Earlier in June, U.S. Army Colonel Jonathon R. Moelter, chief of U.S. Southern Command’s (SOUTHCOM) Communications Systems Directorate (J-6) and co-chairman to the U.S.-Colombia Command, Control, and Interoperability Board (CCIB), led a 13-member U.S. delegation to Bogota, Colombia and the first ever U.S.-Colombia CCIB.
Eleven years in the making, the U.S.-Colombia CCIB was a week-long forum that allows the United States and partner nations to articulate and validate command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (C4ISR) operational requirements that meet mutually agreed theater cooperation goals and strategies. The talks are designed to improve interoperability of operational forces by defining requirements, exchanging information on C4ISR initiatives, and resolving problems and shortfalls in a timely manner.
The inaugural U.S.-Colombia CCIB focused on Cyberspace Operations and on improving the Colombian Armed Forces’ ability to defend against cyberattacks. A cybersecurity assessment team composed of Defense Information Systems Agency reviewers and SOUTHCOM Cybersecurity staff conducted a training exercise simultaneously with Colombia’s Cyber Command that closely mirrored the U.S. Cyber Command’s Command Cyber Readiness Inspection for U.S. Global Combatant Command networks. Subject matter experts from both the United States and Colombia provided several briefings on cyber defense in depth, cyber incident handling, and a variety of lessons learned and best practices. It is worth noting that 33 action items covering cybersecurity initiatives, educational exchange programs, and aviation platforms were proposed, reviewed, and validated.
“The CCIB is a forum that results in action and not just the usual talks.” Col. Moelter said. “It is an excellent opportunity to unite efforts jointly and prove that SOUTHCOM is the partner of choice for Colombia and the region.”
In a recent testimony to the U.S. Congress, the SOUTHCOM Commander, Navy Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, highlighted Colombia’s importance in the region. “With the blood and treasure that they have already sacrificed, with all that they continue to do to export security across the region, the Colombian people have more than earned our sustained support,” said the Admiral.
Convened by direction of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CCIB is a bilateral, multi-agency, and multidisciplinary forum for addressing combined interoperability initiatives on a mutually agreeable basis and stems from a September 2004 Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) between the United States and Colombia. The CISMOA provides the legal framework and mechanism for long-term transfer and safeguarding of Communications Security (COMSEC) products, information, and configuration management specifications necessary to establish and enhance long-term strategic partnerships and mutual C4ISR interoperability requirements when developed and agreed by the bilateral CCIB co-chairs.
During the closing ceremony, Brigadier General Oscar Alberto Quintero González, Colombian co-chairman and Joint Staff Director of Command and Control (J8), noted, “Relationships and the exchange of information are extremely important to strengthening interoperability in command and control, cyber defense, and communications. Colombia will remain proactive and prove the CCIB process works.”
A follow-on U.S.-Colombia CCIB is scheduled for November 2016.