U.S. Southern Command provides assistance to Colombia’s military and security forces as they work to thwart narco-terrorist activity in the country. U.S. involvement is limited to support in the areas of training, logistics and information sharing.
White House / Office of Nat’l Drug Control Policy links:
SOUTHCOM’s ongoing strategic partnership with Colombia -- undertaken within the framework of the Colombian Strategic Development Initiative (CSDI) originally developed by the U.S. Embassy in Bogota -- serves as a model for integrated collaboration. CSDI aligns the U.S. government support to Colombia with the Colombian government’s National Consolidation Plan, a whole-of-government effort to expand state presence and services in targeted areas where poverty, violence, illicit crop cultivation, and drug trafficking have historically converged.
Colombia has suffered from decades of violence and instability as narco-terrorist groups, financing their activities through drug trafficking, waged an insurgency against the government. While challenges remain, the security situation today in Colombia is drastically improved, thanks in large part to the sustained efforts of the Government of Colombia, supported by Plan Colombia and its corresponding U.S. Government-sponsored initiatives (see more on U.S. support to Plan Colombia and follow-on programs)
Since August 2002, more than 54,000 combatants from Colombia’s illegal armed groups have demobilized. Of these, 58 percent demobilized collectively as a result of an agreement between the Government of Colombia and the paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC). The other major insurgency group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, better known as FARC, has seen its strength decline from over 18,000 in 2002 to around 9,000 today and its territorial control significantly decreased. The successes of Plan Colombia and Colombia’s own internal security initiatives resulted in the acceleration of economic development; and the resulting increases in security and stability have helped Colombia achieve annual growth rates averaging four percent.
U.S. Southern Command’s role in supporting the execution of Plan Colombia and its corresponding programs and initiatives involved:
- Helping equip and train the Colombian armed forces
- Assisting with the development of long-term strategies
- Sharing of technical and operational expertise
- The facilitation of technology transfers