Cablegate: Country Team Assessment On Submarine Combat
DE RUEHBO #0716/01 0572333
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O 262333Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1550
INFO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC//USDP ADMIN// IMMEDIATE
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UNCLAS BOGOTA 000716
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR PGOV PTER CO
SUBJECT: COUNTRY TEAM ASSESSMENT ON SUBMARINE COMBAT
SYSTEMS FOR COLOMBIA
REASON THE PURCHASER DESIRES THE ARTICLE OR SERVICES:
1. The Colombian Navy (COLNAV) seeks to purchase two U.S.
submarine combat systems -- equivalent to either the AN/BYG-1
or SUBICS 9000. This purchase intends to modernize combat
systems and capabilities on the Navy's two Type 209
submarines and keep them operational for an estimated 20
HOW THE ARTICLE OR SERVICES WOULD AFFECT THE RECIPIENTS FORCE
2. The capabilities that a submarine combat system provides
to the COLNAV structure include the modernization of their
submarine fleet, a part of an overall Colombian modernization
plan intended to meet future regional threats and
interoperability with the U.S. Navy.
HOW THE ARTICLE OR SERVICES WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO BOTH U.S. AND
THE RECIPIENT'S DEFENSE SECURITY GOAL:
3. Based on new information from the Navy and Drug
Enforcement Administration regarding the dramatically
increasing threat of Self-Propelled Semi Submersible (SPSS)
craft in the illegal drug trade, and the key role Colombian
submarines play against the SPSS and other threats in
counter-narcotics operations both in territorial waters and
the open ocean, we have reassessed our position and recommend
the transfer. The initial country team assessment (MSG DTG
052040ZJULl07), withheld recommendation for approval due to
insufficient information from the GOC on the growing threat
posed by SPSSs, and the role submarines play in
counter-narcotics operations. The systems will also enhance
the Navy's ability to assist in maintaining the maritime
security of the Caribbean Basin and the Pacific. The GOC
maintains a concentrated effort, supported by the United
States, to end a 40 year narcotics trafficking supported
insurgency. The Country Team concluded that enhancing the
GOC's submarine assets will improve the its ability to
interdict outgoing narcotics and incoming contraband
shipments that support the Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia (FARC) insurgency and other narco-terrorist groups.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE TYPE AND QUANTITY OF ARTICLES OR
4. The Navy requests two submarine combat systems equivalent
either to the AN/BYG-1 or SUBICS 9000, one for each diesel
type 200 submarine. The COLNAV currently has two type 209
diesel submarines that perform counter narco-terrorism
operations and intelligence gathering. However, the current
systems date from the early 1970's and are obsolete.
Although the submarines can detect narcotics carrying go-fast
and other vessels, the sonar cannot auto-track, thus greatly
limiting their ability to interdict. With the installation
of the new system, the sonar will auto-track potential enemy
vessels and the narcotics-carrying SPSSs.
ANTICIPATING REACTIONS OF NEIGHBORING NATIONS:
5. Given the low-profile nature of the request ("invisible"
systems upgrades to already deployed submarines), we expect
little reaction from Colombia's neighbors. Still, we have
seen a recent increase in tensions between Colombia and
Venezuela over Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez calls to
remove the FARC from international terrorism lists, and
increasingly hostile rhetoric from Chavez. Chavez could use
the systems upgrades as new "evidence" for his long-standing
and oft-repeated accusations that the USG and GOC are
plotting against him. We do not consider that sufficient
reason to hold on the sale, and Chavez will almost certainly
continue to make those accusations with or without the sale.
ASSESSMENT OF NATION'S ABILITY TO ACCOUNT FOR, SAFEGUARD,
OPERATE, MAINTAIN, AND SUPPORT THE ARTICLES:
6. The Navy has demonstrated proper security safeguard
procedures, operations, maintenance, and support of control
technologies, and the Country Team assesses the Navy can
effectively account for, safeguard, operate, maintain, and
support the articles requested.
TRAINING IN-COUNTRY & U.S. PRESENCE THAT MIGHT BE REQUIRED AS
A RESULT OF PROVIDING THE ARTICLES:
POSSIBLE IMPACT OF ANY IN-COUNTRY U.S. PRESENCE THAT MIGHT BE
REQUIRED AS A RESULT OF PROVIDING THE ARTICLES:
SOURCE OF FINANCING AND THE ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE PROPOSED
9. The COLNAV told us they will utilize funding allotted
through recent war tax legislation.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONSIDERATION RELEVANT TO THE PROPOSED
10. None anticipated.
A PLAN FOR END-USE MONITORING FOR SENSITIVE AND ADVANCED WAR
FIGHTING TECHNOLOGY AND THE SAO'S PLAN FOR COMPLIANCE
11. The Security Assistance Officer (SAO) will verify
compliance by recurring observation and review of these
systems installed aboard their type 209 submarines. The SAO
will notify the Navy via official correspondence when the
annual inspections will take place. The SAO will execute
inspections via the handbook for the Foreign Military Sales
(FMS) transfer of controlled technology and end use
monitoring and the letter of offer and acceptance guidance.
Historically, the COLNAV provided detailed end use monitoring
reports to the SAO, and has received support via end use
monitoring visits by the appropriate mission.
RECOMMENDATIONS AS TO WHETHER THE USG SHOULD APPROVE TRANSFER
OF THE ARTICLES AND JUSTIFICATION:
12. The Country Team recommends approval. The purchase would
enhance the GOC drug and weapons interdiction capabilities
and counter the emerging SPSS threat, thereby limiting the
ability of both drug and terrorist organizations to generate
income and re-supply. In this way the programs expect to
contribute to the resolution of Colombia's internal conflict.
The systems will also provide COLNAV submarines with more
interoperability with U.S. Navy Forces.