US Southern Command director visits Guyana

…security partnership, bilateral defence reiterated

US Marine Corps Major General Julie Nethercot, US Southern Command Strategy, Policy, and Plans Director, visited Guyana May 6-8.
A release from the US embassy in Georgetown on Wednesday stated that the strategy, policy, and plans directorate at US Southern Command oversees strategic planning, policy development, and security cooperation coordination for Latin America and the Caribbean.

US Marine Corps Major
General Julie Nethercot

The directorate directly supports US Southern Command’s goals and objectives in deterring aggression, defeating threats, rapidly responding to crises, and working with allies and partner nations to strengthen the region’s capacity to ensure a secure, free, and prosperous Western Hemisphere. Major General Nethercot’s visit to Guyana underscores the continued importance and unwavering commitment the United States places on the US-Guyana bilateral defense and security partnership, the US embassy stated.
During her visit, Nethercot met with Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Chief of Staff, Brigadier Omar Khan, to discuss ongoing security co-operation and security assistance initiatives to advance technology platforms. According to the embassy, this visit is her second trip to Guyana and signifies the US commitment to partnering with the GDF as it continues to increase its capabilities and expand its force.
“The United States continues to work closely with its partners around the world to strengthen alliances and partnerships by improving interoperability, deepening information-sharing and planning, and conducting complex joint and combined exercises,” the embassy stated.

Expand army’s capabilities
In February, during a visit by Major General Evan Pettus United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), it was stated that efforts are now underway to assist the GDF in developing a roadmap to enhance its aviation capability, following a needs assessment conducted by the Air Force arm of the United States Southern Command.
During his visit, the US Air Force official had met with senior officials of the Guyana Government, the GDF, and the US Embassy in Georgetown, to discuss domain awareness and collaborate on advancing Guyana’s airspace awareness capacity to protect its national security and sovereignty.
At a media briefing following his engagements, Major General Pettus had explained that the main aim of the visit was to conclude the air domain awareness assessment of the GDF.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff of the Guyana Defence Force, Brigadier Omar Khan, had outlined the importance of bilateral cooperation to expand the army’s capabilities. He pointed out that the defence sector is expected to enhance its capability to match the rapid economic growth of Guyana, and said he believes the US Army could provide the support needed to do this.
Just prior to that visit, a team of Air Forces Southern Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance experts were in Guyana to exchange knowledge and ideas with GDF intel experts. During that visit, the team coached the GDF ranks on how to make SOUTHCOM’s Enhanced Domain Awareness system work best for them. EDA is a secure, unclassified, virtual environment where users can leverage commercially and publicly available information and analytics to more easily collaborate and share information.
In December 2023, a US SOUTHCOM delegation was in Guyana to assess the GDF military communications network and to discuss emerging threats in the cyber and 5G domains. The participants discussed how the Guyanese army has made significant progress in implementing recommendations from the assessment to improve their cyber security posture, and reaffirmed mutual commitments to collaborating on countering threats in the GDF’s cyber domain.