U.S. Elevates River-Combat Role in Colombian 'Counter Narco-Terrorist' Ops

U.S. government “counter narco-terrorism” forces in Colombia are heightening their ability to conduct river-based missions, the most recent step which involves the planned shipment of “mini armored troop carriers,” or MATCs, to Bogota. The U.S. Navy is arranging to deliver up to 10 of the titanium-reinforced, 14-troop capacity MATCs, beginning with four of the watercraft this year and possibly another six by 2007, according to a recently obtained procurement document.

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.”  

About Stephen Peacock

I'm currently a high school English teacher and writer. I'm also a former Washington, DC, journalist, having worked for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily (WID), investigative newsletters that cover the telecommunications, broadcast and Internet industries. Following the 9/11 attacks, my news beat expanded beyond Capitol Hill telecom/TV/IT policy and began to include technology-policy coverage at the Pentagon and Dept. of Homeland Security. I've written over a thousand articles about government and industry affairs, and I'm pleased to say that I was the reporter who broke the story about the Total Information Awareness surveillance/data-collection initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. I've written articles for publications including NACLA Report on the Americas, Drug Enforcement Report, Corrections Journal, and The Tampa Tribune. I've also written a memoir about my former career as a plainclothes security officer of the Helmsley Palace hotel in New York City, Hotel Dick: Harlots, Starlets, Thieves & Sleaze.

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About Stephen Peacock

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Biography
I'm currently a high school English teacher and writer. I'm also a former Washington, DC, journalist, having worked for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily (WID), investigative newsletters that cover the telecommunications, broadcast and Internet industries. Following the 9/11 attacks, my news beat expanded beyond Capitol Hill telecom/TV/IT policy and began to include technology-policy coverage at the Pentagon and Dept. of Homeland Security. I've written over a thousand articles about government and industry affairs, and I'm pleased to say that I was the reporter who broke the story about the Total Information Awareness surveillance/data-collection initiative of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. I've written articles for publications including NACLA Report on the Americas, Drug Enforcement Report, Corrections Journal, and The Tampa Tribune. I've also written a memoir about my former career as a plainclothes security officer of the Helmsley Palace hotel in New York City, Hotel Dick: Harlots, Starlets, Thieves & Sleaze.