Created: 4/7/1982

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Ct&jCPas NrK ational Intelligence Daily


appfeoveo FDR releaseudi!


EL SALVADOR: The Military Balance

The guerrillat' failure to dibrupt the nlootiona and thoturnout hawajar pvychologioat boost toretainmilitary oapabilitiat,

and aunlikely toon, ttacrnihilt, tha

trill toMa adwantayja of thapolitical unoartaintti ovar- thaand polieiat of tha nauto attaint Bona npaotaenlat action, p

The failure to disrupt the election and thehigh turnoutajor politicalblow to the insurgent cauaa. Thoexpended considerable Mnpcver and materialeffort to prevent the voting, and newaatong tho guerrilla factions are likely tostrains on insurgent unity.

military balance, however, probably will not shift quickly and decisively In the government's favor. The insurgent's preparations to disrupt the election left theat with better arm, sore trained cadre, and new supply routes. The flow of the Cuban and Nicaragoan arms is likely to continue, although perhaps at avolume. Despite the successful election, the insurgents still enjoy some degree.of international political and propaganda support.

Military ImprovementS

The Salva-loran Military has strengthened itsover the past year and appears to have gained ground on the inaurgents. One of its greatest weaknesses had been insufficient manpower to conduct offensive operations while defending population centers and Since last year, however, the Army has nearly doubled, and the combined strength of theand security forces is now


-if nrvi".

To improved control of. this larger force, tna Arm/ has formed two additional brigade headquarters, bringing the currant total to si*. uick-reaction battalion activated laat year has been conductingeffective sweep operations.

Two additional quick-reaction units are in training, and regular infantry battalions throughout ihe country are being strengthened and reequipped with,t rifles, machineguns, mortars, and recoil lens cities. Inthe US is training 'OO officer candidates in an effort tohortage of Junior commanders.

The acquisition ofelicopters over the post year has made the Army much more Mobile, allowing email units to be deployed by air and wounded personnel to be evacuated quickly. Although some helicopters wore destroyed in an insurgent raid in late January, they were soon replaced, and the inventory is being expanded


The Army, however, still has significant weaknesses. Soldiers often have to bo rushed into combat beforebasic training. Coordination among large units isi>wi*lly allowing insurgents tosweep

(S MP)

Inadequato logistic support often forces the Army to end offensive operations prematurely. The government cannot inteudiul ^ucirlllc supplies deHwewaid by sea and air.

}'gent For cos

The guerrillas also have mado considerableover cliw pest year. They still appear toegular force of, andert-time militia of |"

The insurgents havo divided the country into five fronts, eachommander and general staff. units are mostly concentrated in about eight base areas from which operations are launched, tfithin these



7 April2

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eight base areas nore thaneil-defended guerrilla camps have been identified, and there may be many more.

Noat insurgent training apparently takesthe base areas, but many commanders andhave taken courses in Nicaragua, Cuba, Eastcountries, or the Middle East. esult,have become more adept at ambushes

Th" insurgent supply network has expandedwith most of the arms and ammunition coming from cxtornal sources through Nicaragua.

Despite these improvements, the insurgent problems continue. Th* largest faction believesrotracted guerrilla war and is opposed to negotiations, "iiiie other factions still hopeuick victoryopular insurrection, and barringegotiated settlement giving thorn access to power. The differences havo resulted in lack of unity and coordination at the tactical levnl, occasionally leading to opon fighting.

The insurgents have failed toubstantial base of popular support, particularly in urban areas. The guerrillas have won the support of peasants and refugees in their base areas, but this has resulted in administrative and economic burdens that have hindered insurgent military operation!..

Current Situation

Tha guerrillas need iodic spectacular successes to preserve their credibility and restore morale. They had hoped to seize the eastern cities of Usulutan and San Francisco before the elections, but tho failure of diversionary attacks elsewhere and the arrival ofreinforcements forced then to retreat. Theyremain strong in these areas, and it wiajor government effort to dislodge them.

The insurgentc may increase sabotage operations, particularly againat naior bridges and hydroelectric dams in the country. /

i so.cn important targets are generally well defended, however, and tho guerrillas may be forced to strike elsewhere.

Thev also hope to turn the s'.mcgss of the extreme right in the election to their propaganda advantage. They would be aided in this effort by the exclusion of the moderate Christian Democratic Party from, the* ruling roalitlon. I


in addition, the insurgents may try to takeof he initial political uncertainty surrounding the new constituent assembly. Nevertheless, guerrillas probabl will remain on the defensive lor stom* tune.

0 ? V

7 April2

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