For those of us who served at Quarry Heights….
….and shared the one outdoors faucet to “bathe” after noon hour PT!
December 18, 2010
Military brass and local dignitaries cut the ribbon on the Pentagon’s new campus-style Southern Command headquarters.
By Carol Rosenberg
The Air Force staged an F-16 flyover. A Navy chaplain declared it a place of “justice” and “peace.” And military brass joined with local leaders Friday to officially open the Pentagon’s $402 million state-of-the-art Southern Command headquarters in Doral.
The new hub for military and diplomatic operations in Latin America and the Caribbean has been years in the making, noted a succession of speakers.
Some thanked special guest Archbishop Thomas Wenski for lining up picture-perfect weather for the event, attended by several hundred guests.
Others paid tribute to former Gov. Jeb Bush and the South Florida Congressional delegation (none present), for lining up the finances and 55 acres of state-leased land for the Category 5 hurricane-proof facility.
It has a maze of specially secured offices, built next to the 13-year-old original building, plus a gym, small clinic and commissary. It also has a 200-seat auditorium in a structure called the Conference Center of The Americas, with technology to enable multilingual meetings that bring together military officers from the region.
Featured speaker Adm. James Stavridis, the previous Southcom chief, came from his current post as Supreme Allied Commander of Europe to declare the new facility a place of “partnership” and “promise.”
About 2,300 people work there, mostly members of the U.S. military; other U.S. government agencies and Latin American nations also send military and civilian liaisons to the facility.
Southcom supervises annual training and healthcare missions in the region and this year played a major role in the U.S. effort to assist quake-ravaged Haiti.
It also is in charge of the prison camps at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and in 2008 helped commanders there draw up a blueprint for the closure order of President Barack Obama.
Phi Beta Iota: This may be a partial explanation of why US Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) was relatively ineffective in Haiti–between the complexities of Guatanamo operations, supervising annual training and healthcare missions to 12 South American and 7 Central American countries and a few Caribbean nations not aligned with other Western power–and the demands of ensuring perfection at 95% design review (which is where you cut the deliberately inflated Table of Organization so as to be able to put in all the stuff not allowed by MILCON guidelines, such as oversize offices and grandiose ceremonial areas–this requires last-minute non-trivial changes to the construction plans), we can see how the 2,300 person Command may have been too over-taxed to get Haiti right in the first week, as we suggested here. Haiti was then and is now an Information Operations (IO) problem, NOT a kinetic problem, and certainly not one remotely justifying 20,000 troops with their logistics tail instead of effective “information peacekeeping,” a concept we pioneered in the late 1980’s….