JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —
Collaboration was the word of the week at the 2016 Regional Border Commanders Conference as military and law enforcement leaders from Mexico and the United States met at U.S. Army North headquarters at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Nov. 29 through Dec. 1 to discuss how to better address issues along their borders.
Delegates from the Mexican Secretariat of National Defense, or SEDENA, attended and exchanged information with their American counterparts, mostly officers from U.S. Army North, which hosted the event.
“We at Army North have a strong relationship with SEDENA,” said Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Buchanan, U.S. Army North (Fifth Army) commanding general during one of the presentations. “How can we get the best effect of all of our organizations on both sides of the border to enhance security for both Mexico and the United States?”
Answering that question, in essence, was the primary goal of the conference.
Both groups shared personal experiences that encouraged discussions of opportunities of how to better plan and execute joint operations, including improved and constantly evolving means of communications.
Throughout the conference, there were discussions of operational lessons learned and suggestions of how to bolster cross-border communications that could enhance international collaboration. The conference also covered training exercises in preparation for potential natural and man-made disasters along the border region.
“One of the things I’m going to put as a requirement on my team is before we leave today I want to have a list of things that we need to work on,” Buchanan said. “And at least the outline of a plan of how we’re going to work on it. I want to figure out what our friction points are so that we can work together more effectively in a true partnership.”