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IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Release No: 036-99
January 29, 1999

RELOCATION OF U.S. SPECIAL OPERATIONS COMMAND - SOUTH

The United States Special Operations Command-South (SOCSOUTH) will relocate its headquarters from East Corozal, Panama, to U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, beginning this summer.

This action is in compliance with the 1977 Panama Canal Treaty that mandates the departure of all U.S. military forces from Panama by Dec. 31, 1999. The SOCSOUTH move will involve the relocation of approximately 309 military and civilian personnel, and is expected to be completed by June 1999.

SOCSOUTH is a subordinate command of the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM). It provides operational control for all special operations forces within USSOUTHCOM's area of responsibility. SOCSOUTH is involved in developing military-to-military relations through exchanges and exercises, and it provides some specialized training to allied nation forces such as peacekeeping and demining. It also plays a critical training and operations support role for the cooperative regional counterdrug effort.

U.S. Naval Station Roosevelt Roads is a subordinate installation of U.S. Atlantic Fleet. It is an established base with the fundamental infrastructure and quality of life support systems necessary to accommodate the addition of SOCSOUTH.

The relocation of SOCSOUTH to Roosevelt Roads reaffirms continuing U.S. interest and USSOUTHCOM commitment to the region. Stationing SOCSOUTH in Puerto Rico will ensure that special operations forces remain forward deployed in the USSOUTHCOM area of responsibility to facilitate constructive engagement with other national military forces in the region, and allow rapid responses to contingencies throughout the theater.