Nominee Promises to Continue Interagency Approach at Southern Command
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jun. 2, 2009 President Obama’s nominee to lead U.S. Southern Command promised today to continue the interagency approach that has been successful in the region.
Air Force Lt. Gen. Douglas M. Fraser told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the interagency approach must be the template for Southern Command.
“As I’ve studied what Southcom is already doing, I think they already have a very robust program that lets us do that, a very interagency, very cooperative program,” Fraser said. The general is currently the deputy at U.S. Pacific Command.
If the Senate confirms Fraser as the commander of U.S. Southern Command, he would become a full general and replace Navy Adm. James Stavridis, who has been nominated to be the commander of U.S. European Command. Southern Command headquarters is in Miami.
The issues in Central and South America cannot be solved by the military alone, Fraser said. Many countries need financial, economic and governmental expertise to move ahead. The U.S. military can work with nations in the region to improve security and increase the professionalism of the militaries, but it is only part of what is needed, he said.
“It's a whole-of-government approach; it's an interagency approach; it's an international approach,” the general said.
Fraser said he sees two basic issues that U.S. Southern Command needs to work on. The first is to defend the southern approaches to the United States. “It is and will remain a key effort,” he said. The second, he said, is to develop “an international and interagency approach. The issues that are resident there require us to take that approach.”
Fraser said he is honored and humbled to be nominated by the president and the secretary of defense for the command. “I am no stranger to Latin America,” he said. “I spent three years in high school in Bogota, Colombia, graduating there in 1971. During this time, I gained a life-long appreciation and affection for Latin America.”
The general has not served in the region before, but has visited. “I will spend all my time and energy enhancing the role that United States Southern Commander plays with our partner armed forces in the region and continue Admiral Stavridis’ dedicated efforts to enhance the interagency cooperation and coordination,” he said.
“I’ve not had the pleasure of directly serving with Admiral Stavridis. As I've looked more closely at Southern Command, I’m impressed by what Southern Command has accomplished under his leadership, by his foresight and his innovation,” Fraser said. “And I look forward to the opportunity to build on his distinguished accomplishments.”