15 FEBRUARY 2000


Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the committee, thank you for
the opportunity to appear before you to discuss the narcotics threat
in Colombia and the danger it poses to Colombia's neighbors and to the
U.S. I will describe and assess the drug trafficking threat and its
impact on the U.S. and the region; the adequacy, type, and level of
our counter-drug (CD) support to Colombia; and our strategy and
long-range plan for CD assistance to Colombia. Our proposal for
supporting Plan Colombia provides $1.6 billion in Fiscal Years 2000
and 2001 and will enable Colombia to implement its strategic plan and
seize the initiative in its war against drug trafficking.


Regional Destabilization

The drug threat to Colombia is real, immediate, and growing.. It is a
corrosive force without precedent, relentlessly eroding the
foundations of Colombia's democracy, corrupting her public
institutions, poisoning her youth, ruining her economy, and disrupting
the social order. Colombia must lead the fight against the drug
trafficking, but needs our commitment of financial aid, operational
planning, and intelligence assistance.

Colombia's problems are not contained by her borders, but are spilling
over into neighboring countries. The spillover disrupts life along the
border in Venezuela and is severely straining relations between the
two countries. Venezuela has approximately 10,000 troops deployed
along the border to prevent intrusions, particularly by the National
Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas. Ecuador and Peru also deploy forces
along their borders with Colombia to deter the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia (FARC), paramilitary forces, and drug traffickers
from unwanted incursions. FARC and drug trafficker incursions into the
Amazon region prompted the Brazilian Army to reinforce military
garrisons along the Colombian border and spurred the government to
continue development of the very expensive ($1.4 billion) and
controversial Amazon Surveillance System (SIVAM).

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

Assessment of the Colombian Heroin and Cocaine Industry

Colombia is the world's largest producer of Cocaine due, in large
part, to the Colombian Government's limited internal control. This
weakness allowed traffickers to increase coca production in 1998 by
approximately 24 percent over 1997 and we expect a further increase
for 1999. Despite aerial spraying of over 38,000 acres in Colombia,
potential cocaine production for 1998 may have exceeded 435 metric
tons, with a U.S. street value of approximately $5.4 billion.
Production in 1999 increased by 20 percent over 1998. Despite aerial
spraying of over 38,000 acres in Colombia, potential cocaine
production for 1999 may have exceeded 520 metric tons, with a U.S.
street value of approximately $6.2 billion.

Using air, sea, and overland routes, drug traffickers attempted to
move an estimated 521 metric tons of cocaine from the Source Zone in

1999. Multinational CD efforts interdicted approximately 131 metric
tons, but up to an estimated 381 metric tons, with a U.S. street value
of approximately $4.6 billion, evaded our interdiction efforts and
entered the Transit Zone, potentially destined for the U.S.

Colombia has also become a major center for heroin production, and now
ranks third among the world's heroin producers. Estimated production
potential for 1998 was six metric tons annually.


Colombia has been torn by internal conflict since 1946 and has faced a
continuous insurgency since the early 1960s. Despite GOC efforts to
foster a viable peace process, the FARC and ELN persist in their
aggressive attacks against the nation's infrastructure, military and
police forces, and civilians. There were at least 160 such attacks
during the 6-month period from July to December of 1999, highlighted
by major assaults at Jurado, Puerto Inirida, and Gutierrez.
Paramilitary violence and massacres of civilians also continue.
Paramilitary incursions into Panama against FARC sympathizers have
also occurred. A successful peace process will remain elusive without
a firm U.S. and international commitment to the Government of

The Drug Trafficking Organizations (DTOs) are sophisticated and have
verifiable links to the FARC, ELN, and paramilitary organizations.
Over half of FARC fronts and one-fourth of ELN fronts receive support
from, and provide protection to DTOs. Drug money makes up a major
portion of the FARC's war chest and is the FARC's primary source for
financing forces, combat operations and weapons purchases. Most
paramilitary groups also protect or receive support from DTOs.

Required Intelligence Support to assist the Colombian CD Effort

The success and effectiveness of CD efforts hinge on timely, accurate,
predictive, and actionable intelligence. Proposed funding in the
supplemental bill for U.S. military airborne intelligence assets will
allow Southern Command to provide critical intelligence on drug
smuggling activities in the Source and Transit Zones in Colombia.

We have significant Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance
(ISR) deficiencies in the Source Zone, which prevent us from providing
the timely and actionable tactical intelligence necessary to counter
increasingly diversified and mobile drug trafficking operations. ISR
shortfalls inhibit essential collection on the capabilities,
intentions, and activities of drug traffickers and degrade the
effectiveness of force protection and CD operations.

Correcting some parts of this problem is inexpensive. U.S. assistance
-- including increased information sharing, detection and monitoring,
equipment and training -- requires only a change in policies and
procedures, entailing little added cost to the U.S. taxpayer.
Increased intelligence sharing with Colombia's Armed Forces should
improve performance against drug traffickers.


During the past year, we have provided funding, equipment, training,
facility improvement, and technology support to enhance the
Colombians' capability to fight drug trafficking in their country. We
have focused our support on their ground, air, and riverine programs.

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 over 900 COLAR soldiers and
based with the Joint Task Force (JTF)-South headquarters in Tres
Esquinas, the CN BN consists of a headquarters company, and three line
infantry companies. The battalion completed an extensive three-phased
training program conducted by U.S. Special Forces at a cost of $3.9
million and received $3.5 million worth of individual field equipment,
unit equipment, and medical supplies to enable stand-alone operations.

For tactical mobility, the Department of State provided the battalion
18 refurbished UH-1N helicopters (and accompanying spare parts). Based
at Tolemeida and Florencia, the helicopters are manned by 25 contract
pilots and 14 mission ready Colombian crews trained in the U.S.
Follow-on support equipment (armament and portable hangars) is also
being provided. To keep the aircraft operational, we have budgeted
$2.1 million of monthly Operations and Maintenance (O&M) funding for
the Colombian military. Planning is underway to establish, train, and
equip two additional CN Battalions and a COLAR CN Brigade headquarters
staff in the near future.

To provide the CN Battalion fused, tactical intelligence, we have
helped the GOC establish a Colombian Joint Intelligence Center (COJIC)
which became operational on December 22, 1999, to support military,
police and JTF-South CD operations. The COJIC produces real-time
targeting information, terrain and weather analysis, force protection
vulnerability assessments, and intelligence estimates and assessments.
USSOUTHCOM approved COJIC funding of $4.9 million for construction of
the facility, the required networked computer, communications and
administrative material, upgrade of base infrastructure, and
sustainment costs through mid June 2000. To enhance intelligence
support to the CN Battalion and JTF-South, three U.S. subject matter
experts are deployed to the COJIC through June 2000 to observe and
assist the COLAR and Colombian National Police manning the facility.
To facilitate the, increased operational capabilities programmed for
Tres Esquinas, we have funded significant upgrades to the base. These
upgrades are underway and include extension of the existing aircraft
runway and construction of a ramp. To enhance force protection, we are
spending over $600,000 to correct security deficiencies noted during
earlier assessments.

Support to Air Programs

Southern Command and the inter-agency developed a three-phased CD Air
Interdiction Plan to enhance current GOC capabilities. This plan will
maximize host nation success through a focused, phased air
interdiction operation against drug smuggling aircraft in Colombia.
Operations will integrate Relocatable Over-the-Horizon Radar (ROTHR),
U.S. tracker and detection aircraft, and Colombian air force and
national police aircraft for mission success. Training to implement
this plan will begin this month, followed by 120 days of focused air
interdiction operations.

Support to Riverine Programs

We have continued to support the Colombian riverine program with much
needed boat maintenance spares, armored flotation vests, and night
vision devices. This equipment has allowed the Colombians to increase
the number of Riverine combat elements to 25 (of a projected 45), with
seven advanced riverine bases. Funding is approved for Fiscal Year
2000 for the delivery of eight 25-foot patrol boats, additional spare
parts, night vision devices, and radio/navigation equipment to allow
for expanded coverage of waterways. Training support continues at an
accelerated pace with five U.S. Marine Corps and two Special
Operations Command training deployments planned for this year.


Personal Assessment

As I stated earlier, as Colombia's Problems spill over into
neighboring countries, they threaten the regional stability that is
essential to the growth and sustainment of strong democracies and free
market economies throughout the region. Drug trafficking is a major
contributing factor to Colombia's internal problems. A key to success
in achieving regional stability is to support CD efforts through a
strategy that considers the regional impact of Colombia's
multi-faceted internal conflict.

Two national policy directives guide our counter-drug way ahead: the
Presidential Decision Directive (PDD-14) and the National Drug Control
Strategy (NDCS) Goals Four and Five. This guidance clearly identifies
the importance of effective interdiction and the need to break the
source of the supply of drugs. The NDCS identifies two salient
milestones for Southern Command and the entire Interagency: a
reduction of 10 percent in the Transit Zone and 15 percent in the
Source Zone by 2002; and a reduction of 20 percent in the Transit Zone
and 30 percent in the Source Zone by 2007. The relevant burden falls
primarily on the Government of Colombia -- and our job will be to
prepare them to conduct regional CD operations.

While our efforts for the foreseeable future center around a
Colombia-focused strategy, we also maintain significant efforts in
neighboring nations such as Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Venezuela to
train their counter-drug forces to conduct current operations against
production and transportation of illicit drugs in those nations.
Continued U.S. support of these efforts is crucial to long-term
success in the region since spillover of the problem from Colombia is
a distinct possibility once Colombia's CD forces achieve success.

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. While continuing
interdiction efforts in the Transit Zone during all three phases, the
focus of Phase I will be a prioritized effort to assist Partner
Nations in developing CD capabilities. This requires the U.S. to help
organize, train, and where necessary, equip the Partner Nations to be
able to conduct air, riverine, and ground operations against the drug

Phase II is regional decisive operations where all the Partner Nations
conduct a series of offensive operations to neutralize all aspects of
the illicit drug trade by isolating drug production areas from their
markets and by extending police presence into the drug production

Phase III is the sustainment phase which allows Partner Nations to
adapt to the constantly evolving drug trafficker attempts to
outmaneuver the Partner Nations' military and law enforcement forces.

Importance of the Forward Operating Locations (FOLs)

To realize the full benefits of our CD Campaign Plan, our CD assets
must conduct Source Zone operational support. FOLs provide the
required operational support for conducting sustained operations
throughout the entire Source Zone. Conducting critical ISR missions
from the FOLs will enhance the coupling of U.S. detection and
monitoring assets with partner nation interceptors.

The FOL in Manta, Ecuador is my number one theater architecture
priority. Manta is crucial to attaining deep Source Zone air coverage
with Airborne Early Warning aircraft, and it is the only FOL that
enables us to achieve full coverage of Peru and Colombia and nearly
all of Bolivia. We concluded a long-term access agreement last
November and are now able to operate three medium-size aircraft (e.g.,
P-3 and C-130) from Manta under visual flight rules during daylight
hours. All weather, 24-hour operations will begin this April,
following completion of necessary improvements to satisfy mandated
safety requirements. The Manta FOL military construction in the
proposed supplemental bill will fund infrastructure improvements
required for KC-135 and E-3 aircraft, giving us the ability to conduct
unconstrained Detection, Monitoring, and Tracking operations.

The FOLs at Aruba and Curacao, funded in the Fiscal Year 2001 request,
are essential for us to conduct efficient, rapid response detection
and monitoring operations in the northern Source Zone, to include the
Guajira Peninsula and Venezuelan border region, as well as a large
part of the Transit Zone. Ambassador Brown recently completed
additional talks with The Hague. We expect signing of long-term
agreements with the Dutch Government for the continued use of Aruba
and Curacao on or about the 1st of March. Aruba is our hub of
operations for Customs Service P-3 and C-550 Citation aircraft. Once
construction is complete, Aruba will be able to support all medium
type CD aircraft.

Curacao is currently capable of supporting all types of CD aircraft,
but available ramp space and lodging limit operations to one large,
two medium and six small aircraft. Completed military construction
will enable the FOL to accommodate two large, four medium, and six
small aircraft, such as the F-16 and C-550.

An FOL in Central America is essential to our theater architecture in
light of our departure from Panama. This FOL would ensure air coverage
in the Eastern Pacific and Central America to keep pressure on the
Transit Zone as we build enhanced CD capabilities in the Source Zone.

Operations in Support of "Plan Colombia"

Partnership nation cooperation and "will to succeed" are crucial to
execution of the Southern Command Strategy. The Pastrana
Administration continually demonstrates a commitment to resolve the
problems in Colombia. Colombia developed "Plan Colombia" to regain the
confidence of its citizenry and restore the basic norms of a peaceful
society. The plan has a national focus and covers the wide array of
problems the Government of Colombia faces, from social and economic to
military and judicial. Southern Command's role is to provide support
as part of the interagency team.

Plan Colombia contains specific measures for strengthening human
rights policies; Southern Command has supported Colombia's human
rights programs through training conferences and distribution of Human
Rights handbooks. Colombian troops continually receive human rights
instruction and learn to recognize abuses and how to report them. Plan
Colombia also stresses the importance of earlier prosecution of human
rights abuses. The US Military fully supports the vigorous prosecution
of human rights offenses and recognizes the importance of cooperation
between the civilian and military judicial systems to ensure such

The Office of the Secretary of Defense, Special Operations and Low
Intensity Conflict hired a contractor to perform an assessment of the
Colombian Military and recommend ways to professionalize and modernize
the Armed Forces. The report will lead to the development of a
Colombian National Security Strategy, provide a level of detail
sufficient to plan and program resource requirements, and enable the
Armed Forces to operate and sustain CD forces effectively.

The proposed supplemental appropriations allocated to improved CD
capabilities will advance Colombia's preparations for transitioning to
Phase II of our regional CD strategy. It also will balance the
capabilities of the Colombian military with those of the Colombian
National Police. Colombia will then have the capability to ensure the
necessary security for conducting CD operations.


I have now served at U.S. Southern Command for over 28 months. Shortly
after assuming command and making my initial assessment of security
conditions in my Area of Responsibility (AOR), I asserted that
Colombia was the most threatened nation in the AOR. Even though I
continue to stand behind that assessment, I am cautiously optimistic
about Colombia's future. My optimism stems from several convictions,
two of which I would like to share. First, I have been in and out of
Colombia for more than a decade, and the leadership team that now
guides Colombia's security forces is the best I have seen. In Generals
Tapias, Mora, Velasco, and Serrano and Admiral Garcia, the armed
forces and the national police are now, I believe, in the hands of
those most capable of resolving Colombia's difficult and demanding CD
problem. Second, Colombia has made gains on the battlefield. The
results of the FARC's country-wide offensive during 1999 indicate that
Colombia's security forces are capable of defeating FARC insurgents
and defending Colombia's national territories. I attribute their
successes first and foremost to competent, aggressive leadership at
both tactical and operational levels. Other important factors are
improved intelligence preparation of the battlefield; better
cooperation between the armed forces and national police; improved
air-ground coordination; and more effective command and control. I

predict these favorable trends will continue. While I share the widely
held opinion that the ultimate solution to Colombia's internal
problems lies in negotiations, I am convinced that success on the
battlefield provides the leverage that is a precondition for
meaningful and productive negotiations.

We at Southern Command are genuinely grateful to the members of the
committee for your continued interest and support.