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Unformatted text preview: 68 JFQ / issue 54, 3 d quarter 2009 ndupress.ndu.edu T he conflict in Mexico between the government and criminal drug cartels has been in the news lately, particularly because of the horrific levels of violence and its prox- imity to our border. The U.S. Government is increasingly concerned, and President Barack Obama has turned to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff for options to provide timely support to Mexico. But the cartel war in Mexico, which is increasingly spilling into the United States, is just the latest, most By G R E G G A R D N E R and R O B E R T K I L L E B R E W Colonel Greg Gardner, USA (Ret.), is Vice President for Government and Homeland Security Solutions at the Oracle Corporation. Colonel Robert Killebrew, USA (Ret.), is a consultant in national defense issues. visible indicator of steadily deteriorating civil order south of the border. Farther south, the anti-U.S. govern- ment of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela openly supports Hizballah, which has a growing presence in the southern cone of South American states and along the Andean Ridge. Circumstantial evidence is growing of mutual support between the more serious transnational gangs operating throughout the Americas and the United States and members of state-sponsored terrorist organizations. Throughout the Southern Hemisphere, terrorist organizations and drug gangs are merging into quasi-irregular forces such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and other movements challeng- ing local governments. This is no longer Gangs, Drugs, Terrorism and Information-sharing Airman and military working dog at Soto Cano Air Base support counternarcotics operations in Central America U.S. Air Force (Mike Meares) ndupress.ndu.edu issue 54, 3 d quarter 2009 / JFQ 69 GARDNER and KILLEBREW only a crime problem. Left unchecked, the potential threat stream of narcotraffickers and fellow-traveling terrorist organizations will soon constitute an immediate threat to national and local security. Domestic Insurgency? The United States has long been inter- ested in the defeat of South American ter- rorist gangs and has for decades supported the government of Colombia against the FARC movement. As the grim news from Mexico continues, and violence increasingly spills over the border into American cities and towns, concern in the U.S. Government will grow. The Defense and State Depart- ments can expect to be called on to provide more low-key assistance to Latin American governments to beef up their security services in the face of more FARC-type challenges. On one end of the scale, security cooperation may extend to small military missions inside a U.S. Embassy; on the other, American advisors may be committed on the scale of U.S. support to Colombia, which is emerging as a template for successful col- laboration with a Latin American ally. U.S....
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