Although Colombia has one of the most active military forces in the world, most of its experience is based on a counterinsurgency fight, so in a war scenario, its capacity could be limited.
This aspect is very present among the military high command and the Ministry of Defense, and that is why for several years, the Navy, the Air Force and the Army rub shoulders with other militias of the world to improve their capabilities in the battlefield.
An example of this is what happens in June and July, the forces are preparing to participate in two of the most important simulated combat exercises in the world, in which they also share with other countries. The Navy will do it in Rim of the Pacific Exercise (Rimpac), and the Air Force, in Red Flag.
Rimpac is a maritime exercise organized by the United States in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, every two years since 1971, with different navies in the world and which seeks to improve interoperability among the armies of Pacific Ocean countries, in addition to promoting and maintaining cooperative relations to ensure the safety of river routes and safety on the high seas.
In this, which is considered the largest naval exercise on the planet, 27 countries, 47 warships, five submarines, 18 ground forces, more than 200 aircraft and some 25,000 people will participate.
Colombia, although in previous versions had already participated with the Frigate Misilera Almirante “Padilla”, a helicopter type BO 105 and a detachment of Special Forces of Marine Infantry, for this year will be with four officers of the institution.
“They will integrate the General Staff of the operating units and the staffs during the fiscal year. One of them will be embarked in the USS Boxer (American ship type helicopter carriers) and the remaining three will be a fundamental part of the combined component of Maritime Forces.
Apart from Colombia, Latin America will also be present with Peru, Mexico, Brazil and Chile, which for this year, will be the first country in this area of the world to be in charge of driving the entire maritime component of the coordinated forces in Rimpac.
On the other hand, the Kfir fighter jets and the KC767 tanker of the Air Force will depart in the first days of July towards Las Vegas, Nevada (USA) to the Red Flag exercise, considered also one of the most important in the category of aerial combat and that like the Rimpac, it is organized by the United States.
National aircraft, as already happened in the previous participation of the aforementioned activity, will be face to face with the best pilots from the United States, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom and Holland and will face different scenarios of air-air and air-ground encounters.
To get to the demanding air exercise, in which Colombia will be the only Latin country present, the Air Force Kfir squad completed a long training, supervised by American experts, at the Palanquero air base, located in Puerto Salgar, Cundinamarca.
“We were carrying out an operational exercise in preparation for the Red Flag, called Large Force Employment (LFE), in which a large number of aircraft with different capacities interact to maintain our air superiority. This allows us to improve our techniques, tactics and interoperability under NATO rules, “explained General Pablo García, commander of the Combat Air Command N ° 1.
The officer added that in order to demand the maximum number of Kfir crews, other combat aircraft were used, such as the A37 DragonFly and the A29 Súpertucano.
And what are they for?
On the need for the different Colombian forces to attend military exercises with other countries, this newspaper consulted different experts in security and defence, who agree that the country has the recognition of organized military forces, highly operational and that have a wide experience.
Erich Saumeth , analyst and researcher on defense issues and issues, explains that the capabilities that are held in Colombia “have attracted the attention of the international community”, especially because of the work that has been done in an irregular conflict that demands of counterinsurgency, fight against drug trafficking, detection of explosives, among others.
“We have already left one of the stages of the internal armed conflict, now we must think about equipping ourselves and preparing ourselves for the main reason to which the Armed Forces are responsible, which is the defence and sovereignty of our territory. That is why this type of exercise is vital to know how our uninformed people are doing, aircraft and ships, but also so that they acquire new knowledge of other forces that can count on different experiences, especially in conventional conflicts “, added the expert.
Coinciding that all these international exercises serve to obtain knowledge and that they are fundamental so that the Military Forces of countries are connected with what is happening in the rest of the world, Jhon Marulanda , international consultant in security and defense, adds that “it is vital that know the technology used by the most advanced nations, it is also a new phase of training that is very useful for the personnel of the different forces “.
However, Marulanda is concerned about the current internal situation in the country and sees some disadvantage in this type of international exercises.
“Being outside means acquiring a lot of knowledge, which is positive, but their scenarios are not specifically based on the threats that persist here such as drug trafficking, displacement, among others. Therefore, the question is how to apply here what is learned outside with other technologies and equipment that we do not have, the problem is lack of resources, not knowledge, “he says.
Objective: Peace Missions
The idea of having current and updated Military Forces also passes through the commitments that the country acquired with international organizations such as the UN and the Ott.
For this reason, by the end of this year, the new Task Force Colombia will be operational, which will be responsible for coordinating all the country’s participation in the system of peacekeeping operations that the United Nations has throughout the world.
Deputy Defense Minister Anibal Fernandez de Soto says that President Juan Manuel Santos promised that initially, Colombia’s participation in peacekeeping missions would be with military observers, the second step is to have approximately 900 uninformed in those programs and in the future The idea is to have up to 5,000 members of the Public Force deployed for global peace.
“The idea is to deploy the units in 2019, what we are doing this year is to study in great detail with the UN which missions we can participate in, taking into account the capabilities we have, our specialties and the needs of the UN. This is a gradual, progressive process and that is why we go step by step, “added the deputy minister.
Task Force Colombia, will initially have two infantry companies, each of 107 uninformed; a company of special forces, made up of 145 members; a support and services company for combat, which will have 107 people; an airline with 40 members; a group of 54 officers, who will be in the general staff of that task force and additionally the component of the Police, which will be called the Formed Police Unit, which will have 140 men and women.
On this new force, the Deputy Minister of Defense clarified that this future military deployment “will go through the filter that our internal needs are the priority. To the extent that we progress in our issues, overcoming threats. Already the issue of Farc is from the past, we are on the subject of organized crime and Eln and that is a priority, as we move forward because we can offer more capabilities and personnel to these missions. ”
Source: El Colombiano