The Department of Defense today released the United States Security Strategy
for the Americas Report setting out U.S. security strategy for the Latin
American and Caribbean region. The report, announced by Assistant Secretary of
Defense for International Security Affairs, Joseph S. Nye Jr., is the fifth in
a series of regional security reports commissioned by Secretary of Defense
William J. Perry to supplement President Clinton's National Security Strategy
of Engagement and Enlargement.
The document explains the United States' growing interest in the security of
the Western Hemisphere as U.S. national interests become increasingly linked to
its neighbors. Sweeping changes spurred by democratic and market-driven
reforms have made the region "a zone of expanding opportunity." The report
describes increasing ties in trade, investment, culture and geography. These
trends have sharpened traditional U.S. national interests in stable, prosperous
and democratic neighbors.
The U.S. approach to the Americas is based on a shared commitment to democracy,
the rule of law, conflict resolution, defense transparency and mutual
cooperation. The importance of these fundamentals of "cooperative security"
was demonstrated at the Defense Ministerial of the Americas hosted by Secretary
Perry July 24-26 and has created conditions for opening new avenues for
The current environment of positive change in the hemisphere brings with it a
range of diverse security challenges such as unstable civil-military relations,
narco-trafficking and terrorism. The United States will continue to maintain a
modest military presence in the region to deal with these problems. The report
details how low-cost, military-to-military contacts will remain the primary
means to promote our strategic objectives.