By Dialogo July 25, 2012 Good morning. Doubtless the scourge of drug trafficking is a great threat, because of its high capacity of corruption and extreme violence, so such multilateral events are important in order that the affected States to exchange impressions, forms, policies and strategies for combating the threat. Senior military leaders from 11 nations in the Americas are meeting for three days in Bogotá, Colombia, at the 4th Annual South American Defense Chiefs Conference (SOUTHDEC) to discuss the transformation of the armed forces to face new threats, such as cyberwar and energy security. The event is co-hosted by the Colombian Armed Forces and the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), and provides an executive-level forum for security leaders in the region to meet and discuss their ability to look to the future to and figure out how to adapt to face these threats. General Alejandro Navas Ramos, Commanding General of the Colombian Military opened the event saying, “those discussions are very important to strengthen the resources and measures of each country to combat this international cancer which drugs represent. It is paramount that we exchange strategies to adjust our plans in order to face these and other threats, common to all of our nations.” Throughout the duration of the conference, which extends from July 24-26, security leaders from Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, the United States and Uruguay, and representatives from international heavy-hitting organizations related to security, such as the Inter-American Defense Board and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies meet face to face to debate how the region’s military can improve their joint capabilities as a whole. “This is my 4th South American Conference as the Commander of the U.S. Southern Command, and I always look forward to the opportunity to spend time with all of you because of the insights and capabilities that you provide me,” said General Douglas Fraser, Commander of SOUTHCOM, during his opening remarks. “We face an array of non-traditional security challenges, but there are also emerging opportunities presented by those challenges, which are complex, and they are evolving in their complexity, especially because of the advent globalization, which means small operations can have a much larger impact.” Day three of the conference will include bilateral meetings between conference participants focused on mutually agreed topics and areas of interest, and there’s no word yet of where next year’s SOUTHDEC will take place.