Central America:

U.S. National Guard Activities

NSIAD-88-195: Published: Jul 18, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 2, 1988.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed U.S. Air and Army National Guard training programs in Central America from 1983 through 1987, focusing on: (1) how many troops they trained, and the nature, purpose, and costs of the training; (2) whether the training occurred in a secure environment; (3) whether the training related to U.S. efforts to aid the Nicaraguan Democratic Resistance (Contras); and (4) how the training aided the host countries.

GAO found that: (1) 6,721 Army and 740 Air guardsmen trained in Honduras, while 17,761 Army and 12,135 Air guardsmen trained in Panama; (2) in Honduras, Army guardsmen primarily conducted road-building, artillery, and armor training exercises, while Air guardsmen primarily conducted civil engineering training exercises; (3) in Panama, Army guardsmen built roads, trained for Panama Canal defense, and participated in medical training exercises, public affairs activities, and other annual training activities; (4) in Panama, Air guardsmen provided airlift support and air defense capability for the U.S. Southern Command; (5) the training cost about $22 million, not including some transportation costs; (6) no hostile incidents occurred, and Honduran troops and U.S. military police provided perimeter security; (7) the Guard made efforts to ensure that the training did not aid, or give the appearance of aiding, the Contras; and (8) the training benefited Honduras and Panama, primarily through road construction.

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