Transformation in the Developing World: An Analysis of Colombia's Security Transformation   [open pdf - 2MB]

"This thesis examines security force transformation issues germane to developing countries, in their attempt to counter emerging threats of international terrorism, insurgency, WMD proliferation and organized crime. Colombia's recent, apparently successful transformation process serves as the case study. This project concludes that the intelligence-based, rapid deployment force (IBRDF) model implemented has contributed significantly to reducing the threat from illegally armed groups (IAGs). Three distinct periods -- military status quo and near defeat (pre-1998), adaptation under President Andres Pastrana (1998-to-2002), and true transformation under President Alvaro Uribe (2002-to-present) -- were assessed to answer how transformation occurred and determine the principle engine behind the change. Although U.S. support for civilian leadership and training of officers facilitated the process, transformation was financed almost entirely by the Colombian government. Overall, research highlights four lessons with broader applicability for other nations: the critical role of civilian leadership; the benefit of existing core competency; the importance of an obedient military leadership that either actively supports the reform or at least acquiesces to it; and the usefulness of foreign assistance in the form of education and training. Corruption and the challenges of police-military cooperation are likely obstacles to the transformation process in developing countries."

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