SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — The U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) and Dominican Republic are hosting the three-day 2014 Caribbean Nations Security Conference (CANSEC), which wraps up in Santo Domingo on Friday.

The conference is discussing the progress of on-going efforts to bolster the region’s security and information-sharing capabilities. The theme for this year’s conference is “Caribbean security support to CBSI: Sustaining the capacity to counter transnational organized crime.” CBSI, short for Caribbean Basin Security Initiative, was developed by U.S. and Caribbean leaders to substantially reduce illicit trafficking, increase citizen safety and security, and promote social justice by integrating approaches that address those priority areas.

This year’s CANSEC will host defence, law enforcement and civilian leaders representing 21 countries including: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Belize, Colombia, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, as well as Trinidad and Tobago. Regional representatives from Canada, France, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were also invited.

The U.S. delegation attending the conference also includes senior representatives and subject matter experts from the U.S. State Dept., Joint Interagency Task Force-South, the Inter-American Defense Board, and the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies. Other guests included the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS) and the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

Since 2010, the U.S. has committed more than $263 million to support the initiative. Under the CBSI, SOUTHCOM assistance to the region it has donated intercept boats, communication packages, spare parts and tools, and provided training to Caribbean coast guard, naval and other maritime patrol forces. Currently, the command staffs and funds a Technical Assistance Field Team to assist Caribbean nations with maintenance, logistics and procurement systems essential to sustaining long-term readiness of maritime patrol forces and service life of critical maritime patrol resources.