Army General takes command of U.S. military operations in Latin America
Army Lt. Gen. Laura J. Richardson earned a fourth star on Friday just before assuming the helm of Latin America-focused United States Southern Command (SOUTHCOM).
General Richardson’s promotion takes effect just before Friday’s change of command ceremony at SOUTHCOM headquarters in Miami. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will attend the event.
General Richardson succeeds Admiral Craig S. Faller, who is retiring after nearly four decades in the Navy.
The Senate confirmed his appointment as head of SOUTHCOM in August. General Richardson is a career aviation officer who most recently served as the Commanding General of US Army North at Fort Sam Houston, Texas.
The United States Southern Command is one of the Army’s six geographic unified commands. He is responsible for the United States’ defense and security cooperation efforts with the countries of the Caribbean, Central and South America. As commander of SOUTHCOM, General Richardson will be in charge of all US military operations in the region.
During his Senate hearing, General Richardson said the United States must remain the “partner of choice” throughout the Western Hemisphere and cited the “predatory” actions and “malicious influence” of countries like the United States. China and Russia.
“Southern Command… is of strategic importance to vital United States interests and, if confirmed, I will synchronize our approach to security cooperation, working with all combat commands to reduce gaps and seams that our competitors exploit, ”she said.
General Richardson was confirmed by a unanimous vote.
She is married to Lt. Gen. Jim Richardson, who is currently the Deputy Commanding General of US Army Futures Command in Austin, Texas.