Cooperative security locations (csl)

The U.S. military has two Cooperative Security Locations (CSLs), formerly known as Forward Operating Locations, in Latin America and the Caribbean.  One of those CSLs is located in Comalapa, El Salvador. This location allows U.S. and partner nation aircraft the use of an existing airfield to support the region’s multinational efforts to Combat Transnational Organized Crime (CTOC). The CSLs are not bases. They are tenant activities on existing airfields whose purpose is to support CTOC missions. The unarmed aircraft offer unique surveillance capabilities that support and compliment the counter-drug efforts of partner nation law enforcement agencies. CSLs are the result of cooperative, long-term agreements between the United States and host nations.  

U.S. Southern Command oversees the operations from the CSLs. The U.S. Navy handles day-to-day operations at the CSL, and provides the military aircraft and personnel.  From these locations U.S. detection and monitoring aircraft fly missions to detect, monitor and track aircraft or vessels engaged in illicit drug trafficking. U.S. military, Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Coast Guard and U.S Customs personnel operate from the CSLs to support the U.S. aircraft and to coordinate communications and information.   

CSL Comalapa, El Salvador

Forward Operating Location (FOL) Comalapa began operations on Aug. 29, 2000 following the closure of Howard Air Force Base in Panama and changed its name to Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa in 2009. CSL Comalapa operates according to the original bi-lateral agreement between the United States and El Salvador signed in 2000 having exercised five-year extensions via diplomatic notes since then.  In July 2019, the agreement was extended to 2024.  It is permanently manned by 40 active and reserve Sailors, complimented by multiple detachments with temporary assigned personnel. Its mission is to provide critical logistics, infrastructure, and operations support to forward-deployed U.S. and allied aviation units participating in, or supporting, Joint Interagency Task Force-South (JIATF-S) Campaign MARTILLO, directed humanitarian missions, and search and rescue (SAR) efforts.

CSL Comalapa operates from a Salvadoran Air Force base located approximately 26 miles South East of San Salvador. This base is co-located with the El Salvador International Airport (MSLP) and includes support facilities and an aircraft-parking ramp with capability to support six medium-sized aircraft. CSL Comalapa serves as a hub of operations for maritime patrol aircraft directed by U.S. Naval Forces Southern Command Task Force 47, the U.S. Air Force P9-A (GOCO), U.S. Coast Guard C-130 and HH-65s, Canadian CP140, and contracted UAVs supporting JIATF-S counter narcotics missions.

Commanding Officer


The base is led by Cmdr. Victor Barba.

Click here for full bio.

  Welcome Aboard!


Congratulations on your orders to Cooperative Security Location (CSL) Comalapa, El Salvador.  The below letter serves as an introduction, but also to provide you with a brief overview about your new duty station.

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