The United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM), located in Doral, Florida in Greater Miami, is one of nine Unified Combatant Commands (CCMDs) in the United States Department of Defense. It is responsible for providing contingency planning, operations, and security cooperation for Central and South America, the Caribbean (except US commonwealths, territories, and possessions), their territorial waters, and for the force protection of US military resources at these locations. USSOUTHCOM is also responsible for ensuring the defense of the Panama Canal and the canal area.
Under the leadership of a four-star Commander, USSOUTHCOM is organized into a headquarters with six main directorates, component commands and military groups that represent SOUTHCOM in the region. The current commander is Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, USN.
USSOUTHCOM is a joint command of more than 1,201 military and civilian personnel representing the United States Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and several other federal agencies. Civilians working at USSOUTHCOM are, for the most part, civilian employees of the Army, as the Army is USSOUTHCOM's Combatant Command Support Agent. The Services provide USSOUTHCOM with component commands which, along with their Joint Special Operations component, two Joint Task Forces, one Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Offices, perform USSOUTHCOM missions and security cooperation activities. USSOUTHCOM exercises its authority through the commanders of its components, Joint Task Forces/Joint Interagency Task Force, and Security Cooperation Organizations.