From June 6 to 14, 2012, Colombia hosted the 9th annual FUERZAS COMANDO exercise at the Colombian National Training Center on Fort Tolemaida. During this time special operations forces from 21 countries engaged in an eight-day military skills competition, testing their physical strength and tactical abilities. The 17 grueling events are meant to challenge even the most skilled competitors in order to select the best of the elite military forces in the Western Hemisphere. The exercise seeks to build camaraderie and strengthen bonds between the countries involved and to promote cooperation on common issues that affect the region. By training together, the participants gain a better understanding of each others’ tactics and capabilities, ensuring a more successful response to any situation.
Concurrently, the FUERZAS COMANDO exercise also hosted a Senior Leader Seminar in Bogota for military leaders to exchange ideas and improve military-to-military relations and to discuss regional security issues, such as countering transnational organized crime. Both events were intended to build relationships and strengthen ties between the participating nations. CHDS Professors Carlos Ospina, Celina Realuyo, Boris Saavedra, and David Spencer participated in the distinguished visitors program as panelists and moderators, during which they discussed the national security threats posed by transnational criminal organizations in the Western Hemisphere. They were joined by CHDS alumnus BG (ret.) Augusto Alvarez from Peru and Ricardo Gómez Hecht from El Salvador, who shared their countries’ perspectives. FUERZAS COMANDO is a US Southern Command-sponsored event for which Special Operations Command South is the executing command. “FUERZAS COMANDO is an important opportunity for us to demonstrate the role the US plays in the region by linking the special operations forces, improving US capabilities, and sharing ideas on how to face common threats like dangerous non-state actors,” said Navy Rear Admiral. Thomas L. Brown II, Commander of Special Operations Command South.