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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 607-96
October 25, 1996

U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR CARIBBEAN AREA

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.