Second Annual South American Defense Chiefs’ Conference Comes To a Close

By Dialogo
August 05, 2010

Leaders from U.S. Southern Command and Peru’s Joint Military Command joined security and defense leaders from eight North and South American countries as part of the 2nd Annual South American Defense Chiefs (SOUTHDEC) Conference Aug. 3 – 4.

During the event’s first day, held in Lima, Peru, Gen. Douglas Fraser, commander of U.S. Southern Command and Peruvian Army Gen. Francisco Contreras, Chief of the Peruvian Joint Staff, met with military and public-security leaders from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay to hear briefings and engage in dialogue centered on this year’s conference theme: “Military support to humanitarian assistance and disaster response.”

This year’s conference theme focused on regional cooperation in support of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief missions and served as the basis for guiding the discussions among participating senior military leaders.

Speaking to attendees at the start of the conference, Gen. Contreras highlighted the reason military forces are routinely called upon to aid citizens adversely impacted by natural disasters.

“The world’s military forces have as their principal task safeguarding human life,” he said. “This is why we in the military are willing to give our own life to save another human being.”

Topics briefed during the first day of the conference included the role of Peru’s armed forces in support of recent humanitarian assistance missions in Cusco and Puno, as well as the support provided by international military and public security forces to disaster relief operations following major earthquakes in Chile and Haiti earlier this year.

Day two of the conference included bilateral meetings between conference participants focused on mutually agreed topics and areas of interest.