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Santoni New P.R. Civilian Aide To Secretary Of The Army
Retired Maj. Gen. Felix Santoni expected to have high profile
By KEN OLIVER-MENDEZ
September 12, 2002
Retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Felix A. Santoni has been appointed by Secretary of the Army Thomas White as civilian aide for Puerto Rico.
Santoni, who retired from the Army in 1995 after a 39-year career which saw him serve in such senior leadership positions as the U.S. Southern Command's Deputy Commander in Chief for Mobilization & Reserve Affairs, replaces Joe Colon, who served a 12-year stint as civilian aide.
Even in retirement, Santoni has had a prominent role as a leading local military expert and spokesman for the Armed Forces community in Puerto Rico. As Secretary White's civilian aide, Santoni's public profile is expected to increase substantially.
Upon announcing the appointment, Secretary White explained that he has specially designated civilian aides in all U.S. states and territories. "This program gives me civilian representatives throughout the country who help tell the Army story, explain Army policies that may affect the area they represent, and generate continuing public support for the Army's mission," White said.
Santoni will be considered the secretary's personal representative in Puerto Rico. In addition to advising Secretary White, Santoni's new role also includes providing advice to senior Army commanders based in Puerto Rico, such as U.S. Army South Commanding Gen. Alfred Valenzuela.
Santoni has long been an outspoken and eloquent advocate of the importance of maintaining a proactive Army engagement in Latin America. "As a result of the war on terrorism, there's a heavier commitment to the Middle East, a heavy commitment to Europe, and a lighter commitment to Latin America," Santoni said. "But given the unpredictable nature of human events, it's important that the Army stays engaged with Latin America."
In his new post, Santoni represents the active, reserve, and National Guard components of the U.S. Army in Puerto Rico. He said he's also pledged to defend the interests of the nearly 30,000-strong community of military retirees on the island.