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NEWS | March 28, 2018

Army South, Central American militaries work to improve regional security

By Sgt. Summer Woode U.S. Army South Public Affairs

Intelligence and operations leaders representing five countries spent three days implementing the informal U.S. Army South motto “Together We Can,” during the Central American, or CENTAM, Regional Working Group, at ARSOUTH headquarters on Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston March 20-22.

Partner nations Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, along with representatives from the CENTAM Security Cooperation Office, participated in the conference that is known as the premier engagement between
ARSOUTH staff and CENTAM partner nations’ senior intelligence and operations officers. Personnel from both Army and security forces attended the event that ARSOUTH commanding general, Maj. Gen. Mark Stammer, considers a new beginning.

“Today we open a new chapter as we, together, identify the threats that affect our nations; and together, we’ll develop possible solutions that benefit us all,” Stammer said.

Conducted in English and Spanish, the conference was designed to increase regional cooperation among partner nations and identify how each can assist in enhancing overall capabilities in the region. Topics discussed included interoperability, human rights and common threats faced throughout the region.

“I look forward to improving our understanding of our challenges,” Stammer said.

Understanding was also on the mind of Costa Rican Border Police officer Maj. Gerald Camacho. His native country does not have an army and relies heavily on their Coast Guard and Border Police. He spoke about the challenges he faces not being a part of a military army.

“In the past, there was confusion on how to transmit information to the countries that do not have a G2 (intelligence) section,” Camacho said. “I think now, at this conference, the other Central American countries are understanding that it doesn’t matter if you’re in the army or in the police, we can share information that combats the same threats.”

Each attendee contributed to the success of the conference and engaged in a constructive exchange of ideas and sharing of knowledge.

“I think we are working in the right direction,” Camacho said. “The most important attribute here is trust. It is fundamental; there is trust in every country.”

Stammer commented that working together toward common goals, by capitalizing on each country’s individual strengths is an effective way to meet today’s challenges.

“We have to work together to meet our common objective: to protect and defend our constitutions, our countries and our people,” Stammer said.