Fuerzas Comando is a military exercise consisting of a skills competition between military and police Special Operations teams from the Western Hemisphere. The event will be hosted by Colombia in 2020. Teams from about 20 countries, including the United States, will be taking part in the challenging contest, which promotes military-to-military relationships, increases training knowledge, and improves regional security.
The 2020 Fuerzas Comando competition will be the 16th annual iteration of a competition that has been dominated by Colombia. The Special Operations teams from Colombia have won 10 of the 15 competitions thus far, including the 2019 Fuerzas Comando that was held in Chile. Operating on their home turf, the Colombian team will be hard to beat and are the obvious favorites to win again this year.
Fuerzas Comando has two distinct parts: a special operations skills competition and a senior leader seminar that is focused on countering terrorism.
The purpose of the seminar is to build stronger partnerships while improving regional security. It is normally attended by senior SOF leadership from each country and/or cabinet-level counterterrorism decision-makers. The seminar focuses on topics that include transnational and transregional threat networks and the impact those threats have on regional security and stability including the employment of special operations forces to counter security threats.
The competition itself consisted of a series of individual and collective unit critical tasks and events, including:
- Physical fitness test
- Obstacle course
- Rifle and pistol qualification
- Close-quarters combat test
- Forced march, obstacle course, and a water event conducted as a single event
The events test the participants’ skills and proficiency under unknown and stressful conditions, simulating scenarios that the operators may encounter during the performance of their assigned missions. One new event last year was having the teams helocast into frigid (54 degrees) ocean water, swim to a zodiac rubber boat, move down the coast and conduct a commando swim to the beach.
Once ashore, the teams conducted a timed 6km road march to a range where they had to engage targets using pistols before moving on to other SOF tasks.
Last year in Chile 20 countries sent some of their best special operators and law enforcement professionals to the competition. Those countries were Argentina, Belize, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and the United States.
U.S. Adm. Craig S. Faller, U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) commander spoke about the camaraderie between the competitors during the exercise and the respect that all of the nations have as allies.
“…This morning we are all one team. We’re all here together, ” Faller said.
“The theme for Fuerzas Comando [is] ‘We are Fuerzas Comando,’ we are all warriors,” added Faller. “ You demonstrated that this week that you are warriors, you work together, and you are ready. […] the key to being a warrior, to being a teammate is building trust. We build that trust in order to make a difference for our nations and our future.”
The United States team finished 6th in 2019, which speaks volumes about how spirited the competition is. Here’s to seeing the U.S. defeat Colombia in their own backyard this year.