U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) 7th Special Forces Group is training the Special Counterterrorism Command Unit (UCT) of the Dominican Republic’s Ministry of Defense (MIDE), the MIDE said in a statement.
The objective of the training is to “raise the level of readiness and response of its members to any crisis,” the statement said. The training, usually carried out twice a year, began on March 26, 2022 and will last for 40 days.
Participants train in facilities such as the 16 de Agosto Military Camp, of the First Army Brigade, in the province of Monte Plata; and the Las Calderas Naval Base, in the province of Peravia.
Service members receive training in explosives handling, target shooting, weapons transition, frontal and lateral shooting on the move, close combat, precision shooting, and night shooting, among others.
The UCT-MIDE is in charge of training service members capable of carrying out high impact tactics and operations against organizations or individuals engaging in terrorist activities, Dominican Army Lieutenant Colonel Melvin René Jiménez, who heads the Counterterrorism Unit, told Las Fuerzas Armadas radio station on March 3.
Lt. Col. Jiménez said that the squadron’s training is based on tactics and impact operations at the strategic level. As such, service members train in disciplines to form snipers and experts in airborne assault, for protection and intelligence services.
During military training, service members not only develop tactical skills and physical endurance, but also abilities in emotional intelligence, sense of confidence, self-knowledge, and empowerment, to execute missions effectively, Lt. Col. Jiménez pointed out.
Since its February 1984 inception, the UCT-MIDE has kept up ties with instructors of SOUTHCOM’s 7th Special Forces Group, MIDE said.
The Dominican Republic has not only ratified “the great majority of [international and regional] treaties related to the crime of terrorism […]. We have also created strong cooperation ties for the exchange of information, knowledge, and training, with countries that have a wide experience in counterterrorism matters,” the Dominican Government said in an October 2019 statement before the U.N. General Assembly on the topic of international terrorism.
In this context, the U.S. plays an important role in organizing international efforts to counter global terrorism, the U.S. State Department says. It therefore works with authorities in the Dominican Republic and Central and South America to detect, disrupt, and dismantle terrorist networks.
U.S. relations with the Dominican Republic are productive and wide-ranging, the U.S. State Department says. “We pledge to continue to strengthen our robust and wide-ranging bilateral agenda geared toward tackling corruption, combating socio-economic exclusion, promoting economic prosperity, and bolstering our strategic security partnership,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said on February 27, 2022, for the Dominican Republic Independence Day.