This is an August 2007 copy of a website maintained by the Center for International Policy. It is posted here for historical purposes. The Center for International Policy no longer maintains this resource.

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Last Updated:1/8/03
U.S. Military and Police Aid:
Supplemental aid for 2002

In response to a March 21 request from the Bush administration, both houses of the U.S. Congress have approved versions of an "emergency supplemental" appropriation - a bill that would approve the use of about $28 billion in new funding for 2002 to address counter-terror priorities. This bill (H.R. 4775, now Public Law No: 107-206) was signed into law on August 2, 2002. It includes several provisions relevant to Colombia.

A House-Senate "Conference Committee" finished reconciling differences in mid-July between both houses' versions of the bill. The committee's report (the final bill) is now available at the U.S. Congress website.

What is in the bill?

(To read the actual text of the Colombia-related provisions, view our side-by-side comparison of all versions of the legislation.)

Broadening the mission of State Department aid

A. The Bush administration proposed allowing the State Department to use all past and present anti-drug military and police assistance "to support a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking, terrorist activities, and other threats to [Colombia's] national security." State-Department managed programs (particularly the International Narcotics Control or INC program, and drawdowns of assistance) account for the vast majority of aid Colombia has received over the past several years, particularly equipment like helicopters, planes and boats.

The administration called for this expansion of purpose "notwithstanding any other provision of law," which raised some concerns that its request could void past conditions on aid. The administration asked that this provision apply in 2002 and 2003.

B. The Conference Committee (final) version of the bill adopted the House of Representatives' language on mission expansion. Instead of a "unified campaign" against any threat to Colombia's national security, the House had specified that the aid be used in a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking and "against activities by organizations designated as terrorist organizations" such as the FARC, ELN and AUC, "and to take actions to protect human health and welfare in emergency circumstances," such as rescue operations. The House also had removed the "notwithstanding other provision of law" phrase from its bill, and limited the mission-broadening to 2002.

The conferees added conditions that had appeared in the Senate's version of the bill. These include:

  • Requiring Colombia's newly elected president to commit, in writing, to combat narcotics trafficking, to restore government authority and respect for human rights in conflictive areas, to implement reforms to the armed forces, and to pay more of the cost of these policies and reforms.
  • Prohibiting U.S. military or contract personnel from participating in combat operations.
  • Making other conditions in foreign aid law apply to the aid in the supplemental, including:
    • The "Leahy Amendments" to the foreign operations and defense appropriations laws for 2002, which ban aid to military units that include members credibly alleged to have committed gross human rights violations with impunity;
    • The additional conditions on aid to Colombia in the 2002 foreign aid bill;
    • The denial of U.S. visas to people credibly alleged to have supported paramilitaries; and
    • The "cap" on military personnel and contractors (400 of each) who can be in Colombia in support of Plan Colombia.
  • In non-binding narrative report language, the Senate Appropriations Committee also asked the State and Defense Departments to issue a report explaining the administration's policy toward Colombia and benchmarks for success, as well as the mission of U.S. military and contract personnel in Colombia and possible threats to their safety.

The Bush administration proposed allowing the State Department to use all past and present anti-drug military and police assistance "to support a unified campaign against narcotics trafficking, terrorist activities, and other threats to [Colombia's] national security." State-Department managed programs (particularly the International Narcotics Control or INC program, and drawdowns of assistance) account for the vast majority of aid Colombia has received over the past several years, particularly equipment like helicopters, planes and boats. The administration called for this expansion of purpose "notwithstanding any other provision of law," which raised some concerns that its request could void past conditions on aid. The administration asked that this provision apply in 2002 and 2003.

Broadening the mission of Defense Department aid

A. The Bush administration called for a similar expansion in the purpose of Defense Department-managed counter-narcotics aid to Colombia, using the same "unified campaign" language as the State Department section. Defense Department counter-narcotics aid has included much training, non-lethal equipment upgrades, facilities construction, and intelligence, among other types of assistance. The request asked that the provision apply in 2002 and 2003.

B. The Senate cut had cut this Defense Department provision entirely from its version of the bill, but the Conference Committee restored it. The final version adopts the House language, which was identical to the mission-expansion language in the State Department section above.

The conferees added all of the conditions that appear in the State Department mission-expansion section above. It made one change, however, to the condition on funds for U.S. personnel in combat: U.S. personnel may use Defense Department funds for combat if the purpose is self-defense or rescuing U.S. citizens, military personnel, civilian employees or U.S.-funded civilian contractors.

International Narcotics Control (INC) aid

A. The Bush administration called for $114 million in aid worldwide through the State Department-managed INC program. This would include $4 million "for Colombia police post support to assist in establishing civilian authority in areas not previously under government control."

B. The Conference Committee approved a worldwide total of $117 million for the INC program, which includes the Bush administration's request of $4 million for improving police posts in Colombia.

1. Following the House version, the final bill includes in the INC section $6 million to begin training military units to protect the Caño Limón - Coveñas pipeline in northeastern Colombia. The Bush administration had requested this assistance through Foreign Military Financing, another State Department-run military aid program discussed below. (The administration's 2003 Foreign Operations Appropriations request includes another $98 million in FMF for pipeline protection. This aid includes helicopters, training and equipment for Colombia's 18th Brigade, based in Arauca department on the Venezuelan border, and a new 5th Mobile Brigade. The $6 million in the supplemental merely seeks to "jump-start" this larger aid program.)

Before the pipeline funds can be spent, the conference report requires the State Department to furnish a report to the appropriations committees describing:

  • Estimated oil revenues the Colombian government has collected from the pipeline during the preceding twelve months;
  • The estimated amount spent by the Colombian government and private companies using the pipeline "for primary health care, basic education, microenterprise and activities to improve the lives of the people of Arauca department";
  • Steps being taken to increase and expand these programs and activities; and
  • Mechanisms to monitor these funds.

2. The final bill also calls on the State Department to use an undetermined amount of INC funds "to train and equip a Colombian Armed Forces unit dedicated to apprehending the leaders of paramilitary organizations."

3. The bill eliminates language in the Senate version that had called for $2.5 million of INC funds to be used to train law-enforcement officers to protect national parks in Colombia. The Conference Committee's narrative report signaled an intent "to provide assistance to the Colombia National Park Service to help protect these areas with funding in fiscal year 2003 from the Andean Counterdrug Initiative."

4. The bill also eliminates the request for $10 million for C-130 transport planes that was in the House Appropriations Committee's non-binding narrative report.

5. The same report's request for $10 million in migration and refugee assistance to Colombia also appears in the Conference Committee's narrative report (see the Migration and Refugee Assistance section below).

Anti-Terrorism Assistance (ATA)

A. The Bush administration called for a worldwide amount of $83 million for the State Department-managed Nonproliferation, Anti-Terrorism, Demining and Related Programs (NADR) account. Of this amount, $25 million would go "to provide critically needed training and operational assistance for counter-kidnapping training for the Colombian armed forces and police units."

B. The Conference Committee's final version approved a worldwide amount of $88 million, and suggested no changes to the Colombia outlay.

Foreign Military Financing (FMF)

A. The Bush administration called for $372.5 million worldwide for the State Department-managed Foreign Military Financing (FMF) program. This included $6 million to begin training military units to protect the Caño Limón - Coveñas pipeline in northeastern Colombia.

B. The Conference Committee's final version of the bill approved a worldwide amount of $387 million. The $6 million for pipeline protection was moved to the International Narcotics Control (INC) section of the bill, and a reporting requirement was added (see the INC section above).

Andean Strategy Report

Citing concerns "that the Administration has inadequately articulated clear objectives of U.S. policy in Colombia, what actions would be required, and what it would cost to achieve those objectives," the Conference Committee's non-binding narrative report calls on the State and Defense Departments to provide within ninety days a report detailing:

  • The President's policy toward Colombia; the objectives of that policy; the actions required by and the expected financial costs to the United States, Colombia, and any other country or entity to achieve those objectives; and the expected time schedule for achieving those objectives;
  • Specific benchmarks for measuring progress toward achieving the objectives of the President's policy;
  • The expected reduction, if any, in the amount of cocaine and heroin entering the United States as a result of the President's Andean Counterdrug Initiative within the expected time schedule; and
  • The mission and objectives of United States Armed Forces personnel and civilian contractors employed by the United States in connection with such assistance, and the threats to their safety in Colombia.

The State Department submitted the report on December 3, 2002. It is available on this site.

Migration and Refugee Assistance

The Senate version of the legislation included $50 million for migration and refugee assistance, an item that was not in the Bush Administration's original request. The Conference Commitee's final version includes $40 million in migration and refugee assistance. The committee's non-binding report language calls for $10 million of this money to assist internally displaced people in Colombia. (This same recommendation appeared in the International Narcotics Control section of the House Appropriation's committee's non-binding report.)

Full Senate

The full Senate debated the supplemental appropriations bill on June 4-7. The Colombia provisions came up for debate briefly when Sen. Bob Graham (D-Florida) introduced an amendment to restore the mission-expansion languge to the Defense Department section of the bill (see above for a fuller explanation). The amendment, which was withdrawn without a vote, sparked a brief debate. The bill passed with no major changes to its Colombia provisions.

Senate Appropriations Committee

The Senate Appropriations Committee "marked up" (wrote the text of) its version of the supplemental appropriations bill (S. 2551) on Thursday, May 23.

  • Text of Senate bill and committee report (link to U.S. Congress "Thomas" website)

House of Representatives

On May 22-23, the full House considered H.R. 4775, the 2002 supplemental appropriations bill. One amendment was considered: that sponsored by Reps. Jim McGovern (D-Massachusetts) and Ike Skelton (D-Missouri). The provision would have eliminated language broadening the mission of U.S. military aid beyond counternarcotics to include counter-terrorism. The amendment lost by a vote of 192-225.

The House Appropriations Committee issued its report on the bill on May 20, 2002.

  • Text of House bill and committee report (link to U.S. Congress "Thomas" website)
  • Additional views of Rep. Jose Serrano (D-New York) in House Appropriations Committee Report 107-480


Bush administration request

Resolution: by voice vote on March 6, 2002, the House of Representatives passed H.Res. 358, a non-binding resolution calling for legislation to aid Colombia's fight against "foreign terrorist organizations and the scourge of illicit narcotics."

On March 21, 2002, the Bush administration submitted to Congress a request for "supplemental" funding for Colombia - additional aid to be spent in the current year, as soon as Congress approves it. The Colombia money is part of a much larger ($27.1 billion) request for additional funding for the "war on terrorism" and homeland security.

The House International Relations Committee did not meet on April 25, as originally expected, to mark up the part of the administration's request that would expand the mission of U.S. aid beyond counter-narcotics. Though no official reason was given for the cancellation, an apparent lack of support from committee members appears to have forced the withdrawal. [Proposed International Relations Committee bill language (Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format) (Español)]

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