Cablegate: Plan Colombia: Nationalization of Fmf/Dod Funding


DE RUEHBO #1167/01 0882113
R 282113Z MAR 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. In keeping with expected cuts in U.S. military
assistance, post has drafted a nationalization plan that
steadily transfers current USG funded programs to the GOC.
The strategy identifies eight funding priorities aimed at 1)
achieving the "irreversibility" of Colombian military
momentum against illegal armed groups in the near term; and
2) maintaining the influence needed to lock in the GOC as a
strategic regional partner in the long term. The plan
proposes to manage the transition to achieve a "soft
landing," providing continuity in key programs that safeguard
USG counternarcotic and counterterrorism interests. End

The Nationalization Imperative

2. The U.S. Congress has asked the Departments of State and
Defense for a strategy which gradually reduces military
assistance under Plan Colombia, while boosting spending on
governance, humanitarian, and development programs. Both
Foreign Military Funding (FMF) and Department of Defense
(DOD) assistance will sharply decline in FY-2008 due to
shifting U.S. priorities and the GOC's enhanced capacity to
assume more of these costs. Per the Congressional tasking,
post's plan to transfer programs funded by FMF and DOD to the
GOC aims to manage the transition in a transparent,
predictable manner that minimizes disruptions and ensures
continuity in key programs vital to USG counternarcotics and
counterterrorism policies.

Past Plan Colombia Funding: FY'03 - FY'08
(in USD millions)

FY'03 FY'04 FY'05 FY'06 FY'07 FY'08
----- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
FMF 14.2 99.7 91.7 90.8 87.2 55.0
DOD 25.0 36.0 48.0 70.2 54.7 47.7
---- ----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Total 39.2 135.7 139.7 161.0 141.9 102.7

FMF/DOD Phased Funding Plan

3. Post has divided its engagement with the Colombian
military from 2003-2013 into three phases: build,
consolidate, and strategic partnership.

-- Phase I: FY'03 - FY'07 -- "Build Phase"
This phase aimed to build the Colombian military's
capabilities, allowing it to project power into unsecured
areas and to establish government presence. It enabled the
Colombian military to transition from a defensive approach to
a mobile offensive strategy. Funding in this phase supported
the Colombian military's "Plan Patriota" campaign plan.

-- Phase II: FY'08 - FY'10 -- "Consolidate Phase"
This phase aspires to help the Colombian military consolidate
recent gains and to ensure the irreversibility of
territorial, security and infrastructure advances. During
this period FMF/DOD funding will decline. Still, Phase II
funding must remain as level as possible over the FY'08 -
FY'10 period so as not to threaten gains made to date by the
Colombian military.

-- Phase III: FY'11 and beyond -- "Strategic Partnership
This phase will work to ensure that the Colombian military
remains a U.S. strategic regional partner. Funding during
this phase will reduce to its lowest levels since FY'03, but
must continue at a sufficient level to maintain U.S.
influence and to protect core counternarcotics and
counterterrorism interests.

Forward Funding Priorities
4. Post's proposed funding strategy continues cuts in U.S.
military assistance begun in Phase II, but suggests a more
gradual approach that ensures the "irreversibility" of
Colombian military gains and will maintain a Colombian
"strategic partnership" with the U.S. in Phase III. The
strategy builds around maintaining USG funding for those
programs which are necessary to both phases. Post identified
20 of its 60 FMF/DOD funded programs as "Golden Threads" -
programs vital to "irreversibility" and essential for
"strategic partnership". The twenty "Golden Thread" programs
are divided below into eight program areas (with the
approximate percentage of FY'08 funds (FMF/DOD) dedicated to
each program also shown):

- Rotary Wing Operations (30%): to support vital air mobility
with a training center and a depot, also bridging sustainment
costs (for pilots and mechanics) of nationalized helicopters;

- Ground Operations (20%): for special operations against
high value targets (HVTs), a joint training center for jungle
operations, and liaison teams for interservice

- Riverine Operations (12%): to boost the riverine
interdiction and counterguerrilla effort with a Marine
training facility, and sustainment costs for riverine forces;

- Governability (6%): to fortify GOC presence in all the
national territory through civil affairs, countermining
operations, and humanitarian assistance programs;

- Fixed Wing Operations (10%): for direct air support to
military operations through a pilot training school,
precision armaments, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and
sustainment of attack and transport aircraft;

- Naval Interdiction (7%): to support counterdrug efforts
through Coast Guard operations and training, Navy maritime
operations, and interoperability among military branches;

- Intelligence and Communications (5%): intelligence
integration and joint communications networks for secure
sharing of information across service branches;

- Joint Initiatives (10%): a set of projects to modernize and
transform the armed forces in the areas of logistics,
military justice, personnel management, mobile training
teams, and academic education (e.g. English).

Near Goal: "Irreversibility"

5. From FY'08 to FY'10, the emphasis will fall into three
categories--rotary wing, ground, and riverine
operations--which remain key to making Colombia
self-sufficient in fighting narcoterrorism, per the original
aims of Plan Colombia. As articulated by Minister of Defense
Juan Manuel Santos, the goal is to reach a tipping point, or
a point of irreversibility, in the GOC's fight against the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other
illegal armed groups. In this scenario, the GOC will have
established sufficient territorial control, governance, and
military capacity to prevent a weakened FARC or other
criminal groups from ever again threatening the Colombian
state, military, or civilian population. To help Colombia
achieve this goal, post proposes that FMF funding remain
roughly constant at the FY-08 level through the end of
President Uribe's term in 2010. This will enable a
predictable, smooth transition through the first year of the
new administration, as well as allowing for a final
assessment of the political and security situation before
implementing further budget cuts.

Proposed Plan Colombia Funding: FY'08 - FY'12
(in USD millions)

FY'08 FY'09 FY'10 FY'11 FY'12
----- ----- ----- ----- -----
FMF 55.0 66.4 65.0 55.0 45.0
DOD 47.7 45.0 43.0 35.0 25.0
----- ----- ----- ----- -----
Total 102.7 111.4 108.0 90.0 70.0

FY'09 and FY'10 FMF Caveats

6. The FY-09 request closely tracks the FY-08 request, but
calls for USD 11 million of additional FMF that would fund
aviation repairs, fuel truck support, and counter mine
equipment. In FY'10, as detailed in the Mission Strategic
Plan (MSP), post seeks USD 65 million in FMF to sustain these
activities. Still, to preserve key rotary airlift
capability, post recommends that an additional USD 20 million
in FMF be included to implement joint sustainment and
training programs such as the Joint Rotary Wing School, as
well as procure 12 training helicopters and UAVs for enhanced
interdiction, river, and border security.

End State: Strategic Partnership

7. From FY'11 onward, the plan moves toward a long-term,
steady-state relationship with the Colombian military. The
envisioned end state consists of a strategic partnership that
works together to achieve bilateral regional security
objectives. The relationship will focus on finding
value-added ways the U.S. can uniquely support the GOC to
strengthen its institutions and skills, as well as its
capacity to sustain bi/multilateral operations against
narcoterrorists. The vision contemplates an eventual
post-conflict scenario, in which the GOC and USG frees its
resources from operations against FARC terrorists and can
dedicate them to counternarcotics. Ultimately, long-term
projects such as training facilities aim to maintain U.S.
influence needed to lock the GOC in as a strategic partner
supporting U.S. interests in Latin America.

Coordination with the GOC

8. Post has coordinated the "Golden Thread" nationalization
strategy with the Colombian military at all levels. Since
November 2007, MILGRP officials have met on several occasions
with Minister of Defense Santos, Vice Minister of Defense
Pinzon, Chief of Defense General Padilla, and all Colombian
Service Chiefs. MILGRP met with General Padilla on March 6
to discuss the lower FY'08 FMF funding level. Santos stated
that the USG strategy supports the Colombian military's
"Consolidation" strategy, as long as funding cuts remain
predictable and gradual, especially in Phase II. A
well-planned transition and nationalization in Phase II will
allow the Colombian military to gradually boost its funding
to compensate, thus ensuring irreversibility of GOC security
gains by 2010.


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