Plan Colombia: Anatomy of a Successful Counterinsurgency Campaign


In episode 54 of Irregular Warfare Podcastwe look at Plan Colombia, a US initiative to help the Colombian government in its fight against drug cartels and insurgents.

Plan Colombia has been described as a model of successful counterinsurgency and foreign home defense at a time when large footprints in Iraq and Afghanistan have had mixed results. Our guests reflect on their extensive first-hand experience to outline the key elements of Plan Colombia and, more broadly, to discuss its successes and shortcomings as a model for counterinsurgency and military intervention in the future.

Alberto Jose Mejia Ferrero served as Commanding General of the Military Forces of Colombia, the senior military officer in the country. He was also Commander of the Colombian National Army and Colombian Ambassador to Australia. General Mejía has worked closely with U.S. forces throughout his career, and he offers a unique perspective on foreign homeland defense and military advice from the perspective of the supported country.

Dr David Spencer is a professor at the William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies at the National Defense University. He has worked for think tanks and for the US government as a policy expert on South America. In 2016, he co-wrote A big maybe? Colombia: Conflict and Divergence which chronicles the evolution of Plan Colombia and serves as the basis for today’s conversation.

Kyle Atwell and Benjamin Jebb are the hosts of Episode 54. Please contact Kyle or Ben with any questions regarding this episode or to find out how you can get involved with the Irregular Warfare Initiative.

The Irregular Warfare Podcast is a production of the Irregular Warfare Initiative (IWI). We are a team of volunteers dedicated to bridging the gap between academics and practitioners in the field of irregular warfare. IWI generates written and audio content, coordinates events for the IW community, and welcomes critical thinkers in the field of irregular warfare as IWI Fellows. You can follow us and communicate with us on Facebook, Twitter, instagram, YoutubeWhere LinkedIn.

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Image Credit: Major Thomas Cieslak, 7th Special Forces Group


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