CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii –
Joint Interagency Task Force-West (JIATF-West) held a change of command ceremony on July 12, 2023, at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, where U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Bob Little took command from U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Charles Fosse.
JIATF-West is the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Executive Agent for Department of Defense support to law enforcement for counterdrug and drug-related activities. JIATF-West Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Coast Guardsmen, and Department of Defense civilians are responsible for bringing military and law enforcement capabilities together to combat drug-related transnational crime in an area covering 36 nations, 14 time zones, and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.
Commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM), Adm. John C. Aquilino, presided over the ceremony, which included Fosse’s promotion to the rank of Rear Admiral Upper Half. Fosse will take command of USCG District Thirteen on Aug. 1, with responsibilities for all USCG operations for the Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
Aquilino highlighted the impact of the task force and recent achievements, with more than 200 operations across 20 countries, four sanctions from the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the dismantling of a drug lab, the arrest of 15 criminals, and the seizure of over 340 metric tons of precursor chemicals.
As Fosse relinquished command of JIATF-West, he expressed appreciation to the members of the Task Force for their work in strengthening alliances and enhancing partnerships, along with noting remarkable operational success leading to seizures of illicit narcotics and precursor chemicals in the United States, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and throughout Southeast Asia.
“I could not be prouder of the JIATF-West team,” Fosse said. “They persevered through significant challenges over the past two years and delivered persistent results in coordination with our law enforcement partners to disrupt criminal networks that threaten the sovereignty of partner nations, the rules based international order, and regional and global peace and stability.”
Little is the 20th Director of JIATF-West. Prior to assuming this command, he served as the Executive Assistant to the Commandant of the USCG. He has operational experience conducting defensive operations, combating criminal networks, securing maritime borders, and safeguarding global commerce.
After taking command, Little remarked that JIATF-West is a unique instrument and force for good in the USINDOPACOM inventory of capabilities.
“I’m truly honored for the opportunity to lead the Joint Interagency Task Force-West team,” Little said. “I can’t think of a more consequential time in our history to do the important work of the Task Force.”
JIATF-West together with U.S. Law Enforcement, the Interagency, and Partner Nations, leverages all-domain capabilities to detect, monitor, and target illicit drug trafficking, enabling interdiction and apprehension to reduce the flow of drugs, degrade and dismantle drug trafficking organizations and transnational criminal organizations; reduce the risk to American lives and U.S. interests; and reduce threats to a Free and Open Indo-Pacific.