By Dialogo July 15, 2011 “Illicit-trafficking is a shared threat and a shared responsibility,” said Ambassador Paul A. Trivelli, Civilian Deputy to the Commander and Foreign Policy Advisor (POLAD) at USSOUTHCOM, during closing remarks. “The only way for us to overcome this challenge is through the joint efforts and cooperation of all partner nations, and that is why we are here today,” Amb. Trivelli concluded. With the objective of strengthening shared operations against illicit trafficking, around 200 representatives from 30 countries attended the Coast Guard Operations Centers and Aviation Commanders Regional Interoperability Conference, held at the Conference Center of the Americas at the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), in Miami, Florida. For the first time in USSOUTHCOM’s area of focus, elements of the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) and the Coast Guard came together at a meeting to promote security cooperation, interoperability, and the exchange of information among the nations participating in the Cooperating Nations Information Exchange System (CNIES). During the five days of sessions, representatives from the operations centers of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Mexico, among others, described their experiences with regard to new threats, tactics, and lessons learned. The conference agenda also included workshops, panel discussions, and networking opportunities among the attendees. “The most important part of this conference is the opportunity to bring together in one place all the people from U.S. joint, interagency and multinational partners coming from 30 countries, for the purpose of discussing operations”, said JIATF-S Cmdr. Edwin D. Kaiser. This is great news for the Americas. “The key piece of the joint efforts against illicit trafficking is the air support, and that’s why the presence of the air commanders here is key, as well as that of members of the Customs and Border Protection,” added Cmdr. Kaiser. JIATF-S experts took advantage of the forum to explain all the possibilities offered by the CNIES and to listen to recommendations that may contribute to strengthening its utility. Through CNIES, the member countries have the possibility of sharing information from radars monitoring air and maritime traffic information that, combined with regional and national data, facilitates the detection and halting of illicit trafficking operations. The Coast Guard Operations Centers and Aviation Commanders Regional Interoperability Conference concluded on 15 July with a summary of the reports by the participating groups and the elaboration of a consensus document and an action plan for the next meeting.