On March 22, 2023, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy, Western Hemisphere Affairs, Mr. Daniel Erikson, co-chaired the 6th annual U.S. – Guatemala Defense Bilateral Working Group with Guatemala’s Minister of Defense Henry Reyes. The meeting took place at the headquarters of the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense in Guatemala City, Guatemala. The U.S. delegation included Brigadier General Greg Krane, the Deputy Director for Western Hemisphere Political-Military Affairs in the Strategy, Plans, and Policy Directorate of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Brigadier General Julie Nethercot, the Director for Strategy, Policy, and Plans of U.S. Southern Command; Colonel Jody Owens, Chief of the Cyberspace and Space Operations Division at U.S. Southern Command; and additional representatives from U.S. Southern Command, the Joint Staff, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala.
The U.S.-Guatemala Defense Bilateral Working Group is an established defense diplomacy dialogue that guides the U.S. – Guatemala defense relationship and our security cooperation. The forum is a mechanism to discuss strategic level defense issues and to explore future cooperation activities in the areas of defense and security.
DASD Erikson and Minister Reyes discussed: (1) U.S.-Guatemala defense priorities; (2) Defense Sector Institution Building; (3) Human Rights; (4) Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response; (4) Cyber Defense; (5) Countering Transnational Organized Crime; and (6) the Role of the Military in Environmental Security. The leaders also acknowledged the importance of further integrating emergent challenges such as the need to integrate climate resiliency into future defense dialogues, and underscored the importance of advancing anti-corruption initiatives and improving transparency. The two leaders affirmed the importance of upholding the highest standards of respect for democratic norms, the rule of law, and human rights in all aspects of the defense relationship.