Colombia: Summary and Tables on U.S. Assistance, FY1989-FY2004
CRS Report for Congress
Colombia: Summary and Tables on U.S.
Nina M. Serafino
Specialist in International Security Affairs
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Over the past 15 years, from FY1989-FY2003, the United States has provided
Colombia with over $3.6 billion in assistance, most of it directed to counternarcotics or
related efforts. During the first 11 fiscal years (FY1989-FY1999), when assistance
totaled just over $1 billion, the annual levels were considerably lower than during the
past three fiscal years and the current fiscal year. From FY2000-FY2003, assistance
totals about $2,556 billion. The Clinton Administration increased assistance in FY2000
to fund its “Plan Colombia” programs to counter the spread of coca cultivation in
The Bush Administration has continued “Plan Colombia” programs through its
Andean Regional Initiative (ARI), which also provides increased funding for
Colombia’s neighbors. In FY2002, President Bush also sought authority to expand the
circumstances under which funding for the Colombian security forces can be used. As
approved by Congress in 2002 and 2003, funding for FY2003 and previous years can
be used for counternarcotics and anti-terrorist purposes.
For FY2004, the Bush Administration has requested $573 million in State
Department Andean Counterdrug Initiative and Foreign Military Financing funds, and
estimates it will spend some $45 million in Colombia from the central State Department
Air Wing account. The Department of Defense (DOD) estimates that it will spend
almost $119 million for Colombia from its central counternarcotics account.
Pre-Plan Colombia Funding FY1989-FY1999
While the United States has been providing counternarcotics (CN) assistance to
Colombia at least as far back as the mid-1970s, former President George H.W. Bush
dramatically increased CN aid to Colombia through his 1989 “Andean Initiative.” Grant
aid to Colombia had increased gradually, albeit not evenly, through the 1980s, as
Colombia evolved from a major supplier of marijuana to the United States, to nearly the
sole supplier of cocaine. By the end of the 1980s, with coca leaf cultivation and cocaine
production rising in the Andean region, and Colombia suffering increased political
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violence from the Medellin drug-trafficking cartel, the former Bush Administration
established its new CN program. Under this region-wide initiative, the United States
substantially increased State Department support for Colombian CN efforts, and provided
Colombian security forces, primarily the police, with equipment through foreign military
financing grants and DOD equipment drawdowns. As part of the effort to bring military
resources to bear on the “war against drugs,” in 1991, Congress enacted “Section 1004"
of the 1991 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (P.L.101-510). This provides
the DOD with authority to provide transportation, reconnaissance, training, intelligence,
and base support when requested by foreign law enforcement agencies for CN purposes.
Funding for Colombia dropped in the first two years of the Clinton Administration
budgets. It began to increase in FY1997, with increased attention to eradication efforts.
Until FY1998, however, the numbers fell short of the Bush years.1 In 1998, Congress
established a new authority, Section 1033 of the1998 NDAA (P.L. 105-85), for the U.S.
military to provide non-lethal equipment, and to maintain and repair counter-drug
equipment. Table 2 details funding for the eleven years from FY1989 - FY1999, which
totals $1,066.7 million (i.e., $1.07 billion).
“Plan Colombia” and ARI Funding, FY2000-FY2002
The 1998 election of a new Colombian president, Andres Pastrana, led to a
reevaluation of U.S. policy and greater cooperation. During Pastrana’s October 1998 state
visit, President Clinton announced that the United State would provide nearly three times
more assistance to Colombia during FY1999 than it had the previous year. Much of this,
however, was the $173.2 million in congressionally-mandated supplemental
appropriations funding (P.L. 105-277) for helicopter and aircraft upgrades, radar, and
police assistance that the Administration had not requested. In FY2000, the funding again
rose substantially with the “Plan Colombia” legislation.
In July 2000, Congress approved the Clinton Administration’s request for $1.3
billion in FY2000 State Department and DOD emergency supplemental appropriations
(P.L. 106-246) for the region-wide “Plan Colombia,” of which $860.3 was earmarked for
Colombia. Nearly half of the Colombia funding was dedicated to the “Push into Southern
Colombia” program to set up and train two new Colombian Army Counternarcotics
battalions (CACBs), which combined with an existing one set up earlier by the United
States to form a brigade of some 2,700. The brigade assists the Colombian National
Police (CNP) in the fumigation of illicit narcotics crops and the dismantling of
laboratories, beginning with coca fumigation in the southern provinces of Putumayo and
Caquetá, where coca cultivation was spreading rapidly. Congress also provided
substantial assistance for economic development, displaced persons, human rights
monitors, and administration of justice and other governance programs, all intended to
help Colombia counter the many threats to its stability and integrity from the trafficking
of illegal narcotics.
1 From mid-FY1996 through sometime in FY1997, the United States cut off certain categories
of assistance, including foreign military financing, which had been a large part of U.S. assistance
to Colombia. The cutoff was mandated by President Clinton’s decision to “decertify” Colombia
in March 1996 and March 1997, in the annual determinations as to whether drug-producing and
transit countries are fully cooperating with the United States on counternarcotics efforts.
With its FY2002 budget request, the Bush Administration expanded the scope of
Clinton’s “Plan Colombia” policy through its Andean Regional Initiative (ARI), with
continuing high levels of support for existing “Plan Colombia” programs in Colombia,
and increased assistance to states bordering or close to Colombia. Congress provided
$380.5 million, nearly all of the Administration’s requested $399 million, for Colombia
in State Department counternarcotics funding in the FY2002 foreign operations
appropriations (P.L. 107-115).2 As in previous years, the appropriations bill included
human rights and other conditions, and a cap on the number deployed of military
personnel and of private contractors who are U.S. citizens.
Expanded Authorities: FY2002-FY2003
In February 2002, through requests for FY2002 emergency supplemental
appropriations and FY2003 regular appropriations, the Bush Administration sought
authority and funding to expand the scope of military assistance. In both requests, it
asked for foreign military financing (FMF) funds to train and equip Colombian soldiers
to defend oil pipelines and other infrastructure from attacks by leftist guerrillas, in
addition to funding for Plan Colombia programs. The supplemental request also sought
funding to train Colombian security forces in anti-kidnapping techniques. In addition,
the supplemental submission proposed to broaden the authorities of the Defense and State
Departments to use FY2002 and FY2003 assistance and unexpended Plan Colombia (P.L.
106-246) aid to support the Colombian government’s “unified campaign against narcotics
trafficking, terrorist activities, and other threats to its national security.”
In the month before Colombia’s new president, Alvaro Uribe, took office in August
2002, Congress provided almost all of the requested supplemental funding and expanded
the scope of military assistance permitted with those and previous-fiscal year funds. With
the FY2002 supplemental appropriations (Section 305, P.L. 107-206), Congress provided
authority for the Administration to use counternarcotics and other funds to support
Colombia’s “unified campaign” against narcotics trafficking and against activities by
organizations designated as terrorist organizations, naming specifically the two major
leftist guerrilla groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia and the National
Liberation Army, and the rightist United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, as well as in
emergency circumstances. Congress, however, did not provide expanded authority for
activities involving any other national security threats. Congress extended the authority
for State Department FY2003 funding in the omnibus FY2003 appropriations bill (P.L.
which included annual State Department appropriations, and for DOD funding in the
FY2003 defense appropriations bill (Section 8145, P.L. 107-248). Congress approved
just $5 million shy of the $537 million the Bush Administration requested in CN ($433.2
million) and FMF ($93 million) funding. In the FY2003 supplemental appropriations
(P.L. 108-11), Congress included $105 million for Colombia: $34 million in State
2 Note: The executive branch requests funding differently for State Department and DOD CN
programs. The annual State Department funding requests are accompanied by publicly-available
country breakdowns of the requested amounts, while the DOD requests are not. The DOD
requests a lump sum for all CN programs worldwide under Sections 1004 and 1033, and under
Section 124 which provides DOD with the lead role in detection and monitoring programs. DOD
can reallocate these funds throughout the year in accordance with changing needs.
Department CN funding, $34 million in DOD CN funding, and $37.1 million in FMF
funding. Both bills condition aid on the observance of human rights and environmental
and other restrictions.
For FY2004, the Bush Administration has requested $573 million for Colombia,
including $463 million in Andean Counterdrug Initiative (ACI) funds, and $110 million
in Foreign Military Financing. It has also requested military funding for Colombia that,
for the first time since Plan Colombia was adopted, is not requested for a very specific
purpose. The Administration request states that FMF for Colombia is intended “to support
counter-terrorism operations and protect key infrastructure such as the oil pipeline.”
General Notes for Tables 1 and 2
Table 1 shows aid to Colombia from FY2000 through FY2003 and the FY2004
request. Table 2 shows aid from FY1989-FY1999. (For more information, see CRS
Report RL30541, CRS Report RL31016, and CRS Report RL31383.)
Tables 1 and 2 include direct U.S. foreign assistance (i.e., the categories usually
counted as U.S. foreign aid, which are in italics) as well as the costs of goods and
services provided to Colombia from other U.S. government programs supporting CN
efforts there. These figures were taken from publically-available documents or provided
directly by the Departments of State and Defense. The United States also provides a
small amount of DOD Excess Defense Articles (EDA) to Colombia.
These charts provide as comprehensive a picture as possible of U.S. assistance to
Colombia, but there are limitations. For instance, some funds are spent in Colombia on
counternarcotics and other activities that are considered part of U.S. programs: for
instance, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) spends its own funds on joint
operations in Colombia. Other funds are provided through regional programs of USAID
and other programs which are not counted as assistance on a country-by-country basis.
No attempt was made to estimate such funds. Also, there are inconsistencies among
various sources. Because of these and other constraints on gathering data, the amount of
assistance provided to Colombia may be larger than the amounts cited in these tables.
Table 1. U.S. Assistance to Colombia FY2000-FY2004
(Obligations and authorizations, $ millions)
ProgramsFY2000Plan Colombia FY2001FY2002 Suppl. Allocations FY2003 Suppl.Request
ic Support Funds (ESF) 4.0 — 4.0 — — — — —
e Department/INC account/ACI account50.048.0379.94.0433.234.0463.0
768.5e Department INC Air Wing38.0 38.0 38.2 — 41.545.0
iki/CRS-RS21213ection 1004 90.6150.083.2 — 91.993.0
g/w34.0erlapping Sections 1004/124 18.104.22.168 — 6.36.0
s.orection 10322.214.171.124 — 2.719.8
leakministration of Justice — — — — —
://wikierrorism25.0 — ary
httpnational Military Education and Training0.9 — 1.01.2 — 1.2 — 1.6
E T )
eign Military Financing (FMF)/Grant — — — — 6.093.037.1110.0
w do w ns
TALS (of available numbers)965.8267.9546.5774.9738.4
NA = Not Available. Figures on State Department INC (International Narcotics Control), ACI (Andean Counterdrug Initiative), USAID, FMF, and IMET funding from State Department
ressional Presentations, budget justification documents, and allocation information provided by the Department of State. Figures on INC Air Wing (FY2000-FY2004) provided by the State
rtment: figures provided May 5, 2003. (INC Air Wing funding supports the spray eradication efforts. FY2000 figure includes $5.5 million in support of the Colombian Army.) Figures on DOD 1004,
nd 1033 funding provided April 11, 2002, for FY2000-2002; and April 18, 2003, for FY2003 and FY2004. Both INC Air Wing and DOD funding are taken from regional accounts, therefore
2003 and FY2004 allocations are estimates, and can be shifted to respond to developing needs in other areas.
nd thereafter, non-DOD Plan Colombia funds are all assigned to the State Department INC (FY2000 and FY2001) or ACI (FY2002 and thereafter) account; the State Department transfers
to the other agencies carrying out programs in Colombia with those funds. These include the Department of Justice and USAID. The USAID FY2000 and FY2001 figures are Economic Support
(ESF). These USAID figures do not include funds provided to USAID from the INC account.
Table 2. U.S. Aid to Colombia FY1989-FY1999
(Obligations and Authorizations, $ millions)
. AID — — — — 23.80.2 — a — — 0.53.0
d Grants0.10.2 — — 0.8 — — — — — —
1.00.80.70.126.96.36.199.6 — — 10.0
ate Department INC10.020.020.023.425.020.016.016.033.546.3205.9
ate Department Air Wing — — — — — — 2.56.610.937.830.0
efense Department Section 1033 — — — — — — — — — 2.235.9
iki/CRS-RS21213efense Department Section 1004 — — — — — — — — 10.311.813.6
g/wdministration of Justice — — — — — — — — 1.82.01.8
leakilit a r y
188.8.131.52.184.108.40.206 — a — 0.20.9
://wikieign Military Financing Grants 69.727.147.027.07.710.0 — — — —
eign Military Financing Loans(19.9) —
AP Merger Funds7.1 — — — — — — — — — —
w do w ns
ection 506 authorized65.020.0 — 7.0 — — — 14.59.418.872.6
TAL 84.7 112.2 50.6 80.3 80.4 30.2 30.4 37.7 66.6 119.6 374.0
rces: Data is drawn from a number of sources, not all of which are consistent. These include: various editions of the U.S. Overseas Loans and Grants and Assistance from International Organizations
en Book,” prepared by the US AID budget office; various editions of the Foreign Military Sales, Foreign Military Construction Sales, and Military Assistance Facts book, prepared by the Department
efense Security Cooperation Agency; information provided directly by the departments of State and Defense that are not recorded in these publications; and by the General Accounting Office (GAO)
1998. (See GAO-01-26) Where contradictions existed, GAO data was preferred. Because of a possible lack of data or inaccuracies, some yearly totals may be understated or overstated,
ularly prior to FY1997.
se years, there was assistance in this category of less than $50,000.
h it is likely that Section 1004 assistance was provided to Colombia as far back as FY1992, there is no public breakdown of such assistance until FY1997. That is the first year in which DOD
ided a publicly-available breakdown by country and authority for funding from its central counternarcotics account.
luded in totals.