U.S. Elevates River-Combat Role in Colombian 'Counter Narco-Terrorist' Ops
The acquisition of these 36-foot armored boats comes at a time when the U.S. Marine Corps is stepping up its involvement in Colombian riverine counterdrug operations. Earlier this year the U.S. Marines launched a recruitment campaign for a privately contracted Riverine Plans Officer, a role which serves as the primary operations advisor responsible for overseeing strategic and tactical operations conducted in and around Colombian waterways. The Corps established the new position to directly support the U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) Theater Security Cooperation Plan, thereby requiring the candidate to coordinate efforts among U.S. Dept. of Defense and law enforcement agencies, multinational and interagency Global War On Terrorism (GWOT) operations, and Colombian police and military forces.
Plan Colombia and the subsequent Andean Ridge Initiative have elevated the volume of security assistance material, equipment, and training that the U.S. has provided to the Colombian military, the document says. Plus, the support needed to sustain U.S. forces in Colombia has created a significant increase in the missions/responsibilities of the USMILGP and U.S. Marine Corps Forces, South, related to SOUTHCOM and other operations.
In addition to providing combat and tactical training and operations coordination, the Riverine Plans Officer is tasked with incorporating human rights and Geneva Convention instruction into Colombian Marine Corps training. The objective of such training is to ensure that they are knowledgeable of the legal aspects of search and seizure and adhere to high standards during the prosecution of their war on terrorism.