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After US bases in Panama closed in 1999, US Southern Command (SOUTHCOM) needed to identify an airfield in the eastern pacific to use as a forward operating location (FOL) for maritime patrol, reducing transit times and increasing on-station effectiveness to support multi-national counter illicit missions.  The US Navy and Air Force developed the concept of the FOL and Cooperative Security Location (CSL) to support deployed forces and aircraft conducting these operations, under the auspices of SOUTHCOM.  CSL/FOLs provide the detection and monitoring capability required by the Counter Illicit Trafficking (CIT) mission.

Operating since August, 2000, CSL Comalapa relies on a staff of 25 permanently assigned military personnel and 40 civilian contractors to provide deployed forces the operational and maintenance support to conduct around the clock operations including facilities, logistics, communications, security, lodging, and numerous other services as required.  The CSL supports an average of 175 USN, USNR, USCG and CBP personnel flying P-3C, E2C, C-130 and HH-65D aircraft and is under the operational control of U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command (NAVSO)/U.S. 4th Fleet.  CSL Comalapa had its original 10-year host nation agreement was extended five years in the spring of 2009 and has seen a steady increase in operational tempo since the closing of Manta, Ecuador, in August 2009.