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Release No: 161-95
March 31, 1995


The President announced today that the Department of Defense has selected South Dade County, Miami, as the future location for the headquarters of the United States Southern Command. The Miami area was selected following an extensive and comprehensive review process which considered more than 100 potential sites in the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico. While final site selection is pending completion, a leading candidate is the U.S. Coast Guard facility at Richmond Heights in South Dade County. "Given the quality of our candidate sites, this was a very difficult decision," said Deputy Secretary of Defense John M. Deutch, "We chose the city that we believe will allow Southern Command to accomplish its mission and provide a good quality of life for its personnel at reasonable cost to the American taxpayer."

Under provisions outlined in the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977, United States military forces must be withdrawn from Panama by December 31, 1999. Southern Command will move its headquarters to Miami in the summer of 1998.

U.S. Southern Command, commanded by Gen. Barry McCaffrey, is currently located in Quarry Heights (near Panama City) Panama. The joint-service headquarters consists of about 700 Department of Defense civilians and military personnel, as well as representatives from the Department of State, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Coast Guard. The current payroll of the staff is $27 million and it is estimated that the establishment and construction of the headquarters facilities will involve expenditures of approximately $60 million.

Southern Command's area of responsibility encompasses all of Central and South America south of Mexico. Its principal missions are to assist Panama in defending the Panama Canal, remain prepared to command U.S. joint operations in the theater, and assist nations in the promotion of democracy and fostering hemispheric cooperation. The command also has significant responsibilities in support of the U.S. Drug Control Strategy and support to other Unified commands.

Several preliminary studies were conducted between 1988 and 1994 to identify potential locations for the U.S. Southern Command headquarters. The most recent study was sponsored by Southern Command and conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in the fall of 1994.

After that study was completed, Deputy Secretary of Defense John Deutch established a Selection Committee to review, expand and refine potential site options. The committee included Dr. Edward Warner, assistant secretary of Defense for Strategy and Requirements, Alice Maroni, principal deputy Comptroller, and Lt. Gen. Wesley Clark, director for Strategic Plans and Policy, the Joint Staff. Working for the Selection Committee was a small staff that included representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, U.S. Southern Command, and the Army's Treaty Implementation and Planning Agency. At the direction of the Committee, the staff conducted a detailed analysis on the three key selection criteria of mission effectiveness, quality of life, and cost. The staff also conducted a series of site visits to validate relevant data and gather more information.

Attached are two Southern Command fact sheets. OVERVIEW OF THE U.S. SOUTHERN COMMAND

The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) is responsible for all U.S. military activities on the landmass of Latin America south of Mexico. It is located in the Panama Canal Area, with its headquarters at Quarry Heights adjacent to Panama City and the Pacific entrance to the Panama Canal.

The Commander in Chief of the Southern Command is responsible for designing, coordinating, and executing military strategy to support U.S. national security objectives within Central and South America in coordination with U.S. ambassadors in country.

The Southern Command's area of responsibility encompasses 19 countries, covering about seven million square miles and stretching 7,000 miles from the Mexican-Guatemalan border to the southern tip of South America.


Headquarters, U.S. Southern Command is a joint-service headquarters with about 770 DoD civilian and military personnel representing all four services. It further includes representatives from the Department of State, Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Coast Guard, U.S. Customs Service (USCS), and other U.S. Government agencies.

SOUTHCOM has Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine components, a Special Operations sub-unified command, two subordinate joint task forces, and 16 Military Groups that enhances military contacts and provide security assistance to countries in the region. Total current permanently assigned military strength, including Headquarters SOUTHCOM, is about 8,500.

-- U.S. Army South (headquartered at Fort Clayton, Panama) with forces that include an infantry battalion, the Army's Jungle Operations Training Center, and aviation, engineer, intelligence, logistics, and military policy units.

-- U.S. Southern Air Forces (12th Air Force) at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona (and its forward element, 24th Wing, at Howard Air Force Base, Panama) is SOUTHCOM's air component.

-- U.S. Commander in Chief, Atlantic Fleet (CINCLANTFLT) at Norfolk, Virginia (and its forward element, CINCLANTFLT Detachment South at Rodman Naval Station, Panama) is SOUTHCOM's naval component. It has several small commands in Panama, have the responsibility to provide security for U.S. Naval Forces transiting the Canal, and offer temporary maintenance and refueling for U.S. and allied warships. The Navy also operates the Naval Small Craft Instruction and Technical Training School (NAVSCIATTS) at Rodman Naval Station. This school teaches riverine operations and small craft maintenance in Spanish to Latin American navies and coast guards and trains U.S. experts who deploy throughout the Americas to advise their counterparts in establishing similar programs.

-- II Marine Expeditionary Force (II MEF), located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, is SOUTHCOM's marine component, which will be represented in Panama by a planning element later in 1995. In addition, a Marine Company provides security for Rodman Naval Station and assists in the conduct of riverine training for allied forces.

-- U.S. Special Operations Command South is a sub-unified command in Panama located at Albrook Air Force Station plays a critical training and support role, particularly for Counterdrug operations.

-- Two Joint Task forces:

>> Joint Task Force-Panama-responsible since 1990 for SOUTHCOM programs designed to support democracy in the Republic of Panama. In consonance with American Embassy objectives, this task force works with the Government of Panama to identify and carry out humanitarian and civic action projects that benefit local communities as well as provide meaningful training for U.S. military personnel.

>> Joint Task Force Bravo in Honduras-This Joint Task Force is located at the Honduran Soto Cano Air Base outside of Comayagua. The unit is manned by U.S. military personnel who provide command, communications, intelligence, and logistic support for U.S. exercises and deployments for training activities in Honduras, and who operate a C-5 capable airbase.

-- U.S. Military Groups provide security assistance for 16 Central and South American countries. The Military group commander serves as the command's representative to U.S. Ambassadors, to support U.S. National security obligations in the region. The military groups manage SOUTHCOM's security assistance programs, serve as the command's liaisons to the region's militaries, and oversee all U.S. military activities and deployments in Latin America.


The mission of the Southern Command is to support U.S. national security policies by:

- Being prepared to command U.S. Naval, Air and Ground Force operations:

- Implementing the Panama Canal Treaties with the Government of Panama, keeping the Panama Canal open and neutral; and

- Assisting nations to sustain democracy, promote human rights and create regional security cooperation.


The Southern Command's theater strategy, derived directly from the President's National Security Strategy is based on ensuring regional security and stability. It is focused on the following objectives:

- Command: Maintain capability to provide strategic and operational direction to naval, air, and ground elements of the U.S. Armed Forces;

- Military to Military Contacts: Strengthen professional relationships with host nation armed forces to develop cooperative military structures and doctrine:

- Counterdrug Efforts: Provide military support to U.S. lead agencies and host nation allies:

- Humanitarian Aid: Provide U.S. military support to disasters in the region when requested by U.S. ambassadors;

- Support Democracies: Promote peace and stability and provide military support;

- Quality of Life: Maintain a high quality of life for U.S. forces and their families throughout the theater.


The Southern Command--with a total current permanent strength of about of about 8,500 military personnel--relies on augmenting forces from the United States to accomplish most of its tasks in Latin America. SOUTHCOM is proud of its extensive use of more than 50,000 temporarily deployed Reserve Component Army and Air National Guard, and Army, Air Force, and Navy Reserve forces. These are deployed throughout the region, primarily for nation assistance and civic action exercises. Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed exercises, deployments for training and operational mission support (in fiscal year 1994, more than 55,000 military personnel--42 percent from the Reserve Component--deployed to 18 countries in the theater, in support of 4,063 deployments, of which more than 1,000 were separate training support deployments, such as engineering and medical exercises, joint/combined exercises, and deployments for training (DFTs), and on about 2,900 operational support missions, such as joint planning assistance teams, manning ground-based radars, and mobile training teams).

While not the lead agency in the U.S. agency counterdrug effort in Latin America, SOUTHCOM assists its interagency partners, including the DEA, the Department of Justice and the U.S. Customs Service, as well as our regional allies, SOUTHCOM receives only about 1% of the total federal counterdrug budget (!53 million out of 13 billion) to support the counterdrug efforts of other U.S. agencies and committed host nations, which is approximately 22% of the DoD drug funds.


In compliance with the U.S. Government's commitment to the Panama Canal Treaty of 1977, the Southern Command is carrying out the Department of Defense's Panama Canal Treaty Implementation Plan, which calls for a phased withdrawal of the approximately 8,500 U.S. military personnel currently assigned in Panama. In addition, we will transfer for the Government of Panama all U.S. military controlled installations, facilities, and lands by the end of the 1999.

Since implementation of the Treaty in October 1979, 420 buildings and some 16,000 acres of land had been transferred to the government of Panama. In the remaining five years of the 20-year transition period, approximately 5,000 buildings and 77,000 acres must be transferred to Panama and U.S. forces drawn down to zero by December 31, 1999. In 1995, all military facilities on the Atlantic side of the isthmus will be transferred to Panama, except for the Jungle Operations Training Center at Fort Sherman and a communications site at Galeta Island.

Major drawdown of U.S. forces began in 1994 with the inactivation of U.S. Army South's 193d infantry Brigade (Light). In the next three years about 3,000 more troops and 5,000 family members will depart Panama as part of the continuing drawdown. By the end of the 1995, troop strength will be about 7,500; By 1998, it will be approximately 5,600--a reduction of almost 50 percent since 1992. Remaining U.S. military forces in Panama will be consolidated in a few Pacific side installations.

As part of the withdrawal from Panama, SOUTHCOM Headquarters is expected to relocate from Panama in 1998.


1988 - An analysis of relocating U.S. Southern Command was conducted by Mobile District Office, Army Corps of Engineers. No final report was released but seven sites were identified for further study.

1991 - A relocation study was conducted by DoD's Panama Canal Treaty Implementation Plan Agency (TIPA). Although the study made a recommendation on a new site for USSOUTHCOM, a final site selection was deferred by then Secretary of Defense Cheney.

September 1994 - A new relocation study was completed by USSOUTHCOM and submitted to DoD for review. The study focused on the criteria of mission and quality of life and did not look at cost issues. It concluded that four sites at two locations best fulfilled these criteria: Naval Station Roosevelt Roads & San Juan in Puerto Rico; and Miami & Homestead Air Reserve Station in the Miami, Florida, area. It also recommended that cost analyses of these sites be conducted.

October - November 94 - At the direction of the Deputy Secretary of Defense, an initial review of the SOUTHCOM study was undertaken by senior officials in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy. They modified the screening process to expand the number of sites to be examined.

19 December 1994 - The Deputy Secretary of Defense directed the creation of a small Selection Committee, including the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Requirements, the Principal Deputy Comptroller and the Director for Strategic Plans and Policy, the Joint Staff. The Selection Committee was charged with establishing a comprehensive process employing an explicit and appropriate set of criteria and cost analysis techniques to provide a well-reasoned recommendation to the Secretary of Defense on where to relocate USSOUTHCOM headquarters.

December 1994 - February 1995 - The Selection Committee and its staff conducted a careful and thorough review of USSOUTHCOM's September 1994 study and expanded the analysis through additional evaluation of SOUTHCOM's mission requirements and quality of life issues. It also conducted a detailed analysis of relocation costs and communications requirements.

January - February 1995 - The Committee's staff undertook a series of visits to a number of relocation candidate sites: Atlanta, Miami, New Orleans, San Juan and Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. It also continued to further refine its qualitative and cost analyses.

March 1995 - The Selection Committee briefed the Deputy Secretary of Defense on its findings and conclusions.

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