On September 7-9, 2016, the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies and Costa Rica’s Ministry of Public Security convened over 100 senior defense and security professionals from 12 countries (Belize, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, and the U.S.) for a “Central American Regional Countering Transnational Threats Seminar” in San José, Costa Rica. Through a series of expert lectures and interactive sessions, seminar participants examined threats posed to citizen security by international terrorism, illicit trafficking, transnational organized crime, cybersecurity and emerging technologies and discussed strategies and policies to counter these threats in the Americas.
Costa Rican Minister of Public Security and Government Luis Gustavo Mata, U.S. Southern Command Deputy Military Commander LTG Joseph DiSalvo and Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats Caryn Hollis were the keynote speakers of the seminar. They described the evolving threats from illicit networks to the Western Hemisphere that included diversified drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal mining, money laundering, and cybersecurity and the scourge of corruption and impunity that empower terrorism and transnational crime. They underscored the need for even more interagency and international cooperation to better understand, identify and counter transnational threats in the Americas; they hoped that the relationships developed among seminar participants would promote more information-sharing and joint operations against transnational organized crime on the bilateral, regional and international levels. Other senior leaders participating in the regional seminar included Guatemalan Vice Minister of Defense General Mynor Mus Tujab and Commander Belize Defence Force Brigadier General David Jones.
Panel discussions addressed country perspectives on terrorism and transnational crime, the role of the military and police in countering transnational threats, interagency and international collaboration in hemispheric security, citizen security in the Northern Triangle of Central America, and threats from emerging technologies and cyberspace. Over a lunch session, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Hollis had the opportunity to discuss women in peace and security issues with the female participants of the seminar.