In Mexico, Hagel Focuses on Crime, Cyber and Natural Disasters

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson and Mexican Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos during a reception in Mexico City on Thursday.

Shannon Stapleton/AP

AA Font size + Print

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel with Canadian Defense Minister Rob Nicholson and Mexican Gen. Salvador Cienfuegos during a reception in Mexico City on Thursday.

Forget terrorism or nuclear weapons, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his counterparts from Mexico and Canada are worried about more immediate threats. By Stephanie Gaskell

There’s the pivot to Asia, the growing threat of terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa, the continuing conflict in Ukraine, serious budget cuts at home. And then there’s Canada and Mexico.

Amid all the global issues competing for his attention, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and his North American counterparts are meeting this week to improve cooperation on the threats that concern all three militaries closest to home: criminal networks, cyberattacks and natural disasters. It’s a reflection of just how secure the hemisphere is, Hagel said, relative to other global threats commanding the Pentagon’s attention.

Hagel is in Mexico for talks this week with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts for the second North American Defense Ministerial, formed two years ago as a way to beef up security and cooperation between the three nations. “Every time we meet, we add muscle and sinew — substance — to what we’re doing and what we could be doing,” Hagel said. 

At the top of the docket is Mexico’s desire to buy 18 Blackhawk helicopters from the United States. The sale is still awaiting congressional approval, and the U.S. is also looking at providing other assistance, including drones.   

“We are talking to them about a range of capabilities that they are interested in … like our assistance in their own security,” said a senior defense official, according to the Defense Department’s American Forces Press Service. “There are partnership things we can do and things we can do together,” he added, “but they also want to acquire their own capabilities, and we’re interested in helping.”

Pentagon Press Secretary Rear Adm. John Kirby said the three nations share mutual concerns and “expressed eagerness to discuss in more detail ways in which all three nations can work more closely together to deal with the threats posed by criminal networks, cyberattacks and natural disasters.”

Not on that list: terrorism, proliferation, and state instability rocking other global regions. “I don’t think over the years we’ve done enough to reach out to our Latin American partners, partly because we suffer from a pretty good relationship,” Hagel said. “The places that get most of the attention around the world are the trouble spots.”

Hagel is heading to Guatemala late Thursday for more meetings and to observe military exercises.

Close [ x ] More from DefenseOne
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from DefenseOne.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download
  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Top 5 Findings: Security of Internet of Things To Be Mission-Critical

    As federal agencies increasingly leverage these capabilities, government security stakeholders now must manage and secure a growing number of devices, including those being used remotely at the “edge” of networks in a variety of locations. With such security concerns in mind, Government Business Council undertook an indepth research study of federal government leaders in January 2017. Here are five of the key takeaways below which, taken together, paint a portrait of a government that is increasingly cognizant and concerned for the future security of IoT.

    Download
  • Coordinating Incident Response on Posts, Camps and Stations

    Effective incident response on posts, camps, and stations is an increasingly complex challenge. An effective response calls for seamless conversations between multiple stakeholders on the base and beyond its borders with civilian law enforcement and emergency services personnel. This whitepaper discusses what a modern dispatch solution looks like -- one that brings together diverse channels and media, simplifies the dispatch environment and addresses technical integration challenges to ensure next generation safety and response on Department of Defense posts, camps and stations.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.