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Inter-American Defense College Visits SOUTHCOM

MIAMI, FL (April 30, 2008) - The Inter-American Defense College, an institution of higher learning for senior officials from around the hemisphere, visited US Southern Command headquarters in Miami, FL (USSOUTHCOM) last Wednesday.

Lt. Gen. Glenn F. Spears, USSOUTHCOM Deputy Commander, and Brig. Gen. James G. Champion, Director of Operational Plans and Joint Force Development (J7) at USSOUTHCOM, greeted the 84-member contingent, headed by IADC Director Rear Adm. Moira Flanders (USA), and IADB Chiefs of Delegation Rear Adm. Luiz Gusmão (Brazil) and Brig. Gen. Antonino Solis (Paraguay). IADC Class 47’s 54 students who hail from 16 OAS member and observer countries, as well as their advisors and support staff were also in attendance.

The IADC spent the day at the Federal Reserve Bank building, in briefings that not only expanded on SOUTHCOM as a whole but on the various SOUTHCOM sponsored programs and initiatives in South and Central America.

SOUTHCOM Commander Adm. James Stavridis’ human rights initiative, “Partnership for the Americas,” was highlighted in several of the briefings. “Partnership for the Americas” is a six-month naval deployment and human rights orientation throughout the Caribbean and Central and South America. Now in its third year, it emphasizes interoperability and cooperation through a variety of exercises and events at sea and shore between the U.S. and their partner nations’ military and civilian forces.

“Adm. Stavridis’ idea of hemispheric cooperation on security issues is new, but it is helping us promote peace in the region,” explained Class 47 student Ada Mejia (Honduras). “If we are not united, we cannot combat security threats. Honduras has had a long relationship with the US, which is why we stress and try to promote further integration. I’m glad SOUTHCOM leadership understands and supports this. I came out of these briefings with the very positive feeling that with these new initiatives we will accomplish more than we have in the past.”

“All the briefs had specific points, which converged into one single issue: the involvement of Latin American countries in security issues in coordination with SOUTHCOM,” added Colombian National Police Col. Jaime Gutierrez. “I was really impressed with their focus on narco-terrorism, because my country has suffered tremendously from this situation. But thanks to the collaboration efforts of the U.S. through SOUTHCOM, we have achieved important goals.”

The IADC, located on Fort Lesley J. McNair, is one of the foremost institutes of learning for senior-level military, police, and diplomatic officials with an interest in security and defense issues facing Latin America today. An entity of the Organization of American States, the IADC is able to offer approximately 60 students a year from member states of the OAS an unparalleled educational and research experience. Former IADC students include two presidents, 31 ministers, 539 generals or admirals and 11 other high-ranking officials.

The current IADC class was in Miami at the culmination of a 2-week academic trip, having already visited several military and civilian establishments in San Diego and San Antonio. The IADC also hosted a reception on April 30, which was attended by several SOUTHCOM senior officers.

“This has been one of the most successful visits we have had on this trip,” concluded Mejia. “Personally I feel very motivated.”