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Panel Examines Colombia Consolidation

Panelists (L to R) Myles Frechette and Max Manwaring listen to a point made by David Spencer during a Center for Latin American Issues and U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute event on Colombia.

Panelists (L to R) Myles Frechette and Max Manwaring listen to a point made by David Spencer during a Center for Latin American Issues and U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute event on Colombia.

The U.S.-backed consolidation plan for Colombia has not yet succeeded in bringing security to the entire country, partly because there are not enough people in Colombia’s bureaucratic sector to bring needed changes to remote areas.

That view, expressed by Myles Frechette, the former U.S. ambassador to Colombia, was among the opinions voiced at GWSB last week at a panel discussion, “Counterinsurgency in Colombia:  Lessons Learned.” The event was co-sponsored by the Center for Latin American Issues and the U.S. Army War College Strategic Studies Institute (SSI).

Among other topics, panelists discussed the challenges that remain to implementing the Colombian government’s U.S-supported, five-year-old National Consolidation Plan, which is active in historically conflictive regions of Colombia and proposes to combine military and civilian efforts to establish a functioning government, with services for the citizenry, in those areas.

Consolidation has received hundreds of millions of dollars in support from U.S. government agencies, including the Defense Department.

Frechette said Colombia doesn’t have enough civilian resources or technical capacity to fully implement the plan, and the military can’t do it alone.  There also needs to be support at every level of government for the effort.

“You need civilian police so people get used to them, and criminals don’t take advantage,” he said.  There also need to be roads to get goods to market, health care, credit for farmers, education, experts to deal with complex issues of land redistribution, and a regulatory structure to make sure consumer products are safe for sale, use and consumption.

Other panelists included Max Manwaring, SSI professor of military strategy; and David Spencer, professor of national security studies at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies (CHDS) at Fort McNair, Washington, D.C.  The panel was moderated by Col. Louis Jordan, Jr., chairman of the SSI deputy director and chairman of the strategic research and analysis department.

To read more about Colombia’s consolidation effort from the Washington Office on Latin America, a think tank that provides analysis and commentary on Latin America and the Caribbean and promotes human rights in those regions, go here.

 

Posted by gwsb on March 27, 2013 | Filed under: GWSB News.


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