Improving DoD Operations Overseas: Cuba as a New Opportunity

  • Lieutenant Colonel Christopher W. Muller

President Obama’s December 2014 announcement of the normalizing of relations with Cuba provides a tremendous opportunity for the Department of Defense. Collaboration between the Cuban and U.S. militaries could improve regional stability and increase homeland security by enhancing collaboration in the southern maritime approaches to the United States. The establishment of a new Embassy and Country Team will provide a golden opportunity for DoD to create a new model and finally divest themselves of the old two-sided model consisting of a hodge-podge of small DoD entities centered around a Defense Attaché Office and/or a Security Cooperation Office. Establishing just one DoD organization in Cuba as a test model could eventually lead to an update of the current 2013 DoD Instruction C-5205.75, "Implementing Instructions for DoD Operations at US Embassies." Adopting a single DoD concept would reduce the Department’s overall costs and personnel, reducing redundancy, avoiding unnecessary confusion for our partner nations, and streamlining mission accomplishment.