ASUNCION, Paraguay — At the request of U.S. Southern Command, Naval War College (NWC) professor Derek Reveron prepared a three-day symposium on strategic intelligence for Paraguay’s military, which ran July 27 to 29.
Conducted with NWC professors Larry McCabe and Scott Douglas, the symposium supported the SOUTHCOM-Paraguay security partnership. NWC faculty delivered eight strategic intelligence lectures.
With about 50 officers attending from Paraguay’s military, the symposium stimulated discussion throughout the event. The symposium’s co-director, a Paraguayan colonel, expressed his gratitude and said, “this could not have come at a better time.” The officers shared their perspectives and challenges that they face in the Army, Air Force, and Navy.
Professor Reveron explained how intelligence supports the decision-making of policymakers, offered a framework to develop a national intelligence strategy and highlighted challenges of intelligence collection, analysis, and dissemination.
Professor Douglas enhanced discussions by exploring the relationship among policymakers, warfighters and intelligence. Further, he used his recent Iraq deployment experience to discuss countering illegal networks.
Finally, Professor McCabe discussed the challenges of providing intelligence for operational commanders and presented his analysis of strategic intelligence issues in South America.
Of note, the naval officers shared their experiences of conducting counter-trafficking operations on Paraguay’s extensive river network.
McCabe commented, “contemporary security challenges in the hemisphere require joint cooperation and was pleased to see officers from across Paraguay’s intelligence community.”
The symposium concluded with a ceremony presided over by Paraguay’s Chief of Defense, Vice Chairman of the Joint Staff, and the senior intelligence officer for Paraguay.
During the NWC visit, the U.S. Defense Attaché also took the professors to Paraguay’s Army intelligence school and the Institute for Strategy and Higher Education. At the intelligence school, Douglas shared his insights on conducting network analysis, eliciting complex questions from the students who are learning to conduct analysis.
His talk was so well received that the school’s commandant asked for a future visit with more topics. Participants all agreed that the most effective way to support the Paraguayan military was to promote military education in Paraguay.
At the Institute for Strategy and Higher education, McCabe discussed strategic challenges in South America. The 80 senior civilian and military officers followed up with questions to understand the global economy, the emergence of new economic power centers, and the United States’ role in regional conflicts.
Reveron presented his analysis of the international system, explained why the United States seeks to reduce security deficits around the world, and outlined President Obama’s national security strategy.
Students were most interested in how the United States would work with the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, and China), the challenges of confronting adversarial ideologies, and strategic lessons of the last 20 years. NWC faculty appreciated the opportunity to assist SOUTHCOM security cooperation efforts and the country team’s plan to assist Paraguay’s military.
At the closing ceremony, Reveron called the experience an important occasion to promote the benefits of multicultural education.
“An experience like this is invaluable as we seek to teach our students the importance of regional studies and cultural awareness,” Reveron said. “I know that I’ll bring this experience into my Newport classroom.”
From National Security Decision Making Department