FORT HOOD, Texas –
Emerging threats posed by narcotrafficking networks and the destructive aftermath of natural disasters have created security challenges for many nations in the Western Hemisphere. In an effort to defuse the threats and enhance security in the region, U.S. Army South’s engagements with strategic partners, such as the Peruvian Army, has provided opportunities to build stronger relationships.
During a trip to Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston and Fort Hood, Texas, from Nov. 14-19, a delegation of Peruvian Army leaders, led by Brig. Gen. Carlos Bojorquez, 1st Multipurpose Brigade commander, discussed the importance and value of strengthening interoperability between the Peruvian and U.S. Army.
“Our nation (Peru) faces threats from transnational criminal organizations and recurring natural disasters,” Bojorquez said. “Partnership with the U.S. Army affords our nation the ability to share critical knowledge for both of our Armies to better confront similar threats to our populaces. Increased technical interoperability will enable our Armies to better tackle problems and face threats as cohesive teammates.”
The delegation included Brig. Gen. Alberto Torres, Peruvian Army G-5, and Brig. Gen. Mario La Torre, International Military Affairs director, received briefings on Exercise Southern Vanguard, Combat Training Center multi-year plans, Army Futures Command and took part in a key leader engagement with Maj. Gen William Thigpen, Army South’s commanding general.
Thigpen listened as the three Peruvian generals expressed how the U.S. Army could assist the Peruvian Army to conduct its fourth transformation effort. According to the Peruvian Army senior leaders, their Army seeks to adopt U.S. Army doctrine, the modular Brigade Combat Team structure, and the Mission Command framework to conduct its fourth enterprise-wide transformation.
Thigpen stated the material acquisitions and doctrine exchanges were important in the transformation process; however, he emphasized that the most important aspect to transforming an Army starts with focusing on its personnel and the organization’s values.
Currently, the Peruvian Army is modernizing its logistics doctrine and seeking training opportunities and exercises with the U.S. Army to enhance their multipurpose brigade and help establish a new mechanized brigade.
“The Peruvian Army will need to adopt U.S. Army doctrine, acquire U.S. Army equipment, and conduct bilateral training with the U.S. Army to serve as an effective partner in a potential future deployment,” Bojorquez said. “To put it simply, we want to be ready to answer the United States’ call for assistance in an international mission.”
A highlight of the Texas trip was a chance to visit Fort Hood and observe a Stryker capabilities demonstration with 3rd Squadron, 3d Cavalry Regiment. Prior to the event, Maj. Gen. Steven Gilland, deputy commanding general, III Corps and Fort Hood, Texas, welcomed the delegation and addressed the need for mutual readiness for both armies.
“This is truly a team effort to meet our nation’s objectives,” Gilland said. “Identifying those gaps are critical and how you fill those gaps; which include solutions in materiel, doctrine, training, and of course, the sustainability aspect. None of that happens overnight.”
Impressed with the Stryker’s ability to transition from a combat platform to conduct a wide array of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief activates, Bojorquez thanked the soldiers for displaying the vehicle’s capabilities.
“I was also very impressed with the professionalism, tactical prowess, and technical knowledge exhibited by 3d Cavalry Regiment’s Soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers,” Bojorquez said. “Fort Hood’s Troopers provided us with critical data on the Stryker variants’ capacities, limitations, and methods of employment. For instance, the Infantry Carrier Vehicle can have its weapons removed and be utilized to evacuate civilians from disaster-stricken areas that are inaccessible for traditional civilian evacuation vehicles.”
At the conclusion of the week-long visit to Texas, the Peruvian senior leaders expressed their appreciation of Army South’s collective team effort to provide their delegation with substantive and informative briefings, willingness to share technical data and to make them feel at home in San Antonio.
“The Peruvian Army seeks to conduct further personnel exchanges and acquisition focused visits to determine how to effectively transform our military into a force that is capable of operating in all domains,” Bojorquez said.
Prior to the delegation’s departure, Thigpen expressed his appreciation of the Peruvian Army’s “steadfastness as a regional partner and friend of the United States.”
Lt. Col. Jay Richardson, the Army Section Chief within the Military Advisory and Assistance Group, in Lima, also attended the visit to Army South and Fort Hood.
“This opportunity provided the Peruvian Army’s senior decision-makers and executive agents to gain firsthand knowledge from 3rd Cavalry Regiment Stryker operations, Army Futures Command senior leaders, Army South planners and security cooperation experts. These in-person and tangible interactions provided our Peruvian partners to gain data, insights, and opinions that cannot be attained via virtual interactions,” Richardson said. “I believe this trip provided our Peruvian friends with the necessary information they need to determine which efforts they need to invest in to modernize and transform their Army in the coming years.”
Maj. Teddy Villasenor-Loya, Army South’s Peru Desk officer added, “Peru is eager to expand its capabilities to face both conventional and non-conventional threats to its sovereignty, stability, and abundant national resources.
Army South stands ready to assist the Peruvians with obtaining the necessary training, opportunities to multi-national training events, and access to critical doctrine and technical data to increase interoperability with the U.S. Army. Increased interoperability between our Armies will further deepen and broaden our forces’ capacities to conduct face mutual threats, in both the Andean Ridge and Pacific Rim.”