By U.S. ArmyMarch 8, 2012
Ortiz spoke to the students about Army South's mission, vision and area of responsibility, which focuses on humanitarian assistance and strengthening relationships with partner nations.
Alexander Barrera, a political science and international business major at UTSA, interested in Latin America, studied abroad last summer in Argentina and found the presentation informative.
"When I found out about [this speaking engagement], it piqued my interest immediately," said Barrera. "In a sense of what you all do, I'm more informed about the area you all cover. Before today, I didn't even know there was an Army South."
U.S. Army South is the Army component command of U.S. Southern Command. SOUTHCOM's area of responsibility includes 31 nations in Central and South America, and the Caribbean which covers about 15.6 million square miles.
Army South conducts theater security cooperation in order to enhance hemispheric security and stability and on orders, conducts contingency operations as directed by SOUTHCOM. Army South works with army and security forces in its area of responsibility to build partner nation capacity by conducting various humanitarian, security, medical and engineer training exercises.
"I've seen it firsthand, the U.S. helping out," said Gina Conti, a Colombian political science and international business law major at UTSA. "I didn't know it was Army South, but I knew they were helping out with Colombia and of course the terrorism and the narcoterrorism. It was very educational."
Ortiz also spoke to the students about the future of the Army and how the force will be reduced after more than a decade of fighting two wars.
"It is how we reduce that will be critical," said Ortiz. "As we transition to a leaner more agile Army, we must do it at a pace that allows us to retain a high quality, all-volunteer force that is lethal, versatile and ready to deploy with the ability to expand as required."