Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic – The closing ceremony of CENTAM Guardian 2023 (CG23) was held at the Ministry of Defense in Santo Domingo on May 01, 2023. U.S. Army South Deputy Commanding General; Miguel A. Mendez, Deputy Chief of Mission; Mr. Alex Titolo, Minister of Defense; Lt. Gen. Carlos Luciano Diaz Morfa, Director del Centro de Operaciones de Emergencias (COE) Maj. Gen. (R) Juan M. Mendez Garcia delivered closing remarks to the participants of CG23. Emergency responders, military, and federal agencies from the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and the United States took part in an intensive training exercise to update and test policies and procedures for humanitarian assistance and Natural disaster response.
CG23 is an annual Army-led combined, joint, interagency, multi-national partnership-building exercise designed to build capacity, capabilities with Central American and Caribbean partner nations. The exercise addresses common security threats, further develops information sharing amongst the multinational coordination cell, and reinforces regional stability and interoperability with allied forces, which also results in benefits to the people of the Dominican Republic.
“The work procedures of the civil and military components were put to the test, through a national simulation exercises where situations and/or possible events that may affect the country, in order to test plans protocols, manuals and procedures” Maj. Gen. (Ret.) García continued, “and with this, identify gaps in the operational capacity of the institutions that make up the Emergency Operations Center.”
The training is part of the ongoing effort to mutually protect and preserve the region in times of natural disaster, to demonstrate America's dedication and commitment to enduring peace and stability in the shared neighborhood. The Covid-19 pandemic was the last crisis that required the same attention the CG23 exercise addresses.
“The first time I gave a speech at an event like this was in early 2021, when we were providing ventilators provided by the [U.S.] Southern Command that the Dominican Republic had requested to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic” said Mr. Titolo . “But we must never forget the experience of the Pandemic because it taught us how important it was for us to train together, exercise together and plan for emergencies that may affect our region.”
CG23 organizes a training program in the Dominican Republic inviting military advisors and federal agencies from various parts of the United States to train alongside military and interagency partners from the Dominican Republic Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador. The program aims to improve multi-domain rapid response security operations and strengthen collaboration and cooperation between military and security forces in the USSOUTHCOM Area of Responsibility (AOR) for better hemispheric security.
“Make no mistake; you’ve made a difference. Humanitarian aid will flow faster to where it’s needed, because speed matters in life-or-death operations, such as a natural disasters or unplanned contingency operations.” said Brig. Gen. Mendez. “Shaving minutes or hours off the timeline could be the difference in saving a life or mourning a death.”
During the ceremony, all participants from each country recognized for their exemplary performance and dedication during CG23. CENTAM Guardian 24 will take place in Costa Rica.
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