Pentagon

The U.S. military court and prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, have cost more than $6 billion to operate since opening nearly 18 years ago and still churn through more than $380 million a year despite housing only 40 prisoners today.

Jose Iglesias / Miami Herald

In remarks made in Doral on Monday, Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and a retiring commander of U.S. military operations in the Caribbean and much of Latin America offered starkly different readings of the state of security in the Western Hemisphere.

The comments came during a change of command ceremony for the U.S. Southern Command, or SOUTHCOM, the branch of the Pentagon that oversees operations in the Caribbean as well as Central and South America.

Congress was in a generous mood when it passed a spending bill last week, giving the military at minimum an additional $61 billion and boosting its overall budget to $700 billion this year.

CAMMY CLARK / MIAMI HERALD STAFF

The qualifying trials for the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Robotics Challenge start Friday. The robot races are sponsored by the Pentagon’s research unit.

Teams of engineers from all over the world are vying for a chance to compete for a $2 million prize. But sponsors hope much more will come of the event.

Here’s the challenge: Create a robot that can walk on rocky terrain, open doors, remove debris, close a valve. Basically, do all the things a first responder would do.