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Opening the Mexican Door: Continental Defense Cooperation

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Master's thesis

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The U.S. security environment has changed dramatically and institutions that defend the continent against common threats must adapt to remain viable. Otherwise, the safety, security, and economic prosperity of North America will be in jeopardy. The World Trade Center attack demonstrated that asymmetric threats can approach the United States from any direction. This attack also reinforced the fact that natural and technological disasters can have international consequences and continental impact. Given this statement, a noticeable missing element in the United States defense relationship with Canada and Mexico is the absence of a formal policy for bilateral military cooperation in support of civil authorities. Also missing is a Mexican defense coordinating presence at NORAD and USNORTHCOM. Southern aerospace, maritime, and land approaches to the United States are just as important as northern approaches with respect to an attack or consequence management operations. But the absence of common border area military interaction and cooperation limits options and capabilities that can be leveraged against binational disasters and events of continental significance. This thesis examines shared U.S.-Mexican security challenges and argues that a bilateral transnational emergency management framework, which incorporates a civilian-military partnership, can serve as the cornerstone upon which North American defense can be built. To achieve this outcome, the existing Pacific Northwest emergency management cross-border agreements and the role of the National Guard are examined as models for establishing a regionally based emergency management structure.

Subject Categories:

  • Government and Political Science
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Civil Defense

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