The Lanceros were created in December, 1955 in response to the "La Violencia" civil war. Columbian Army officers were sent through the U.S. Army's Ranger school. These officers then were charged with creating Columbia's own elite force of paratroopers. A highly trained mobile force was needed to combat the growing number of guerilla bands that were terrorizing the country.

At the Escuela de Lanceros school candidates are put through a ten week course that involves forced marches, obstacle courses, marksmanship, martial arts, map reading, and airborne operations. Lanceros are trained to operate in mountain environments as well as attending a three week jungle phase, the last phase before graduation.

Their primary mission is counter-insurgency. There are currently three main groups still active in Columbia, the EPL (), ELN (), and FARC. FARC,the largest of the three, is reported to have roughly 5,500 guerillas and a larger number of supporters. These units use surprise to inflict terror on the populace. The Lanceros must use high mobility and good intelligence to combat these groups. They have no less than 55 dispersed fronts to patrol and cover.