Dr. Paterson’s article shares the results of the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies threats survey conducted in late 2022. The survey generated almost 650 responses from Perry Center graduates who selected from 35 threats in the Americas. The results illuminate how leading Latin American and Caribbean scholars – particularly those who work in the security and defense field – see the conditions in the Americas and can help inform policy makers and scholars who follow events in the Americas.

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Food insecurity is an urgent problem in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and the LAC region’s susceptibility to food insecurity is poised to worsen with the accelerating effects of climate change. Food insecurity is not in itself a phenomenon that necessitates a military response. Indeed, food insecurity is “not” a traditional security threat to territorial borders and national sovereignty. Rather, it should be seen as an amplifier of political, economic, social, and ecological strain and vulnerabilities that can be exploited by malign actors and, thus, contributing to heightened security concerns. In this view, investments in food security should be considered as necessary, proactive, and preventative security measures, in support of civilian government agencies and the private and nonprofit sectors. Through a limited role focused on humanitarian assistance, disaster response, and interagency and international collaboration, the United States can leverage the capacities and resources of the DOD to support its regional partners in combating food insecurity. Anything less would risk losing a strategic, humanitarian, and moral imperative.

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With more than 1.7 million encounters reported by US Customs and Border Protection—the highest tally in two decades—2021 was an exceptional year for irregular migration to the US southern border. Although that number includes citizens from at least 121 countries, some 43 percent of those apprehended by US authorities hailed from Central America.

Barring massive shifts in policy and human behavior around the world, environmental degradation due to climate change will fuel volatility in Central America for decades to come, with disruptive spillover effects for neighboring Mexico and the United States. Halting the flow of people northward from Central America is neither feasible nor desirable, especially given growing labor demands in the United States and Mexico. But ensuring migration remains an option, not a necessity, requires long-range planning and international cooperation to alleviate the impending climate fallout.

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In Latin America, it is expected that climate change will exacerbate extreme weather events such as hurricanes, droughts, and wildfires, a consequence of extremely dry conditions. The armed forces of Latin America have a long history of participating in Humanitarian Assistance/ Disaster Relief (HA/DR) operations when natural disasters events occur. To be prepared for the next disaster, regional armed forces constantly train via local and multinational exercises, while defense budgets are aimed at acquiring HA/DR equipment.
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The Caribbean faces a plethora of security challenges not the least of which are the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change problems, crime, and cyber security gaps. This collection of essays from participants in the Caribbean Defense and Security Course (2021) in August 2021 provides first-hand perspectives of 18 authors who help manage these challenges on behalf of their governments.
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The Peruvian Army Center for Strategic Studies (CEEEP), The Graduate School for Superior Strategic Studies (EGAEE) of the Dominican Republic and the Perry Center join together for reflection and debate to address the role of the armed forces in Disaster Risk Management in Latin America and the Caribbean.
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Global warming presents one of the most serious threats to South American nations. Countries in the region are at risk of a variety of climate change related problems: rising sea levels, diminishing potable water supplies, forest fres, intense storms and fooding, heat waves and the spread of diseases. These disasters are occurring more frequently in the region and will likely increase in intensity also. The armed forces in the region are the only government departments with both the capacity and the manpower to respond to these massive catastrophes. Military support to civilian authorities will be required more frequently and under more severe conditions as climate change conditions worsen.
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