Finally, Southern Command becomes truly unified command
By Zachary S. Fagenson
Nearly all of US Southern Command's staff has reported to its new Doral headquarters and a ribbon-cutting Friday will mark of the official start of the military hub's full operations.
Work began on the $400 million, 640,000-square-foot headquarters in 2008.
Since the base moved to Miami from Panama in 1997, it has been located in nine leased facilities, according to an Achiever interview with Gen. Douglas Fraser, the base commander.
"Everyone that used to be in different locations will now be in one central facility," said SouthCom spokesperson Jose Ruiz. "It allows us to be able to better focus our force protection measures. It's easier to conduct security when you have folks... in one central facility."
The keys were turned over to SouthCom staff Nov. 1 and it's spent the past month and a half moving its far-flung operations into the central building at 3511 NW 91st Ave.
While the primary mission of the base is to defend the United States, It focuses mainly on regional stability and forming partnerships with Caribbean and Latin American countries and militaries, as well as responding to crises or natural disasters throughout the region.
It serves as the go-between for the Department of Defense and outfits like Air Force South in Tucson and Army South in San Antonio. Thirteen federal agencies are represented there, Mr. Ruiz said.
On a day-to-day basis, the base will have about 2,300 personnel.
Along with "state-of-the-art facilities" and a new conference center that will allow SouthCom to host partner nations and militaries, the new base will also have increased support for staff, including a child development center and a larger gym.
Despite the bigger, centralized facility, the mission will remain the same.
"The mission that we conduct will not change, focusing on security cooperation with militaries and security institutions from 31 countries and 10 territories," Mr. Ruiz said. "We will be able to better conduct that mission."
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