ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT (AP) — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the U.S. has moved into a new era in South America and is no longer the sole provider of security in the hemisphere.
Arriving in Peru on Friday, Panetta plans to offer to send U.S. defense experts to Lima to help the nation improve its military planning. And he will meet with defense leaders from across the continent in Uruguay, where they will unveil a new program to better coordinate disaster assistance in the region.
Speaking to reporters traveling with him, Panetta said the broader goal is for America to work with nations in the region to help them better develop their military capabilities and provide for their own security. The key issues are counter-narcotics, counterterrorism, and drug and human trafficking.