Pentagon Latin America official to depart

Pentagon Latin America official to depart

One of the Pentagon’s top officials dealing with Latin America, Frank Mora, will leave government after next week, he told friends in an e-mail obtained by The Cable.

“As many of you know, next Friday, January 25, will be my last day as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere (DASD-WHA),” Mora wrote in the e-mail. “In June, my family and I will be heading to Miami where I’ve accepted the position of Director of the Latin American and Caribbean Center (LACC) and Professor of Politics and International Relations at Florida International University (FIU). My family and I looking forward to going back home and taking on this wonderful opportunity afforded to us by FIU.”

Mora served as DASD-WHA for almost four years, under Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs led by Paul Stockton.  The joining of homeland security and Latin America never made sense to many when it was announced as part of a reorganization of the Pentagon’s policy shop in 2009, but Mora’s portfolio included defense cooperation with South and Latin American countries as well as coordination between U.S. Northern Command and Southern Command.

From 2004 to 2009 Mora was Professor of National Security Strategy and Latin American Studies at the National Defense University. He has also worked as a consultant to the Library of Congress, the Air Force, the Army, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Institute for National Security Studies (INSS), the National Democratic Institute, the State Department, the Organization of American States, the Joint Staff, and U.S. Southern Command. 

Mora has also worked observing elections in several countries, including Paraguay, Peru and El Salvador, according to his Defense Department biography. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Miami Herald, La Tercera (Chile), Wall Street Journal, CNN, Los Angeles Times, El Tiempo (Colombia), National Public Radio, Voice of America, and USA Today. He is the author or editor of five books and holds a B.A. in International Affairs from The George Washington University, as well as an M.A. in Inter-American Studies and a Ph.D. in International Affairs from the University of Miami 

No replacement for Mora at the Pentagon has yet been announced. In the meatime, Principal Director Walter Earle will serve as acting DASD-WHA.

In his e-mail, Mora thanked the White House, the Pentagon, the regional partners, and the OSD-WHA team for what he termed a “priceless” opportunity to serve.

“I can’t find the words to truly express how much I respect/admire all of you,” he said. “If I was in any way successful as a DASD, it was largely due to your hard work and commitment to public service. It was my honor.”