Leveraging Science and Technology to Combat Transnational Organized Crime
By Dialogo February 22, 2012
Recognizing that countering transnational criminal organizations requires diverse and innovative solutions, representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, security officers from every service of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as academics and science and technology leaders from the United States, Central America, South America and the Caribbean gathered at US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), in Miami, to foster collaboration against a common threat.
In his opening remarks, Vice Admiral Joseph D. Kernan, SOUTHCOM Military Deputy Commander, emphasized that although the region doesn’t face conventional armed conflicts, transnational organized crime is a security threat that deserves close attention. “Keeping an eye on it is our responsibility here at SOUTHCOM, in collaboration with our partner nations, host nations and other government agencies, to make sure there is enough investment and enough eye on it so we don’t let it get out of hand”, VADM Kernan added.
During 21-22 FEB, the participants focused on understanding the capability gaps in nations throughout the region and finding ways to address those requirements for science and technology solutions. Some of the panels included in the agenda covered subjects such as energy, environmental and medical technology challenges, interagency collaboration, and the role of social media in combating drug trafficking and transnational criminal organizations.
During panel discussions and individual presentations, military and civilian representatives from the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico and Panama offered their view on the security challenges affecting their countries. “These discussions will help us understand the role that science and technology projects can play in enhancing regional security and stability”, said Juan Hurtado, head of SOUTHCOM’s Science, Technology and Experimentation Division, which organized this year’s Science, Technology & Experimentation Conference.