Colonel Francisco Javier Serrano Alvarado, commander of the Honduran Air Force (FAH), has taken on animportant mission since taking office in February 2022. His most pressing taskshave to do with acquisition and revamping the air fleet to combat the illicit actions of narcotrafficking and to support humanitarian and environmental missions, among others.
To talk about these issues, Col. Serrano met with Diálogo in Tegucigalpa.
Diálogo: What is your most important challenge as commander of the FAH?
Colonel Francisco Javier Serrano Alvarado, commander of the Honduran Air Force: It’s a very big commitment, but the challenge is to leave our FAH better equipped and for the motivation and morale of our human resources to be better and higher every day so that they are committed to moving forward with our different tasks.
Diálogo: Aerial narcotrafficking is still present in Honduras. What joint and combined actions is the FAH carrying out to neutralize narcotrafficking?
Col. Serrano: It’s a problem not only in Honduras, but it’s a problem at the international level. However, we have the three shields of the three forces, land, naval, and air, and we work together as a team to take action against these situations. Narcotraffickers have very powerful organizations with sophisticated equipment, and the Armed Forces, with the equipment that each of the forces has, work in coordination to take action against these illicit flights. We also coordinate with the United States and with different countries in the area with which we share information about the course of these airplanes, in order tointercept them and be able to act against them on the ground, seize them, and confiscate the drugs that they are transporting.
Diálogo: How is the FAH working with its peers in the Northern Triangle to counter security threats?
Col. Serrano: We are always in communication with the armed forces of Guatemala and El Salvador. Our country always shares information, not only within the Northern Triangle, but also with South American countries and with the United States and Mexico to follow the trajectory of these illegal flights and, regardless of which country they land in, have the information so that wherever the aircraft lands, the respective operations can be carried out.
Diálogo: You have said that $60 million will be invested to modernize the FAH’s aircraft. How will this investment be made?
Col. Serrano: This is a project of the Air Force and for which we have the full support of our president, the Defense minister, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. We are presenting a project for the acquisition and repair of several types of aircraft, especially to be able to counter this problem of narcotrafficking. This project is bit by bit, and we’re beginning with the helicopters because it’s a pressing need to carry out humanitarian operations and to protect the environment.
Diálogo: What kind of liaisons do you have with your U.S. counterparts?
Col. Serrano: We are in constant communication with the military authorities who are present in our country. Just this week [early August 2022] we had a meeting with the people in charge of the U.S. Embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation in Honduras, and we exchanged ideas, and the outcome is that we are very willing to work together. Similarly, we have always carried out academic exchanges at the different American academies and participated in military exercises.
Diálogo: Lieutenant Colonel Sidia Jackeline Lara Lara is the first female military pilot and commander of the Enrique Soto Cano Air Base. How do you see the gender issue in the institution?
Col. Serrano: On January 28, 2022, when I was given this honorable responsibility of commanding the FAH, one of my first goals was to give opportunities to women. We also have Lieutenant Colonel Dulce María Vásquez, commander of the Colonel Héctor Caraccioli Moncada Air Base in La Ceiba, and we have other women as directors of study centers and as part of the FAH General Staff. In these six months, they’ve had a very successfulprofessional development, as they’vedemonstrated their responsibilities with their positions. I feel very satisfied with the work they are doing, and I have no doubt that in the near future they will be climbing the ranks, acquiring seniority, and that a woman will take command of the destiny of the FAH and, why not, the leadership of the Joint Chiefs of Staffalso.
Diálogo: How important is the FAH’s participation in the American Air Forces Cooperation System?
Col. Serrano: We were in Guatemala for the CONJEFAMER [Conference ofAmerican Air Chiefs], and our country proudly received several awards for the different activities that we carry out, especially for our communications systems. It’s not only our FAH that carries out these activities, but also at the Latin American level and the results have been very positive due to the exchange of timely information and the needs that are shared with our Latin American brothers.
To see the full interview with Colonel Francisco Javier Serrano Alvarado, commander of the Honduran Air Force (FAH), please click on the following link: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/a-conversation-with-colonel-dennis-mccoy/#.YyMzz3ZByUk