Secretary of Defense William J. Perry has approved
implementation of Unified Command Plan Realignment Phase II,
transitioning responsibility for the Caribbean area from U.S.
Atlantic Command to U.S. Southern Command on June 1, 1997.
On June 1, U.S. Southern Command will expand its area of
responsibility to include the Caribbean Sea and its island
nations and European possessions, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin
Islands, and the Atlantic Ocean south of 28 degrees North and
west of 58 degrees West.
This order implements the changes to the Unified Command
Plan announced in February 1996, which expanded the area of
responsibility assigned to the U.S. Southern Command by adding
the waters adjoining Central and South America, and the Gulf of
Mexico. The change satisfies two objectives. The first is to
enhance Southern Command's interaction with the navies of Central
and South American nations. The second is to have one commander
control all U.S. military activities in the Caribbean basin and
Central and South America.
Phase I of the transition, which transferred responsibility
for the waters adjoining Central and South America, was
implemented on January 1, 1996.