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Persistent Engagement in Colombia
JOINT SPECIAL OPERATIONS UNIV MACDILL AFB FL
Pagination or Media Count:
In this monograph, Dr. Mark Moyar, Brigadier General retired Hector Pagan, and Lieutenant Colonel retired Wil R. Griego analyze United States Special Operations Forces USSOF assistance to Colombia in the context of decades of counterinsurgency and counternarcotics operations. While the case of Colombia is often cited as an exemplar of global Special Operations Forces SOF foreign engagement, the details of the engagement, and the reasons for its success, have not previously been addressed in a scholarly publication. This study represents the first comprehensive analysis of the persistent SOF engagement in Colombia. It draws upon the collective wisdom of numerous U.S. and Colombian government personnel, and the authors own decades of experience in Colombia and other countries where the United States has undertaken prolonged partnership. The authors attribute the success of SOF engagement in Colombia to the long-term development of human capital in the Colombian security forces. As trainers, educators, and advisors, U.S. special operators helped nurture Colombian officers and NCOs who would rise through the ranks into key positions of leadership. The huge improvements in Colombian counterinsurgency and counternarcotics performance were the result, first and foremost, of dedicated and skilled Colombian leaders. After chronicling the history of SOF engagement and Colombia s security environment, the authors provide lengthy lists of lessons learned and recommendations. They emphasize the need to be selective in engagement, and identify critical criteria for choosing partners, such as leadership, institutional missions, operational requirements, and human rights records. They advocate long-term and persistent engagement, with special emphasis on training and education.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE