The United States Department of Defense plans to work closer this year with the Guyana Defence Force to boost and modernize the country’s defence architecture.
U.S Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Daniel Erikson made that disclosure during a two-day visit to Guyana, which ended on Tuesday.
During the visit, he met and held talks with President Irfaan Ali and Government Officials, as well as with senior Officials of the Guyana Defence Force
In an interview with the state-owned National Communications Network, Mr. Erikson said one of the main pillars of the defence cooperation between Guyana and the US is to ensure that the GDF is in a position to defend the country.
“What we are principally interested in from the US perspective is ensuring that the Guyana defence Force is developing as an institution to identify what are the capabilities that it requires and the gaps and then we can see how the US can assist in ensuring that it has what it needs to conduct its responsibilities to defend the nation,” Erikson noted.
Erikson said despite the security cooperation between the two countries, it was important for him to come to Guyana to get a first hand understanding of the issues facing the country and its defence system.
“It was extremely important for me to come and meet with the Guyana Defense Force to get a better firsthand understand of how they see the challenges and opportunities and what are the steps they are taking and wish to take in terms of military modernization. So, I think going forward there are several areas in which we can deepen our collaboration,” Mr. Erikson stated.
The Top US Defense Official identified the need for intense training especially in information sharing and cyber security to counter the threat of transnational crime.
“We see the challenges of countering transnational criminal organizations and illicit trafficking as being one that requires a whole of government response and so the Department of Defense can play and important role in strengthening intel- cooperation, but of course, there are the national security agencies as well in Guyana that can have a very important role to play in this,” Mr. Erikson noted.
The U.S. and Guyana have a longstanding security partnership marked by strong collaboration between the US Southern Command and the Guyana Defence Force. That partnership is focused on disaster preparedness, humanitarian assistance, maritime security, human rights, professional development, defense and public-security missions, and countering transnational crime.
In a statement earlier this week, the US Embassy noted the importance of the Guyana-US relations.