Central America Regional Security Initiative

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs
January 20, 2017

“If we ignore these threats, these problems, and these crises in Central America today, we will address them on our own front porches tomorrow.” -Assistant Secretary William R. Brownfield

Within Central America, the deteriorating security situation threatens citizen safety. Narcotics traffickers continue to establish trafficking routes to and through Central America. The continued expansion of national and transnational gangs creates communities of fear where gangs are effectively in control. Organized crime—from extortion to corrupt acts by government officials—robs citizens of confidence in their ability to earn a livelihood, provide for their families, and trust public officials for solutions.

In support of the U.S. Strategy for Engagement in Central America, the Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI) responds to these threats and supplements the strategies the nations of Central America are implementing on their own and in cooperation with other countries. CARSI is coordinated with USAID, other nations, international financial institutions, the private sector, civil society, and the Central American Integration System.

The $979 million in INL civilian security assistance since 2008 supports the Central American countries of Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama in three areas. First, CARSI assists law enforcement and security forces to confront narcotics and arms trafficking, gangs, organized crime, and border security deficiencies, as well as to disrupt criminal infrastructure, routes, and networks. Second, CARSI builds the capacity of law enforcement and the justice sector to serve citizens and to address regional threats. Third, CARSI advances community policing, gang prevention, and economic and social programming for at-risk youth and communities disproportionately affected by crime.

The 5 goals of CARSI:

  1. Create safe streets for the citizens of the region
  2. Disrupt the movement of criminals and contraband to, within, and between the nations of Central America
  3. Support the development of strong, capable, and accountable Central American governments
  4. Re-establish effective state presence, services and security in communities at risk
  5. Foster cooperation between the nations of the region, international partners, and donors to combat regional security threats