Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and
Global Threats William Wechsler speaks to participants in the four-day
Illicit Commons seminar. (Courtesy photo)
WASHINGTON D.C.—About 60 senior-level government officials from Latin America, West Africa, North Africa, Europe, the U.S. and representatives of international organizations are in Washington D.C. to discuss broader challenges of the “illicit commons.”
In his opening remarks, Bellamy, director of the Africa Center, noted that the coordination of four of the five regional centers - covering Europe, the Americas, the Near East, and South and Central Asia - mirrored the need for international cooperation in countering the activities of terrorists and criminals who increasingly work together, a circumstance that he termed “complicated and demanding.”
Bellamy said he hoped this conference, which included senior officials from the Pentagon, Africa Command, Central Command, Southern Command, and more than two-dozen countries, would develop a “community of influence” that will continue to grow and to coordinate arresting the growing partnership between terrorists criminals, specifically narcotics cartels.
Vice Adm. Ann Rondeau, National Defense University president and keynote speaker, welcomed participants and guests to the nation’s “premier joint professional military education entity supporting the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the secretary of defense” for the seminar.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Counternarcotics and Global Threats William Wechsler spoke after Rondeau, exploring the challenges and threats facing the international narcotics-countering regime, especially the nexus of terrorism and criminal activity. He specifically discussed terrorists adopting successful criminal techniques and vice versa, the two groups working together to reach their desired ends, and states that use drug trafficking as a tool.
The seminar underscored key opportunities for international and interagency cooperation, emphasizing a national security need for mutual strategic focus and operational dialogue.