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  • Small states that lack capacity and act on their own may fall victim to international and domestic terrorism, transnational organized crime or criminal gangs.
  • The critical issue is not whether small Caribbean states should cooperate in meeting security challenges, but it is rather in what manner, and by which mechanisms can they overcome obstacles in the way of cooperation.
  • The remit of the Regional Security System (RSS) has expanded dramatically, but its capabilities have improved very slowly.
  • The member governments of the RSS are reluctant to develop military capacity beyond current levels since they see economic and social development and disaster relief as priorities, requiring little investment in military hardware.
  • The RSS depends on international donors such as the USA, Canada, Great Britain, and increasingly China to fund training programs, maintain equipment and acquire material.
  • In the view of most analysts, an expanded regional arrangement based on an RSS nucleus is not likely in the foreseeable future. Regional political consensus remains elusive and the predominance of national interests over regional considerations continues to serve as an obstacle to any CARICOM wide regional defense mechanism.
  • Countries in the Caribbean, including the members of the RSS, have to become more responsible for their own security from their own resources. While larger CARICOM economies can do this, it would be difficult for most OECS members of the RSS to do the same.
  • The CARICOM region including the RSS member countries, have undertaken direct regional initiatives in security collaboration. Implementation of the recommendations of the Regional Task Force on Crime and Security (RTFCS) and the structure and mechanisms created for the staging of the Cricket World Cup (CWC 2007) resulted in unprecedented levels of cooperation and permanent legacy institutions for the regional security toolbox.
  • The most important tier of security relationships for the region is the United States and particularly USSOUTHCOM.
  • The Caribbean Basin Security Initiative [CBSI] in which the countries of the RSS participate is a useful U.S. sponsored tool to strengthen the capabilities of the Caribbean countries and promote regional ownership of security initiatives.
  • Future developments under discussion by policy makers in the Caribbean security environment include the granting of law enforcement authority to the military, the formation of a single OECS Police Force, and the creation of a single judicial and law enforcement space.
  • The RSS must continue to work with its CARICOM partners, as well as with the traditional “Atlantic Powers” particularly Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom to implement a general framework for regional security collaboration.
  • Regional security cooperation should embrace wider traditional and non-traditional elements of security appropriate to the 21st century.
  • Security cooperation must utilize to the maximum the best available institutions, mechanisms, techniques and procedures already available in the region.
  • The objective should not be the creation of new agencies but rather the generation of new resources to take effective operations to higher cumulative levels. Security and non-security tools should be combined for both strategic and operational purposes.
  • Regional, hemispheric, and global implications of tactical and operational actions must be understood and appreciated by the forces of the RSS member states.
  • The structure and mechanisms, created for the staging of Cricket World Cup 2007 should remain as legacy institutions and a toolbox for improving regional security cooperation in the Caribbean.
  • RSS collaboration should build on the process of operational level synergies with traditional military partners. In this context, the United States must be a true partner with shared interests, and with the ability to work unobtrusively in a nationalistic environment.
  • Withdrawal of U.S. support for the RSS is not an option.


"The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report (paper) are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by the official documentation.

Funded by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), ID W91WAW-09-D-0022, delivery order number 0616."



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