Key West will remain a strategic location for the federal government. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart issued a statement after the announcement.
At the beginning of the year, it didn’t look like the Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) was going to remain in Key West.
Among top concerns was the operation had outgrown the facility at Naval Air Station Key West. It was too small to contend with future needs.
However, where it would be moving was unknown.
At the time, U.S. Rep. Michael Waltz led a delegation to keep the task force in the state of Florida. Today, Admiral Craig Faller from U.S. SOUTHCOM announced it’s not moving out of Key West, after all.
Upon learning the news, U.S. Rep. Diaz-Balart, Republican from Florida’s 25th Congressional District, issued this statement:
“I am pleased that the U.S. SOUTHCOM Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) will remain in Key West. Key West is a strategic location– our southernmost military post, in the fight to keep illicit drugs from reaching our shores.
“Over the last 30 years JIATF-S has successfully completed their counter narcotics mission while partnering with other government agencies and partner nations.
“I will continue working with Admiral Faller and my colleagues in Congress to ensure that the valiant men and women of JIATF-S have the necessary resources to execute this critical national security mission.”
Key West’s strategic positioning makes it an ideal location to monitor for trafficking. JIATF-S describes the operation on its website as:
“Located at Naval Air Station Key West, Florida, Joint Interagency Task Force South (JIATF South) conducts detection and monitoring (D&M) operations throughout their Joint Operating Area to facilitate the interdiction of illicit trafficking in support of national and partner nation security.”
It appears, at least for now, that description won’t be changing, which is good news for Key West.