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SOUTHCOM Opens Counterdrug Trafficking Center: US Southern Command has opened a new command center at NAS Key West, Fla., to combat illicit narcotics and other illicit trafficking in Central and South America. "Transnational criminal organizations are posing a not-very-well-understood, but growing, threat to the United States," said Deputy Defense Secretary Bill Lynn at last week's ribbon cutting. Operating the new facility, SOUTHCOM's Joint Interagency Task Force brings together Defense Department and government agencies, such as the Drug Enforcement Administration, with liaisons from 13 partner countries. Planned since 2008, the state-of-the-art command center "is the first of its kind anywhere, and represents the very best way we know how to conduct the fight against illicit traffickers," said Coast Guard Rear Adm. Daniel Lloyd, task force commander. It will coordinate combined US air and sea assets and disseminate information to partner nations across the Caribbean zone. (DOD release)