Dominican Republic Rear Adm. Luis Rafael Lee Ballester Visits HSV 2 Swift


Dominican Republic Rear Adm. Luis Rafael Lee Ballester, Director of Port Security, visited High Speed Vessel (HSV 2) Swift as part of HSV-Southern Partnership Station 2012 (HSV-SPS 12), Nov. 22.

The visit included a tour of the ship and a visit to the classroom where Navy Criminal Investigative Services (NCIS) service members were conducting a subject-matter-expert exchange (SMEE) with Dominican security personnel.

“Working together is the best way for us to increase the security of our ports,” said Ballestar. “More importantly, the more we work together, the closer we become as partner nations.”

During the three-week port visit, 54 Dominican Navy and civilian security personnel have worked with the three-person Swift NCIS team. The exchange detailed the history of terrorism and the importance of installation surveillance. The group discussed how to mitigate safety concerns through proper observation and detection.

“Our goal is to exchange knowledge and give the host nation an extra tool in their tool-kit to mitigate the chances of becoming a potential target, while also increasing security around their installations and mission essential vulnerable assets,” said Lt. Larron White, officer-in-charge of NCIS HSV-SPS 12 detachment.

The exchange culminates in a practical exercise, where participants are tasked with identifying risky behavior in role-players. The security agents are tasked to describe the behavior and appearance of suspicious individuals.

“This kind of interaction exemplifies why our partnerships are important,” said Cmdr. Garry Wright, HSV-SPS 12 mission commander. “Security is the cornerstone of everything we do, and the purpose for which we strive.”

The NCIS partnership is one of many SMEEs occurring in Santo Domingo as part of HSV-SPS 12. Service members from each of the armed services are working with the host nation partners, exchanging information regarding medical and veterinary practices, small unit leadership, port security and construction.

Southern Partnership Station is an annual deployment of U.S. ships to the U.S. Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) area of responsibility in the Caribbean, Central and South America. The mission’s primary goal is information sharing with partner nation service members and civilians in the region.

U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command and U.S. 4th Fleet (COMUSNAVSO/C4F) supports U.S. Southern Command joint and combined full-spectrum military operations by providing principally sea-based, forward presence to ensure freedom of maneuver in the maritime domain, to foster and sustain cooperative relationships with international partners and to fully exploit the sea as maneuver space to enhance regional security and promote peace, stability, and prosperity in the Caribbean, Central and South American regions.

Naval Today Staff, November 24, 2011;