Posts tagged ‘Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly’

INTERNATIONAL CRIME: Sequester Squeezes SOUTHCOM Counter Drug Effort

Organized Crime Spreads

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia — The head of U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) accepts the fact that he’ll be dealing with continued budget cuts into the forseeable future, but U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly says if he only had “13 or 14” Coast Guard or Navy vessels to station off the Pacific and Caribbean coasts of Central America, he could dramatically reduce the cocaine traffic coming into the United States.

Kelly, who took over as head of SOUTHCOM last Fall, says the key to hurting the multi-billion dollar drug trade in the Western Hemisphere is interdiction at sea — before the drugs make it ashore. At a conference on countering transnational organized crime, Kelly discussed the network running up from South America through Mexico that brings cocaine, heroin, illegal immigrants and enslaved sex workers into the United States.

He also talked about a surprising Central American ally in the war on drugs. To read more of this story go to Seapower magazine’s website.

SOUTHCOM'S area of responsibility

Click on the image to enlarge the map

April 25, 2013 at 10:21 pm Leave a comment

LATIN AMERICA: New Chief for U.S. Southern Command

Send in the Marine

Marine Corps Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly has been nominated to oversee U.S. military operations in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere – U.S. Southern Command.

Lt. Gen. John F. Kelly, USMC

Based in Miami, Florida, SOUTHCOM as it’s usually referred to, has military responsibilities for Latin America and the Caribbean Basin. Those responsibilities include organizing joint exercises with local militaries in the region as well as good will/humanitarian aid missions.

Building closer ties with partners in Latin America and Africa is expected to rise in importance in coming years as the Obama administration plans to focus most of the military’s attention on the Asia-Pacific region and the always volatile Middle East.

Kelly has been serving as senior military adviser to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta since March 2011.

Subject to Senate confirmation, Kelly will succeed Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser as head of SOUTHCOM. A promotion to full (four star) general comes with the new post as head of one of the Defense Department’s six regional combatant commands.

A Boston native, Kelly enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1970, rising to the rank of sergeant before leaving to attend the University of Massachusetts. After graduation in 1976, he received an officer’s commission. He has served as a platoon and company commander in the 2nd Marine Division and done sea duty on the aircraft carriers USS Forrestal and USS Independence, according to his official biography.

He has also commanded a light armored reconnaissance battalion in the 1st Marine Division and served as: the Marine Corps’ legislative liaison to Capitol Hill; special assistant to the Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, in Mons, Belgium; assistant commander of the 1st Marine Division; and commander of the First Marine Expeditionary Force in Iraq. A graduate of the National War College, Kelly served two tours in Iraq.

Click on the image to enlarge the map

In addition to the risks posed by violent transnational drug cartels in Mexico Colombia and a growing number of Central American countries, national security experts have worried about the possibility that international terrorists might try to develop a foothold in the remote and often lawless Triple Frontier region where the borders of Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina meet.

Top U.S. intelligence official told a Senate panel yesterday (Jan. 31) that they still have concerns about the growing influence of China and Iran in South and Central America.

February 1, 2012 at 10:45 pm 1 comment


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