Salvadoran Counterterrorism Command: Fighting Threats for 30 Years

Salvadoran Counterterrorism Command: Fighting Threats for 30 Years

By Dialogo
February 09, 2015




The Salvadoran Military's Special Counterterrorism Command (CEAT) is an elite unit that protects the nation from the tentacles of transnational terrorism and narcotrafficking.

Next December, they will celebrate 30 years in service, for which they have been recognized throughout Latin America as an outstanding, professional team capable of responding quickly to a variety of public safety threats, according to U.S. Army Major Kenneth Morley, a representative of the U.S. Security Cooperation Office in El Salvador.

The elite unit is so effective because it is an integrated unit of officers, non-commissioned officers, and a troop of Special Forces members focused mainly on urban area combat. Here, Special Operations units converge in the fields of counterterrorism, counter subversion, airborne, air mobility, and Special Forces operations.

According to Maj. Morley, this select group of Salvadoran Military members is characterized by undertaking rigorous training that facilitates their development in adverse scenarios, whether by air, sea, or land.

Victories in the ‘Fuerzas Comando’ competitions


CEAT has also been recognized for its successful participation in multinational military competitions like Fuerzas Comando, a military and Special Operations skills exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and Special Operations Command South.

During the 2014 iteration hosted by Colombia, CEAT representatives competed against counterparts from 17 countries in the Americas and placed third, but the unit previously won the championship in 2004 and again in 2011, when El Salvador hosted the event.

“We are proud of CEAT, a unit that was organized here and is the Latin American champion of the 2011 Fuerzas Comando olympics,” said Brigadier General (then Colonel) William Mejía, 2011 commander of El Salvador's Special Forces Command. “This elite force is a highly professional and skilled unit that the Salvadoran people can trust.”

The physically demanding competition showcases the skills of its contestants, encourages camaraderie among participants, and promotes military-to-military relationships, increased interoperability and improved regional security. They are also connected to the work the elite units perform in the field.

“We train bravely and honorably for each competition, and our service members support each other to do the best possible job,” said a member of CEAT who is not identified for security reasons. “This is a team that the people of El Salvador can be proud of.”

CEAT cooperates with other security forces


CEAT’s positive performance in the field has earned it a positive reputation with Salvadoran law enforcement forces, which have called upon the Special Counterterrosim Command to provide training.

In recent years, CEAT has facilitated U.S. training with special units within the National Civil Police (PNC), specifically in tasks related to public security, explained Maj. Morley.

CEAT has also joined the Cuscatlán Battalion in their efforts to rebuild damaged areas and promote peace in Iraq.

Additionally, since August 2012, members of the counterterrorist command have joined elite units of the PNC in patrolling the public transportation units of San Salvador's Metropolitan Area, and members of the public feel safer with their presence.

“The Military has always inspired confidence in us. When we see them on buses, we know that we are being protected,” said Soraya de Martínez, a resident of Soyapango municipality, where the CEAT provides security. “They are very well trained, and we are happy that they’re on the buses with the people.”

In the immediate future, CEAT will lend support to the Regional Center for Training against Transnational Organized Crime, to provide training for other Central American Armed Forces.



The Salvadoran Military's Special Counterterrorism Command (CEAT) is an elite unit that protects the nation from the tentacles of transnational terrorism and narcotrafficking.

Next December, they will celebrate 30 years in service, for which they have been recognized throughout Latin America as an outstanding, professional team capable of responding quickly to a variety of public safety threats, according to U.S. Army Major Kenneth Morley, a representative of the U.S. Security Cooperation Office in El Salvador.

The elite unit is so effective because it is an integrated unit of officers, non-commissioned officers, and a troop of Special Forces members focused mainly on urban area combat. Here, Special Operations units converge in the fields of counterterrorism, counter subversion, airborne, air mobility, and Special Forces operations.

According to Maj. Morley, this select group of Salvadoran Military members is characterized by undertaking rigorous training that facilitates their development in adverse scenarios, whether by air, sea, or land.

Victories in the ‘Fuerzas Comando’ competitions


CEAT has also been recognized for its successful participation in multinational military competitions like Fuerzas Comando, a military and Special Operations skills exercise sponsored by U.S. Southern Command and Special Operations Command South.

During the 2014 iteration hosted by Colombia, CEAT representatives competed against counterparts from 17 countries in the Americas and placed third, but the unit previously won the championship in 2004 and again in 2011, when El Salvador hosted the event.

“We are proud of CEAT, a unit that was organized here and is the Latin American champion of the 2011 Fuerzas Comando olympics,” said Brigadier General (then Colonel) William Mejía, 2011 commander of El Salvador's Special Forces Command. “This elite force is a highly professional and skilled unit that the Salvadoran people can trust.”

The physically demanding competition showcases the skills of its contestants, encourages camaraderie among participants, and promotes military-to-military relationships, increased interoperability and improved regional security. They are also connected to the work the elite units perform in the field.

“We train bravely and honorably for each competition, and our service members support each other to do the best possible job,” said a member of CEAT who is not identified for security reasons. “This is a team that the people of El Salvador can be proud of.”

CEAT cooperates with other security forces


CEAT’s positive performance in the field has earned it a positive reputation with Salvadoran law enforcement forces, which have called upon the Special Counterterrosim Command to provide training.

In recent years, CEAT has facilitated U.S. training with special units within the National Civil Police (PNC), specifically in tasks related to public security, explained Maj. Morley.

CEAT has also joined the Cuscatlán Battalion in their efforts to rebuild damaged areas and promote peace in Iraq.

Additionally, since August 2012, members of the counterterrorist command have joined elite units of the PNC in patrolling the public transportation units of San Salvador's Metropolitan Area, and members of the public feel safer with their presence.

“The Military has always inspired confidence in us. When we see them on buses, we know that we are being protected,” said Soraya de Martínez, a resident of Soyapango municipality, where the CEAT provides security. “They are very well trained, and we are happy that they’re on the buses with the people.”

In the immediate future, CEAT will lend support to the Regional Center for Training against Transnational Organized Crime, to provide training for other Central American Armed Forces.
Through this comment, I congratulate the members of the Special Counter-Terrorism Command (CEAT) of El Salvador. To all soldiers, Force and Honor.
COMANF/CFN/Brazil > Lopes Very good
Share