FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — United States Army South held the Joint Synchronization Symposium at Joint Base San Antonio March 28-April 1, to synchronize and expand engagements to maintain or increase the U.S. presence in the Western Hemisphere.
As the Joint Force Land Component Command for U.S. Southern Command, Army South serves as the executive planning agent for two major multinational exercises — Southern Vanguard and CENTAM Guardian. Army South also facilitates activities in the SOUTHCOM area of responsibility that support the command’s major exercises: PANAMAX, TRADEWINDS and Resolute Sentinel.
Structured around the Joint Planning Doctrine, the four-day symposium consisted of Army section chiefs, security cooperation officers and U.S. Southern Command’s component planners.
“Army Doctrine breaks up the operations process into plan, prepare, execute, and assess,” stated Col. Michael Lewczak, Army South G5 director of strategy, plans and policy. “The G5 is responsible largely for the planning portion of the operations process. This is the goal of the symposium.”
Lewczak added the symposium is the kickoff of the next planning cycle.
“Based on where the G5 is in terms of our time horizons and our responsibilities, this event is about planning, mission analysis and operational design.”
JSS participants conducted mission analysis of existing posture and capabilities to identify opportunities that SOUTHCOM can then leverage for increased integration with partner nations.
Participants also looked at reframing the problems in the AOR to better identify and address challenges the region and homeland face. They also focused on identifying opportunities that would impede or prevent malign actors from gaining influence in the region.
“While we will not be able to do all things with every partner nation, based on current resourcing, it will allow the command to effectively prioritize the key activities and capabilities that will complement and enable responses both in the region, and around the globe, when needed,” stated Lt. Col. Michael Nau, Army South G55 chief of strategic plans.
During a recent testimony, SOUTHCOM Commander Gen. Laura Richardson characterized China as a long-term competitor to the U.S. during her testimony to the Senate Armed Service Committee.
“We must use all available levers to strengthen our partnerships with the 28 like-minded democracies in this hemisphere, who understand the power of working together to counter these shared threats,” Richardson said.
As part of Army South’s mission to conduct and support multinational operations and security cooperation, these planning efforts specifically focused on developing integrated deterrence with key partners in Central and South America and the Caribbean.
“Right now we are operating off of very limited persistent presence,” Lewczak said. “We are looking to expand our presence further down into the Southern Cone episodically; not only to demonstrate interoperability and deployment readiness, but also to demonstrate commitment to our partners.”
He stressed the importance of the U.S. maintaining military relationships, and committing to its diplomatic relationships in the region.
Lewczak further explained, that having representation at the symposium from various components, like U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and Air Forces Southern, allows Army South to look at problems from a different lens.
“It is always better to get the perspective of our sister services, and understand how they look at the problem in order to make ourselves better,” Lewczak said.