If you did not see the U.S. Naval Institute presentation, “Effective Border Security:
Addressing the Causes and Root Problems South of Mexico,” when it aired live on Tuesday, 29 August, you can still watch it. The US Naval Institute News Service has both commentary and a video of the discussion here.
The discussion featured ADM Kurt W. Tidd, USN, Commander, U.S. Southern Command and The Hon. Earl Anthony Wayne, Career Ambassador (Ret.)
former Ambassador of the United States to Mexico (2011-2015) and Public Policy Fellow, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. The conversation was moderated by ADM Thad W. Allen, USCG (Ret.) former Commandant, U.S. Coast Guard (2006-2010).
It is an hour and 20 minutes. I will mention a couple of things that caught my attention.
The transnational criminal organizations are evolving. Adm. Tidd indicated that illegal gold mining, which is wrecking the environment in several Latin American countries is yielding an estimated $3.5B in profits compared to $2B (wholesale) from the sale of cocaine, and once taken outside the country is no longer “illegal.”
Heroin, primarily from Mexico, and synthetic opioids primarily from China but entering the US from Mexico are becoming more of a problem than Cocaine.
The US has finally acknowledged that we are part of the problem, that $19B to $29B profit in drug sales in the US, buys a lot of influence and arms.
SOUTHCOM is attempting to build capacity in Latin American militaries and sees developing these four principles within those services as essential.
- Respect for human rights.
- Need for professional NCOs
- Talent from all parts of society including women
- Jointness not only among the military but also law enforcement and diplomatic
Adm. Tidd both complemented the Coast Guard and noted the absence of the Navy when he said, “My Navy all has white hulls and orange stripes.”
Question at 58:15 about how we might interdict the established target of 40%. Adm. Tidd talked around the question, suggested we could get help from our allies but he also said there were not enough ships in the USN and USCG to interdict our way out of the problem, which may be true, but if we really do have good information of 80% of the traffic as has been reported repeatedly, then there are enough ships to achieve a 40% interdiction rate. It is simply not a priority. Earlier in the presentation, Admiral Tidd acknowledged that in an earlier assignment he had allocated Navy resources and had decided against assigning them to SOUTHCOM.
Opinion on the border wall 1h01m
1h07 capabilities of our allies
Positive aspects of NAFTA 1h11