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Advancing Freedom, Prosperity and Security in the Western Hemisphere: Working With Partners to Face New Challenges

Recorded on October 30, 2007

Location: The Heritage Foundation's Lehrman Auditorium

Peace, security and prosperity in the Western Hemisphere remain critical components of a successful foreign and national security strategy.  From the virulent anti-Americanism of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela to the insertion of extra-regional players like China and Iran, the U.S. faces a new configuration of strategic challenges.  The drug trade and organized crime continue to undermine the security, prosperity and potentially the stability of our southern neighbors.  To fight back, the Administration has pressed forward with Plan Colombia, worked to strengthen cooperation with Hemispheric partners, and recently proposed a historic multi-year plan for fighting drug trafficking and gang activity in Mexico and Central America.  Cuba, at the end of the Fidel Castro era and at the crossroads of transition, also occupies a high place on the U.S. foreign policy agenda.  Join us for a briefing on and discussion of recent developments in Western Hemisphere security planning and cooperation by our special guest from the Pentagon.         

As a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Stephen Johnson is responsible for the Western Hemisphere Affairs where he oversees the advancement of hemispheric defense cooperation and the coordination for the U.S. Northern and Southern Commands.  Prior to joining the Department of Defense, Mr. Johnson was a Senior Policy Analyst at The Heritage Foundation, a Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. State Department and a tanker pilot, attaché and strategic planner while on duty as an officer in the U.S. Air Force.