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Remarks at the JIATF-South Command Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

As Delivered by Deputy Secretary of Defense William J. Lynn, III, JIATF HQ, Monday, April 18, 2011

Thanks very much, Will. 

Admiral Lloyd, it is great to be here – frankly, great to get out of Washington and work on something other than the budget.

JIATF-South is well-known as the gold standard for interagency cooperation in law enforcement, intelligence, and defense.  Not only is this command a place where we have succeeded in bringing together the many agencies of our own government that contribute to the fight against drug trafficking.  JIATF-South also provides an important point of coordination for partner governments and militaries in the region.  The result is impressive cooperation on many fronts.

The task that JIATF-South has been saddled with is a difficult one.  But I can see the passion you have for your mission, and the results that you are generating. 

The new command center we open today will help you complete your mission, which is important as the drug threat evolves to more than just drugs.  The nature of the underlying transnational criminal organizations involved in the drug trade pose a growing but not well understood threat to the United States, and to the stability of many of the counties in the region.  This threat is something that we need to pay more attention to.  It is something that you are on the front lines of addressing.  And it is a threat your work will ultimately help curtail. 

So I want to thank you for everything that you are doing, and to celebrate this achievement with you today. 

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