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Operation Laser Strike

Southern Command coordinates multiple counterdrug operations involving all 19 Latin American countries in its area of operations. Operation Laser Strike expanded the focus from Green Clover to include operations aimed at disrupting the riverine and coastal criminal drug smuggling. As a result of Green Clover DOD concluded that increasing air surveillance was just forcing the traffic down to the ground. So Laser Strike was a much broader operation that involved about half a dozen countries rather than two countries, and it involved air, naval, riverine and ground operations. Laser strike involved a sustained level of US detection, monitoring and tracking resources, as well as assessments and training, to support expanded interdiction and law enforcement efforts by nations of the source region.

These operations achieved tactical successes with US military elements which deployed to support allied police and military forces. The cooperative efforts of the US country teams, the DEA, the US Customs Service, the CIA, and the US Coast Guard were fundamental to these activities. Each day there are about 20 US Coast Guard, Customs, and DOD aircraft involved in source country counterdrug operations. Approximately 300 additional military personnel are deployed in South America supporting Operation Laser Strike. These military personnel staff Ground Based Radar sites in remote Andean locations, fly detection and monitoring aircraft, and provide operational and intelligence support to allies participating in this regional operation.

In conjunction with operation Laser Strike during the summer of 1996, the Colombian Army and National Police began aggressive operations in the coca and opium growing and production regions aimed at reducing cultivation, processing, and the introduction of precursor chemicals to the areas.

As part of Operation Laser Strike in Peru, from September 1996 through June 1997 US Marines supported the counter-drug operations of US Southern Command (CINCSOUTH) with a ground mobile radar and communications team.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:30:42 Zulu