased regional security plan of action, with measurable short- and long-term objectives to validate its planning and implementation. The basic directions for a regional security plan, as identified at the Miami conference, are as follows.

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