Admiral Kurt W. Tidd

The head of U.S. Southern Command says what keeps him up at night are transnational threat networks operating in South America and the Caribbean, and the increasing efforts of Russia, China and Iran to compete for influence in the region.
Drug smuggling is a front burner issue for Admiral Kurt Tidd, Commander of Southcomm, and a number of terrorist groups operate in the region, including raising funds through smuggling and other crime for their activities elsewhere.
Southcom must also respond to natural emergencies, like the volcano eruption in Guatemala, from which six badly burned children were airlifted recently by the U.S. military to a hospital in Texas.
Then there are the effects of an incompetant and imploding regime in Venezuela: hunger and despair.  Admiral Kurt Tidd says at least a million Venezuelans are now refugees in neighboring Colombia alone.
The good news is that many friendly nations in the region are more militarily capable than many in this country realize and are ready and able to support mutual goals. In particular, the Admiral told reporters at a Defense Writers Group breakfast that Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile have strong military assets and good training.
Russia is aggressively seeking military hardware sales in Latin America, Tidd says, and a number of traditional allies of the U.S. are interested because the equipment is offered at low prices. The Russians have had success recently selling additional tanks to Nicaragua and fighter aircraft to Venezuela.
“That is high performance jet aircraft for a country that cannot feed its people or provide decent medical care”, said Tidd of the Venezuelan purchase.
“You have to wonder”.

DoD News: Southern Command Chief Says South American Allies ‘Got Game’

https://www.defense.gov/News/Article/Article/1543882/southern-command-chief-says-south-american-allies-got-game/

Jane’s: US must ensure continued Panama Canal access, Adm Tidd says

http://www.janes.com/article/80718/us-must-ensure-continued-panama-canal-access-adm-tidd-says

France24: Flow of Venezuelans into Colombia impacting FARC peace process: US admiral

http://www.france24.com/en/20180607-flow-venezuelans-colombia-impacting-farc-peace-process-us-admiral

Seapower Magazine: Southern Command Mission Faces Resource Challenges, Outside Influences

http://seapowermagazine.org/stories/20180607-TIDD.html

National Defense Magazine: Russia, China Making Inroads in South America

http://www.nationaldefensemagazine.org/articles/2018/6/7/russia-china-making-inroads-in-south-america

Defense One: What an ISIS Cell in Trinidad is Teaching SOUTHCOM

https://www.realcleardefense.com/2018/06/07/what_an_isis_cell_in_trinidad_is_teaching_southcom_302477.html

Inside the Pentagon: SOUTHCOM chief positions command as artificial intelligence testbed

https://insidedefense.com/daily-news/southcom-chief-positions-command-artificial-intelligence-testbed

Defense Daily: SOUTHCOM Head Pushes Area As AI Testbed, Dealing With Russia/China Competition

http://www.defensedaily.com/southcom-head-pushes-area-ai-testbed-dealing-russiachina-competition/?_ga=2.59405357.1435050258.1528474095-1541071494.1526485557

Bloomberg News: U.S. Military Doesn’t See Role Stemming Venezuelan Refugee Flow

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-06-07/u-s-military-doesn-t-see-role-stemming-venezuelan-refugee-flow

Voice of America: US Wary as Russia, China Set Sights on South, Central Americahttps://www.voanews.com/a/us-wary-russia-china-south-central-america/4429832.html