A native of Lima, Peru, with 26 years of military service in his country’s Army, Colonel Rubén Requena has been serving as a Partner Nations Military Advisor (PNMA) at U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) since March 2020. His work in the PNMA program strengthens relations of cooperation between Peru and regional partner nations.
SOUTHCOM’s PNMA program was created in 1998 to build mutual trust among participating countries, increase teamwork, and establish ties for the synchronization of joint operations and plans.
Diálogo: How important is it for Peru to take part in the PNMA program?
Peruvian Army Colonel Rubén Requena, Partner Nations Military Advisor at SOUTHCOM: It has always been important for the countries of the region to maintain a close and ongoing relationship with the United States, working in coordination with military forces so as to effectively and efficiently tackle transnational threats. The world is changing by the minute, and this pandemic has shown that when our home is threatened, it affects us all equally, throughout the planet, and the only way to survive these threats is to work together in a coordinated way.
Diálogo: SOUTHCOM has 11 PNMA officers. Why is it important for partner nations in the Western Hemisphere to join this program?
Col. Requena: It’s very important, because as long as we stay together, we can defeat transnational threats in a coordinated manner, and with the integration of other countries, this fight against threats will be much more efficient.
Diálogo: What are your goals as Peru’s representative at SOUTHCOM?
Col. Requena: My goal is to seek greater participation from my country’s armed forces, both in exercises and training and in military operations that SOUTHCOM conducts, in addition to increasing the presence of our forces in the Command, so that we can share our experiences in the fight against insurgency and illegal mining.
Diálogo: How has the coronavirus pandemic affected Peru, and how have the Armed Forces helped civilian authorities?
Col. Requena: The pandemic has hit Peru very aggressively, and this second wave is much more aggressive than the previous one, since the number of infections is increasing very quickly. On the other hand, the military forces, in coordination with civil authorities, have conducted a primary role in controlling the pandemic through different missions, ranging from controls in cities during curfew hours, the transport and safeguarding of vaccines, as well as strengthening borders to prevent the continued illegal entry of nationals from other countries.
Diálogo: What lessons of cooperation do you hope to take to your country when you finish your mission at SOUTHCOM?
Col. Requena: Working at SOUTHCOM is a unique experience that has allowed me to interact not only with all the U.S. military agencies, but also to learn their reality and the reality of the partner countries that have liaison officers. This daily interaction with officers from other agencies and other countries enables me to cooperate directly to accomplish the assigned missions.