MarineLink is reporting award of a potentially $72M contract to Brunswick Commercial & Government Products (BCGP).
“The single-award, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract is for both 32-foot and 37-foot Boston Whaler Justice boats and will include spare parts, maintenance and training support for The United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) area of responsibility, which includes Central America, South America and Caribbean nations…. To date, BCGP has delivered 38, 37-foot and 17, 32-foot Boston Whaler Justice boats.”
Any one know how these are being used? Gifted to our partner nations?
Defense News is reporting DOD is apparently discussing changes to its COCOM structure. One possible change is combining NORTHCOM and SOUTHCOM into a single AOR.
Since the current boundary bisects maritime smuggling routes, this change might be helpful in easing coordination of counter drug patrols and might make it easier for the resulting organization to consider alternative strategies regarding where to commit assets.
“Combining Northern and Southern commands could lead to greater resources for activities in South and Central America, which experts say has long been DoD’s most neglected region.
“Combining the regions could better address cross border issues — particularly drug trafficking — between Mexico, South America and the United States, said Bob Killebrew, a retired Army colonel and senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.
“Mexico is part of Northern Command, which also includes the contiguous United States, Alaska and Canada.
“[I]t makes … sense not to have a kind of artificial DoD boundary, not only between Mexico and Central America, but between Mexico and the American border as well,” Killebrew said.”
Eliminating or reshaping AFRICOM is also being considered.
Some interesting commentary here on the latest efforts in the drug wars. Although we seem to have made some progress on the demand side in the US, demand is up in Europe, so the corrupting influence in Latin America is as strong as ever, and the web of criminal activity has spread to Africa.
We have been at this for 40 years now. I think its time to try something different.
Doesn’t look like the Coast Guard is providing a featured speaker for this event. Trust we will have some high level representation, but it would not hurt to have some worker bees too.
Because the Coast Guard regularly operates in the waters off Latin America, and flies patrols from bases there, we probably want to pay attention to what is happening in region.
Venezuela recently broke off diplomatic relations with Columbia, after Colombian accusations that Venezuela was sheltering FARC rebels.
There was already an uproar about the recent agreement between the US and Costa Rica allowing the US military limited access to Costa Rica to refuel ships and pursue drug traffickers. There was substantial opposition within Costa Rica and much speculation from the anti-American quarters that the US would use Costa Rica as an avenue to attack Nicaragua or Venezuela.
Before that, there were accusations that the US was behind the 2009 coup in Honduras that removed a pro-Venezuelan President.
We are seeing the solidification of anti-American feeling exemplified by the emergence of the “Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America” or ALBA, which began as an economic alliance between Cuba and Venezuela and now also includes Antigua and Barbuda, Bolivia, Dominica, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Saint vincent and the Grenadines.
All the chest pounding and anger against the US and Colombia is probably more for domestic consumption than any indication of immediate intent, but we might see some of this hostility in port and sometime angry words are translated into action by young men, acting without their government’s blessing. Our people are in a potentially dangerous region where not everyone sees us as the good guys.
As they say, “Be careful out there.”