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Coalition Warfare In Latin America
CSC 1992
SUBJECT AREA National Military Strategy
Title:  Coalition Warfare In Latin America
Author:  Major R. A.  Colbert, United States Air Force
Thesis:  Coalition warfare problems in Latin America would
be different from those of the recent Gulf War because the
Gulf War was high-intensity and conflict in Latin America 
would be low-intensity.
Background:  Coalition warfare has been a winning way of war
since the anti-Napoleon coalition of 1813-1814   Desert Storm
and the alliance against Napoleon involved conventional
conflict.   The problems associated with low-intensity
coalition warfare include those associated with conventional
coalition warfare as well as many others not common to
conventional or high-intensity coalition warfare.   In Latin
America, before any successful low-intensity coalition
warfare principles can be addressed or developed,
significant socioeconomic, political,  as well as military
issues must be reformed.   Historically, the majority of
U.S.  involvement in Latin America has been military. 
Latin Americans feel the U.S. should provide more than military
support.   There must also be social and economic help.
Recommendation: U.S. follow through with National Security
Strategy for the 1990's.   Provide a full range of political
social   economic, and military support.
Thesis:  Coalition warfare problems  in Latin America would
               be different from those of the recent Gulf War
               because the Gulf War was high-intensity and
               conflict in Latin America would be low-intensity.
I.  	Problems of coalition warfare
        	A.  	Successful coalition warfare
        	B.  	Problems of coalition warfare in conventional
        	C.  	Problems of coalition warfare in low-intensity
II. 	Future conflict in Latin America
        	A.  	Poverty the main reason
        	B.  	Changes in societies
        	C.  	Past repressions
        	D.  	Foreign debt and drug trade
III.   	U.S. intervnetion in Latin America
        	A.  	Past U.S. intervention
        	B.  	Latin American attitudes toward U.S. intervention
        	C.  	Future U.S.  intervention
                                    by  Major Ronald A. Colbert
                                       United States Air Force
      	In 1991, during Desert Storm, the allied efforts of the
United States (U.S.) and thirty-eight other countries that
decisively ejected Iraqi forces from Kuwait provided a
successful blueprint for future U.S. conflict.  This
successful blueprint of coalition warfare is woven
into U.S. policy for building the new world order.
      	The stable foundation or our security will continue
      	to be a common effort with peoples with whom we
      	share fundamental moral and political values and
      	security interests.   Increasingly we may find
      	ourselves in situations in which our interests are
      	congruent with those of nations not tied to us by
      	formal treaties.   As in the Gulf, we may be acting
      	in hybrid coalitions that include not only
      	traditional allies but also nations with whom we
      	do not have a mature history of diplomatic and
      	military cooperation or, indeed, even a common
      	political or moral outlook.  (12:13)
Although highly successful, the Desert Storm coalition did
experience some problems that are inherent to coalition
warfare.   History (besides Desert Storm) provides us with
examples of coalition warfare as well as some of the
associated problems.
      	By most accounts, Desert Storm was considered a con-
ventional war which categorizes its associated coalition
warfare problems as problems of conventional coalition
warfare.   Since portions of U.S. fighting Vietnam were
conventional and unconventional or  low-intensity  we may be
able to identify some coalition warfare problems associated
with low-intensity conflict.   By considering coalition
warfare problems associated with high and low-intensity con-
flict, we are provided an appropriate background to better
pursue the thesis of this paper.   Coalition warfare problems
in Latin America would be different from those of the recent
Gulf War because the Gulf War was high-intensity and con-
flict in Latin America would be low-intensity.
      	High-intensity coalition warfare problems can be catego-
rized as "technical" or "perception" problems.   The
"technical" problems are the obvious kind of problems one
would expect when two different units or nations attempt to
work together to achieve a common goal.   If they speak
different languages then communications will be a problem.
If these units or nations have different organizational
structures then they must ensure organizatinal compati -
bility.   This is true for command relationships, procedures
and equipment, cultural differences, or for any task the
coalition members accomplish together.
      	The "perception" problems occur in a coalition when one
member attempts to infuence another as result of political
or personal desire.   Usually these "perception" problems
evolve from the higher political or military levels of the
coalition.   For example, if one member of a coalition is
significantly stronger than another militarily,
economically,   technologically  or otherwise, the weaker
 member of a coalition may perceive that the stronger member
will dominate or control the coalition.   Or the stronger
member may perceive the weaker member is incapable of
performing a particular task for some unfounded reason.  (2)
      	Since the military alliance against Napoleon  (1813-
1814) , coalition warfare has become a winning way of war.
According to Dr.  Gordon A. Craig, author of Problems of
Coalition Warfare, the military alliance or coalition
against Napoleon had problems establishing an effective
command strucute, reaching agreement on war aims, exercising
operational efficiency, and problems caused by improper
government control over commanders in the field.  (3)
      	The problems with command structure, war aims, and
their effects on operational effiency are somewhat predicta-
ble owing to different national policies and interests of the
anti-Napoleon alliance.   These are the "technical" type
problems.   However, the problems involving improper govern-
ment control require further review.   The members of the
anti-Napoleonic alliance included Russia, Prussia, Sweden,
and Austria.   Since the Austrian force was the largest
single contingent,  Austria would have the decisive voice to
determine the supreme commander of the coalition.
Nevertheless, the Russian Tsar attempted to influence the
section of the supreme commander to increase Russian
influence at the Supreme Headquarters.   The Austrian ruler
perceived the Russian attempt to politicize the coalition
military leadership and acted  to prevent it.
 	Although a complete historical analysis of lessons
learned for  Desert  Storm is currently not available, the
Marine Corps Lessons Learned  (MCLLS) Data base does present
some coalition warfare situations that contribute  to  this
effort.   For combined operations  (coalition warfare), MCLLS
recommends liaison officers are needed to address
differences in language, doctrine, tactics, symbology,
capabilities, organization and structure.  (6)
      	For Desert Storm (the thirty-nine member allied coa-
lition), MCLLS indicates at least fifty liaison officers
were required for the Marine Expeditionary Force.  We don't
know how many liaison officers were required for the U.S.
Army, Navy, and Air Force.   But, using the Marine Corps
liaison requirment for Desert Storm (fifty) as a guage, the
total number of liaison officers for the U.S. Army, Navy,
and air Force was considerably more than fifty.  Again, the
liaison officers would resolve "technical" problems.
      	A high level US Marine Corps source perceived two
possible problems with operational security during Desert
Storm.   One problem involved all coalition troops tele-
phoning relatives at home.   The concern was that troops
could inadvertantly reveal  some detail (s) of military oper-
ational plans for Desert  Storm.   The other problem involved
some coalition members' communications equipment.   The con-
cern was whether the enemy could compromise the equipment in
question and discover coalition plans.    These  were
"perception" problems.
      	Before  we look at coalition problems associated with
low-intensity conflict, defining low-intensity conflict
should prove helpful .   Low -intensity conflict encompasses
such a broad range of activity or combinations of events and
circumstances that an attempt at definition is only possible
through a broad framework.  According to Military Operations
In Low Intensity Conflict:
      	Low--intensity conflict is a political-military con-
      	frontation between contending states or groups below
      	conventional war and above the routine, peaceful
      	competition among states.  It frequently involves
      	protracted struggles of competing principles and
      	ideologies.  Low-intensity conflict ranges from
      	subversion  to  the use of armed force.  It is waged
      	by a combination of means, employing political,
      	economic, informational, and military instruments.
      	Low-intensity conflicts are often localized generally
      	in the Third World, but contain regional and global
      	implications.  (5:1-1)
      	Although the war in Vietnam protrayed high and low-
intensity conflict we want to consider the low-intensity
portion.  In Vietnam the coalition comprised the Republic of
South Vietnam and the U.S.  Coalition warfare problems were
language/communications,  cultural differences, some
Vietnamese perceptions of U.S. forces (particularly some
U.S. advisors to South Vietnamese military units),
difficulty identifying friend or foe due to the lack of
distinguishable uniforms, unpopular and corrupt government,
and masses  in poverty.    Before the war escalated to
increased high-intensity, the U.S. Marine Corps advisors
helped organize and  train  South  Vietnamese  Marines  according
to U.S.  Marine  Corps  organizational structures and equipment
procedures.    Due to poor economic conditions, the U. S.  sub-
sidized the South Vietnamese military.  (10)
	What is apparent from the review of problems associated
with low-intensity conflict in Vietnam is that the
"technical " and "perceived"   high-intensity coalition warfare
problems are common to low-intensity coalition warfare as
well.   But in the low-intensity, third world or developing
nation context, there are the additional coalition warfare
problems that do not usually exist in high-intensity
      	A developing nation is one which has advanced beyond
      	a traditional society and is struggling toward
      	becoming an economically and socially advanced nation
      	with an efficient, popularly supported government.
      	In order to achieve these goals, a nation must over-
      	come the handicaps which are characteristic of an
      	underdeveloped society.   These are:  a static
      	economy, limited technology, immobile social structure,
      	and rule by custom and traditional process.  (11:1)
These coalition warfare problems which are only peculiar to
low-intensity conflict are the ones which must be dealt with
before those coalition warfare problems common to low and
high-intensity coalition warfare can be addressed.
      	According to Dr. Lewis B. Ware of Low-Intensity
Conflict In The Third World,  "Latin America possesses
certain inherent and acquired characteristics associated
with the development and proliferation of low-intensity con-
flict "  (12:81)   "Professor Lars Schoultz, director of the
University of North Carolina Institute of Latin America
Studies, affirms that there is widespread agreement that
poverty underlies instability in the region [Latin America].
But he rhetorically questions why peasants, who have suffered
in silence, poverty and political repression for centuries,
have now suddenly decided to rise up in insurrection.  He 
tions' spurred by structural changes of the  Latin
American societies, particularly changes in transportation
and communication. "  (4:4.4)
      	The increasing awareness and political mobilization of
the peasants to improve their circumstances, too often in
the  past  was met with unwillingness by the governing elite
to make  the  social  and economic changes.    This  unwillingness
often came in the form of brutal repression which drove many
peasants to become radicals and to join insurgencies.   One
also has to factor into the socioeconomic situation the
impact of hopelessness resulting from staggering foreign
debt and the perpetuation of government corrupting encour-
aged by the  drug trade.   These factors contribute to a
significant likelihood for conflict in Latin America.
	The hope for decreasing the possibilities of conflict
in Latin America rests,  in part,  with
	. . . such reform-minded leaders as Argentina's
      	Carlos Menem, Brazil`s Fernando Collor de Mello,
      	Peru's Alberto Fujimori, Mexico's Carlos Salina
      	de Gotari and Venezuela's Carlos Andres Perez have
      	spent the past several years trying to halt
      	inflation, cut government spending, sell money-
      	losing state enterprises and generally remake their'
      	nations' economies.  (8:24)
Although these and other Latin American leaders are making
noteworthy  progress, it is very difficult to determine if
the general  public attitudes of distrust and lack of confi-
dence regarding the governments persist or are changing.
The reason these attitudes are so difficult to change is:
	Attitudes the first colonists here [Latin America]
	bought from Span, such as acceptance of centralized
	authority and established procedures, a certain fatalism
	in the face of obstacles and such love of slathering         
      official  papers  with  seals  and  stamps  that  even  the
      simplest  of  documents . . .  end  up  looking  like  a
      petition to the  royal  court  in  Madrid.   (8:24)
Even  the  tendency  for  military  coups  is  traced  to  the  pro-
pensity  to  look  for  easy,  one-shot  solutions  to  difficult
      	Historically  it  would  appear  that  U.S.  involvement  in
Latin  America has been of a one-sided, military nature.  From the
Spanish-American  War  of  1812  to  the  Panama  invasion,  history
indicates  that  U.S.  intervention  in  Latin  America  was  either
direct  military  or  military  related  involvement.    but  during
this  same period,  the  U.S.  attempted  to promote  democracy
and  economic  reform  and  discourage  corrupt  government.
      	Latin  American  believe  most  U.S.  officials  consider
force  the  appropriate  response  to  Latin  American  problems.
Major  Eduardo  Aldunate  of  the  Chilean  army  says:
      Many  U.S.  observers,  especially military  professionals,
      believe  that  the  problems  of  subversion  and  drug
      trafficking  in  Latin  America  have  military  solutions
      or  that  using  force  should  be  the  primary  means  of
      dealing  with  these  problems.    Also,  it  seems  that  the
      leaders  of  more  developed  countries  think  they  can
      `advise'  the  military  of  developing  countries  within
      the  framework  of  an  established  doctrine  of  low-
      intensity  conflict.    This  idea  apparently  is  based  on
      the  conviction  that  the  military  institutions  of  these
      countries are  not  doing  their  job  well  and  that
      little  advice   could  help  solve  the  region's
      enormous  problems    (1:80)
Three  prominent  Honduran    Interviewed  during  U. S.  involve-
ment  with  the  Nicaraguan  Contras  support  U.S.  military
intervention  the  region  but,  they  also  say U.S.  support  for
political,  social,  economic  and  judicial  reforms   are
necessary for regional stability in Latin America.  (9:31,54)                                
political , socioeconomic,  military  as  well  as efforts to
understand  Latin  American  culture by  the  international
community  will  ensure  successful  reform  in  the  region.
      	The  U.S.  recognizes Latin  American  efforts  at  reform
with  the  resurgence  of  democracy--Nicaragua,  Haiti,  Panama,
and  the  desire  to  build  strong  economic  markets  in  the
region.    This  recognition  of  reform  is  reflected  in  current
U.S.  policy  for  Latin  America.    In  terms  of  military  support,
the  U.S.  will  continue  to  promote professionalism,  civilian  rule
over  military  rule, and  respect  for  human  rights.    A
major  effort  to  support  both  democratic  and  economic  reforms
is  the  new  Enterprise  for  the Americas  Initiative.
      This  initiative  ...  sets  out a  vision  of  hemispheric
      prosperity  achieved  through  expanded  trade,  increased
      investment,  reduced  debt  burdens  and  important  support
      for  protection  of  the  hemishpere's  vital  national
      heritage.    In  addition  ...  [the  U.S.]  proposed  a
      specific  trade  preference  system  to  help  Andean
      countries  break  out  of  their  dependence  on  illegal
      drug  crops.   (13:8)
	Naturally  these  assistance  programs  require the coordination
and  support  of  regional  organizations  like  the  Organization
Of  American  States  (OAS).    (The  OAS  is  the  oldest  interna-
tional  regional  organization  in  the  world.    It  provides  a
forum  for  political ,  economic,  social ,  and  cultural  coopera-
tion  among the  member  states  of the  Western  Hemisphere. (7)
      	By  encouraging  and  supporting  reform  in  Latin  America,
the U.S. efforts go a long  way  toward  deepening  the  sense  of
partnership,  common  interest  and  trust.    These ingredients
 help eliminate the factors and conditions that prevent 
the establishment and growth of alliances, and provide for
successful coalitions like the United Nations coalition of
Desert Storm and the alliance against Napoleon.
1.  Aldunate, Major Eduardo.  "Observations On The Theory of Low-Intensity 
Conflict and Violence In Latin America."   Military Review June 91:80.
2.  Colbert, Ronald A., Major, United States Air Force, Quantico, Virginia. 
Paper about problems of coalition warfare, November 25, 1991.
3.  Craig, Gordon A. Problems of Coalition Warfare.  Washington, D.C.:
U.S. Government Printing Office,1988.
4.  Gosnell, Colonel Wayne P.  "A Time To Build: U.S. Policy For Latin
America and The Caribbean." Military Review June 91:44.
5.  Headquarters Departments of The Army And The Air Force. "Military Operations
In Low-Intensity Conflict."  Washington, D.C., 1990.
6.  Marine Corps Lessons Learned Data Base.  Information about coalition warfare. Quantico, Virginia.
7.  Organization of American States, Washington, D.C. Letter about the Organization of American States,  March 3, 1992.
8.  Robinson, Eugene  "The Battle For The Soul of Latin America," Washington Post, November 3, 1991, Section A.,p. 24.
9.  Rondfeldt, David. U.S.  Involvement In Central America Three Views From
Honduras. Santa Monica, California:  National Defense Research Institute, 1989.
10. U.S. Advisors To The Vietnamese Marine Corps During The Easter Offensive-
COVANS.   Personal interviews about relations with Vietnamese Marines. Quantico,
Virginia, March 27, 1992.
11. U.S. Marine Corps. Marine Corps Schools. Marine Corps Educational Center. 
Counterinsurgency Operations  FMFM 8-2. Quantico, 1980.
12. Ware, Lewis B. Low-Intensity Conflict In The Third World. Maxwell Air Force Base: Air University Press,1988.
13. White House. National Security Strategy of The United States, August 1991.

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