FARC – Lessons Learned


by Sam Culper

MSG Morgan recently covered this article over at his excellent SIGINT blog, and suggested that I take a stab at explaining some lessons learned.

In my relatively short career, I only had cursory experience with South American insurgencies but was no stranger to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).  We studied their employment of improvised explosive devices (IED) before my first tour in Afghanistan.  Many may believe that IEDs are unique to the Middle East and Southwest Asia, but the Irish Republican Army (IRA) used them prolifically in the 70s and 80s, and then the Viet Cong before that.  (You could even make an argument that the first IEDs were employed by European resistance fighters against Nazi occupation back in the 1940s.)

So, at any rate, the FARC are no strangers to the use of IEDs.  They were the FARC modus operandi for decades.  In similar fashion to Dan’s article, I’ll enumerate my thoughts.

The 50-year-old Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), once considered the best-funded insurgency in the world, is at its smallest and most vulnerable state in decades, due in part to a CIA covert action program…


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