On Thursday, Secretary Hagel will embark on his second trip to Latin America this year, a six-day, three-country trip that includes visits to Colombia, Chile, and Peru.
Secretary Hagel will begin his trip in Colombia, where he will meet with Colombian leaders and reinforce our close and wide-ranging defense partnership. Colombia continues to expand its role as a security exporter across the region, and Secretary Hagel will underscore the United States’ continued support for these efforts, as well as Colombia’s internal counterinsurgency operations as the government pursues a peace process. He will also seek new avenues for future security cooperation, and visit a Colombian military base to observe training for Colombian special forces and aviators.
From Colombia, Secretary Hagel will travel to Chile, another long-standing defense partner of the United States and a regional leader in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, and peacekeeping. In meetings with Chile’s leadership, the Secretary will explore ways that the United States can expand our partnership with Chile in these areas, and seek to identify new areas for cooperation in the broader Asia-Pacific region.
Finally, in Peru, Secretary Hagel will attend the 11th Conference of the Defense Ministers of the Americas (CDMA), a biennial conference that is the Western Hemisphere’s premier venue for senior leaders to discuss regional defense issues.
At the CDMA, Secretary Hagel will stress the United States’ commitment to partnerships that strengthen national defense institutions and confront hemispheric security challenges, including ungoverned spaces, organized crime, and narcotics trafficking. Addressing a major theme of this year’s conference – environmental security – the Secretary will also discuss the Defense Department’s emerging strategy for adapting to the impacts of climate change. He will describe DoD’s efforts to assess and respond to the risks climate changes poses to our military’s installations, operations, and training, and he will propose cooperation with partner nations to address these risks.
On the margins of the conference, the Secretary will also have the opportunity for bilateral meetings with leaders from Peru and other regional partners, highlighting the United States’ appreciation for the diverse contributions of partners who share a common vision for regional stability.