22 FEBRUARY 2000


Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Caucus and Committee,
thank you for the opportunity to appear before you to discuss drug
trafficking as a regional problem and to identify required
counternarcotics assistance for countries in the Andean Ridge. Drug
trafficking increasingly poses a significant threat to regional
stability, strong democracies, and free market economies throughout
our hemisphere. While Andean Ridge countries must lead the fight
against drug trafficking, they need our commitment of financial,
operational, and intelligence support. Today I will provide you an
assessment of the narcotics threat facing the nations of the Andean
Ridge Region. I will also discuss current and planned U.S. military
assistance to these nations in support of counterdrug activities.


The danger of drug trafficking to Andean Ridge nations is real,
immediate, and growing. The illicit drug industry has become a
corrosive force without precedent, relentlessly eroding the
foundations of democracy in the region, corrupting public
institutions, poisoning youth, ruining economies, and disrupting the
social order.

Colombia is key to the region's stability. Colombia's problems are not
contained by her borders, but are spilling over into neighboring
countries. For example, Venezuela has deployed approximately 10,000
troops along the Colombian border to prevent intrusions by Colombian
insurgent forces. Peru and Ecuador also deploy forces along the
Colombian border to deter the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia
(FARC), paramilitary forces, and drug traffickers from unwanted
incursions. Ecuador's current economic plight makes it nearly
impossible for the government to deploy adequate military forces to
prevent illegal border crossings. FARC and drug trafficker incursions
recently prompted the Brazilian Army to reinforce military garrisons
along its border with Colombia and spurred the government to continue
development of the very expensive ($1.4 billion) Amazon Surveillance
System (SIVAM).

Lacking an army and the resources for an effective border police,
Panama is unable to control all of its border with Colombia. FARC and
paramilitary forces routinely enter Panama with impunity to terrorize
and extort Panamanian locals, and to traffic in drugs and arms.

To wage an effective, long-term counterdrug (CD) campaign, countries
of the region must cooperate to develop a common strategy and
coordinate their actions against narcotraffickers. A collective
regional response is required to provide effective border security and
to expand and sustain the impressive CD results realized in Peru and

Assessment of the Andean Ridge Heroin and Cocaine Industry

Peru and Bolivia have made significant progress in reducing coca
production, surpassing 1999 eradication goals. For 1999, Peru reduced
illicit coca production by 27 percent, while Bolivia reduced
production by 53 percent. Despite these significant reductions, a
dramatic increase in Colombian production offsets progress in other
nations and seriously impedes regional CD efforts.

Colombia is now the world's largest producer of cocaine, due in large
part to the Colombian Government's only limited control of territory
in its outlying provinces. Drug traffickers took advantage of the
minimal security force presence in these provinces to increase coca
production in 1998 by 24 percent over the previous year. Production
for 1999 increased by 20 percent over 1998. Despite aerial spraying to
eradicate more than 42,000 acres of coca in Colombia, cocaine
production for 1999 is estimated to have been 520 metric tons, with a
U.S. street value of $6.2 billion.

The Counternarcotics Center (CNC) reported that drug traffickers in
1999 used air, sea, and land routes to move an estimated 512 metric
tons of mostly Colombian cocaine from the Source Zone. Multi-national
CD efforts interdicted approximately 131 metric tons, but an estimated
381 metric tons evaded interdiction efforts and entered the Transit
Zone, potentially destined for the U.S.

In addition to coca production, Colombia is a major source of opium
poppy cultivation and heroin production. Colombia now ranks fourth
among the world's heroin producers. Production for 1998 was estimated
at six metric tons, with a U.S. street value of $390 million. To
attack this problem, Colombia pursues an active aerial eradication
program and sprayed approximately 8,000 hectares of poppy cultivation
last year. Production estimates for 1999 are not yet available, but we
are confident that increased eradication spraying will be necessary to
cripple illegal poppy cultivation.


The difficulty of locating, tracking, and intercepting drug
traffickers throughout the Andean Ridge is exacerbated by the
proliferation of sophisticated Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs).
These DTOs are smaller, more adaptable, and more mobile than
traditional cartels, complicating intelligence collection efforts and
making them more difficult to target.

Many DTOs have symbiotic links to the FARC, ELN, and paramilitary
organizations. More than half of the FARC fronts and roughly
one-fourth of ELN fronts receive support from, and provide protection
to, DTOs. Drug money provides a major portion of the FARC's war chest
and is the FARC's primary source for sustaining forces, conducting
combat operations, and purchasing weapons. Several Colombian
paramilitary groups also protect and receive support from DTOs.

Required Intelligence Support to Assist Regional CD Operations

The success of regional CD operations is contingent upon timely,
accurate, predictive, and actionable intelligence. Significant
deficiencies exist in Source Zone Intelligence, Surveillance, and
Reconnaissance (ISR). These shortfalls impede the gathering of timely
and actionable tactical intelligence to counter increasingly
diversified and mobile drug trafficking operations. ISR shortfalls
inhibit our ability to collect essential information on the
capabilities, intentions, and activities of drug traffickers, and
complicate our force protection efforts.

We need to expand our current collection capabilities and provide
additional intelligence to Partner Nations and U.S. military forces
and to law enforcement agencies conducting CD operations. The proposed
supplemental funding for U.S. military airborne intelligence resources
will enable Southern Command to collect additional critical
intelligence on drug smuggling activities in the Source and Transit
Zones. Increased sharing of that intelligence, closer cooperation with
the Interagency, and better training of Partner Nation personnel will
significantly enhance the effectiveness of CD operations throughout
the Andean Ridge.


The proposed supplemental will assist Colombia in implementing its
strategic plan for counterdrug operations. The supplemental is
consistent with the overarching National Drug Control Strategy (NDCS),
supports goals 4 and 5 of the Strategy and will enable United States
Southern Command to more effectively execute its Counterdrug Campaign
Plan. Colombia and its Andean Ridge neighbors fully appreciate the
regional problems that are caused by the illegal drug industry, and
they have demonstrated the willingness to pursue solutions at the
regional level. Success in these efforts will require continued
commitment from the U.S.

The United States has provided initial training, limited
infrastructure support, technological support, and equipment to foster
commitment and to improve Partner Nation capabilities to fight drug
trafficking within their borders and throughout the region. Ninety of
our 119 CD training support deployments for Fiscal Year 2000 are
scheduled for Andean Ridge countries. In addition, seven of our
nineteen Tactical Analysis Teams (TATs) are located in the five Andean
Ridge countries, and more than 100 Joint Planning and Assistance Teams
(JPATs) transition through the region annually, providing CD training
and assessments for host nation security forces. We are also providing
support for the Andean Ridge ground, air, and riverine programs. If
approved, supplemental funding will enable us to aggressively pursue
existing programs that have already demonstrated their merit, and
initiate new ones, such as the Colombia CD Brigade which can be
decisive as we seek a comprehensive solution to the drug challenge.

Support to Ground Programs

We have helped the Colombian Army (COLAR) organize, train, and equip
their first Counternarcotics Battalion (CN BN), which became
operational December 15, 1999. Manned by more than 900 COLAR soldiers
and based at the Joint Task Force (JTF)-South headquarters in Tres
Esquinas, the CN Battalion is comprised of a headquarters company and
three maneuver companies. The Battalion completed an extensive
three-phase training program conducted by U.S. Special Forces at a
cost of $3.9 million, and received $3.5 million in individual field
equipment, unit equipment, and medical supplies to enable stand-alone
operations. The CN Battalion is designed to conduct ground and
airmobile CD operations in coordination with the Colombian National
Police. Colombian armed forces and police units will receive
integrated intelligence support from the Colombia Joint Intelligence
Center (COJIC).

To provide urgently needed tactical mobility, the Battalion has
received 18 refurbished UH-1N helicopters (and accompanying spare
parts), which were provided by the Department of State (DOS). Based at
Tolemeida and Florencia, the helicopters are manned by 25 contract
pilots and 14 Colombian copilots trained in the United States and
assigned to the COLAF. The contract pilots will be phased out as
additional Colombian pilots complete their training. DOS is also
providing follow-on support equipment (armament and portable hangars),
and has budgeted $2.1 million of monthly Operations and Maintenance
funds to sustain this crucial capability.

The Colombian Joint Intelligence Center became operational on December
22, 1999 and is currently supporting national police, military, and
JTF-South CD operations. It produces real-time targeting information,
terrain and weather analysis, force protection vulnerability
assessments, and intelligence estimates. The USG provided $4.9 million
for construction of the COJIC facility, installing networked
computers, supplying communications equipment and administrative
material, upgrading the base infrastructure, and to cover sustainment
costs through mid June 2000. Three U.S. subject matter experts are
deployed to the COJIC through June 2000 to observe and assist COLAR
and Colombian National Police intelligence specialists manning the
facility. We also are making improvements to Tres Esquinas, where
Joint Task Force South, the COJIC and the CN Battalion are collocated.
Thus far, we have spent more than $600,000 on force protection
improvements alone. Other upgrades are underway which include
extension of the existing aircraft runway and construction of an
aircraft parking ramp.

Planning is ongoing to establish, train, and equip two additional CN
Battalions and a COLAR CN Brigade headquarters during 2000. Each of
the two additional Battalions will have an individually tailored
training schedule. The second CN Battalion will begin training in
April followed several months later by the third Battalion which will
finish training in December 2000. These Battalions will be organized
in much the same way as the first CN Battalion. Organizational
improvements will include the inception of a reinstruction company
which will provide a reservoir of trained soldiers to replace
administrative and combat losses, and the consolidation of support
elements (reconnaissance, medical, mortars), into a Support Battalion.
Soldiers assigned to the new Battalions will be vetted for human
rights violations.

Support to Air Programs

We continue to conduct cooperative air interdiction efforts with Peru
and Colombia and are using the security assistance program to upgrade
the capabilities of A-37, Tucano, and C-26 aircraft. We have teamed
with the Interagency to develop a CD Air Interdiction Plan to enhance
current GOC capabilities. This plan will maximize Colombian
operational effectiveness focusing phased air interdiction operations
against drug smuggling aircraft in southern and eastern Colombia.
Operations will integrate Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR),
U.S. tracker and detection aircraft, and Colombian air force and
national police aircraft. Training will begin in February 2000,
followed by several months of focused air interdiction operations.

The proposed supplemental funds air-to-air radar and an upgraded
communications package for two of the COLAF's C-26 Merlin aircraft.
These modified aircraft will provide COLAF the capability to track and
intercept aircraft moving cocaine from inland laboratories to the
Colombian coasts for transshipment to the United States. The
supplemental also: (1) improves COLAF tactical surveillance and
intelligence capabilities by providing Forward-Looking Infrared Radar
(FLIR) for low-altitude, long-duration reconnaissance aircraft; (2)
improves collection from ground-based radars (GBR) by funding upgrades
to current GBR's and fielding an additional GBR at Tres Esquinas; and
(3) corrects operational and safety deficiencies at the Forward
Operating Location (FOL) in Manta, Ecuador to allow sustained
operations by U.S. Navy, Air Force, and Customs aircraft in the deep
Source Zone and the Eastern Pacific.

Problems in transiting Venezuelan air space in pursuit of suspected
drug trafficking aircraft continue. Since June of last year,
Venezuelan authorities have routinely denied U.S. requests for
authorization to enter Venezuelan airspace in pursuit of suspected
drug trafficking aircraft. Since May 27, 1999, the Government of
Venezuela has denied 34 of 37 U.S. requests for overflight in pursuit
of suspect aircraft. However, we are encouraged by a very recent
approval of an overflight request and will persist in our efforts to
reach agreement with the Venezuelans on mutually acceptable overflight

The proposed supplemental will go a long way toward correcting one of
Colombia's longest standing and most crucial operational deficiencies
... inadequate tactical mobility. As previously mentioned, 18 UH-1N
helicopters have already been delivered to Colombia to provide air
mobility for the inaugural CN Battalion. These aircraft were provided
through a coordinated effort by the Department of State and Department
of Defense. If the supplemental is approved, 15 additional UH-1N's
will be upgraded; brought to standardized configuration and delivered
to Colombia to support expanded mobility needs as the CN Battalion
grows to Brigade strength. Ultimately, these 33 UH-1N helicopters will
be replaced by 30 UH-60 Blackhawks and additional H-60's that will be
purchased by Colombia using its own funds. The selection of the UH-60
as the standard helicopter for Colombia's armed forces was based on
its range, payload, survivability, versatility, service ceiling and a
variety of other factors. Other options were considered to include
non-U.S. aircraft. We support the Colombian decision and believe that
important requirements such as training, maintenance, facilities, and
contractor support will be simplified by the Blackhawk selection.

Support to Riverine Programs

Southern Command supports Partner Nation riverine programs with
counterdrug training support teams, operational seminars, operational
planning support, equipment procurement, infrastructure development,
and training assessments. Equipment support to Colombia and Peru
includes boat maintenance spares, armored flotation vests, and night
vision devices. The Colombians have increased their Riverine Combat
Elements to 25 (of a projected 45), operating from seven advanced
riverine bases. As a result of last year's funding, during 2000 we
will be able to provide eight 25-foot patrol boats, additional spare
parts, night vision devices, and radio/navigation equipment. This,
coupled with Colombia's own provisioning efforts and thoughtful
reorganization of its riverine forces will pave the way for more
assertive and effective control of the river systems that have become
drug trafficking highways in southern and eastern Colombia.

Our assistance has enabled Peru to establish the Joint Peru Riverine
Training Center in Iquitos and equip four operational Riverine
Interdiction Units (of a projected 12). With existing funding, we are
providing Peru twelve 25-foot patrol boats, six 40-foot patrol craft,
spare parts, night vision devices, and armored flotation vests.


Personal Assessment

We must sustain and broaden our CN initiatives with Colombia, Peru,
Ecuador, Venezuela, Panama, and Bolivia. U.S. efforts are currently
focused on training counterdrug forces and conducting detection and
monitoring operations against the production and transportation of
illicit drugs in these nations. Continued support of these efforts is
crucial to long-term success in the region. The first step in
achieving regional stability for the Andean Ridge requires the
development of an integrated Source Zone strategy. This strategy must
consider the economic and social impact of illicit drug trafficking
and effectively coordinate the counterdrug efforts of each Partner
Nation. Two national policy directives guide the way ahead:
Presidential Decision Directive-14 and goals four and five of the
National Drug Control Strategy. Current policy guidance clearly
identifies the importance of effective interdiction and the
requirement to break the source of supply of drugs. The NDCS
establishes two measurable goals for Southern Command and the
Interagency: a 10 percent reduction in the shipment of illegal drugs
through the Transit Zone and a 15 percent reduction in flow from the
Source Zone by 2002; and a 20 percent reduction through the Transit
Zone and 30 percent reduction from the Source Zone by 2007.
Achievement of these goals will require strong commitment on the parts
of the nations of the Andean Ridge, but they will not succeed on their
own. It will fall to the United States to provide the leadership,
technical assistance, training and materiel support that is needed to
fill the gaps in national capabilities.

CD Campaign Plan

Southern Command, as part of the interagency team, has developed a
three-phased regional CD Campaign Plan that supports the goals,
objectives, and intent of the NDCS and PDD-14. We will conduct
interdiction in the Transit Zone during all three phases. The focus of
Phase I is on assisting Partner Nations to improve their CD
capabilities and, where required, develop new ones. This approach
requires the U.S. to help organize, train, and where necessary, equip
Partner Nations to conduct effective air, riverine, and ground
operations against drug traffickers. Phase II will focus on decisive
regional operations to neutralize organizations involved in the
illicit drug trade. During this Phase, Partner Nations will isolate
drug production areas from traditional markets and transit points and
extend security force presence into production areas. Phase III will
sustain successes achieved during the first two phases by preparing
Partner Nation forces to adapt counterdrug operations to the
narcotraffickers' constantly evolving tactics.

Forward Operating Locations (FOLs)

To achieve the objectives of our CD Campaign Plan, we must better
position our assets to conduct sustained operations throughout the
Source Zone. FOLs provide us the required operational reach to conduct
these operations. Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
missions conducted from the FOLs will enhance the effectiveness of
U.S. detection and monitoring operations and Partner Nation
interdiction efforts.

The FOL in Manta, Ecuador is my number one theater architecture
priority. Manta is critical for conducting deep Source Zone air
coverage with Airborne Early Warning aircraft, and it is the only FOL
that enables us to achieve full air coverage of Peru, Colombia, and
the drug producing areas of Bolivia. On November 18th, 1999, we
concluded a 10-year access agreement with the Government of Ecuador.
Currently, we can operate three medium-size aircraft (e.g., P-3 and
C-130) from Manta under visual flight rules during daylight hours. We
will begin all weather, 24-hour operations in April 2000, following
completion of necessary improvements to satisfy our own mandatory
safety requirements. The proposed supplemental will fund the necessary
operational improvements at Manta to allow unconstrained Detection,
Monitoring, and Tracking operations with all types of aircraft used in
CD operations. The design plan for airfield upgrades will be completed
in March, 2000 with construction to commence just as soon as funding
becomes available.

The FOLs at Aruba and Curacao, funded in the Fiscal Year 2001 budget
request, are required for effective, rapid response detection and
monitoring operations in the northern Source Zone, which includes the
Guajira Peninsula of Colombia and Venezuelan border region, as well as
a large part of the Transit Zone. U.S. and Dutch negotiating teams
have finished their work, initialed a 10-year agreement, and we
anticipate that the formal signing ceremony will occur during the
first or second week of March.

We also require an FOL in Central America. This FOL would provide air
coverage in the Eastern Pacific and Central America to keep pressure
on the Transit Zone as we build CD capabilities in the Source Zone. We
are currently evaluating prospective sites.

Future Efforts to Adapt to the Changing Drug Threat

The success of Southern Command's Counterdrug Strategy requires
Partner Nation cooperation, "will to succeed", and enhanced
counterdrug capabilities. The nations of the region have demonstrated
commitment and resolve to attack illicit drug trade in their
respective countries. We must maintain and expand our cooperative
efforts within the interagency and with the Partner Nations to build,
nurture, and sustain effective regional CD capabilities. A focused,
well-coordinated Interagency effort will provide required levels of
support to individual Partner Nations and complement our regional
effort to plan and execute counterdrug operations. To this end,
Southern Command continues to host planning conferences and bilateral
meetings that enhance regional cooperation. A recently completed
Aerospace Conference brought together the region's Air Force
Commanders to discuss initiatives for improving regional air
interdiction capabilities. Bilateral meetings between Ecuador and
Colombia have also improved counterdrug coordination along their
shared borders.


I have now served at Southern Command for 28 months. Shortly after
assuming command and making my initial assessment of security and
stability conditions in the region, I stated that I considered
Colombia to be the most threatened nation in the AOR. Today, almost
two and half years later, I stand behind that assessment. However, I
am encouraged by what I see in Colombia. Served by a first class
civilian and military leadership team, Colombia demonstrates a level
of national organization and commitment that was not present two years
ago. To be sure, the recently reported upsurge in coca cultivation and
production provides cause for concern, but concern is partially offset
by improved performance by Colombia's security forces during tactical
engagements with the FARC, ELN, and others who are aiding and abetting
narcotraffickers. Cooperation between the armed forces and national
police have improved, new levels of competence in air-ground
coordination have been demonstrated, intelligence sharing is on the
upswing, an aggressive program is underway to restructure the armed
forces, the armed forces and national police are poised to reassert
control over the southern and eastern portions of the country, and
Plan Colombia provides a comprehensive national strategy designed to
defeat the narcotraffickers and correct the ills they have visited on
Colombia's society. On average, I visit Colombia once every six weeks.
I am convinced that the second most populous nation in South America
with the longest and strongest democratic traditions is turning the
corner. With our help Colombia will succeed.

In recent months I have become increasingly concerned about Colombia's
neighbors. The adverse social, economic and political conditions,
spawned wholly or in part by drug trafficking and the other
transnational threats that it breeds, are weakening the fabric of
democracy in other nations in the region. For this reason, while I
endorse a "Colombia centric" approach to the drug problem in the
region, I caution against a "Colombia exclusive" approach. While we
assist Colombia in making important strides to reassert its
sovereignty over its territory and to curb growing cultivation, we
should also take appropriate steps to preserve the noteworthy
successes achieved by Peru and Bolivia, and be sensitive to emerging
needs in the bordering countries of Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela and
Brazil. This is truly a regional problem -- as such we must pursue a
regional solution.

Thanks to the hard work of this Caucus and Committee we are edging
closer to the solution to a problem that the Director of the Office of
National Drug Control Policy recently stated claims as many as 52,000
U.S. lives each year. If that grim calculation is correct, the annual
loss of lives to drugs approximates our total losses in Vietnam -- our
nation's longest war. I can assure you of the commitment and
conviction of every man and woman at United States Southern Command to
succeed in this struggle. We know what to do and how to do it; we
simply need the means to put our strategy and plans into motion. The
supplemental that you are now considering will do just that. I urge
your support.