Colombian Armed Forces Increase by 146,000 Men from 2001 to 2012
By Dialogo May 29, 2012
The Colombian Military and police increased from 300,000 to 446,000 men between 2001 and 2012, and they will have a budget of nearly 23.2 trillion pesos (around 12.9 billion dollars) this year for their work, President Juan Manuel Santos stressed on May 23.
According to the president, “thanks to the budgetary strengthening of government forces, a modernization has been carried out in the Air Force; the Army has become more effective and professional, and the Navy has increased its equipment and its fleet.”
Santos spoke at an academic ceremony in Bogotá, attended by top military commanders and high-ranking officers.
The president highlighted the fact that “from a defense-sector investment budget – at 2012 constant prices – of 1.4 trillion pesos ($ 764.4 million) in 2001, we’ve gone (…) to a budget of 3.4 trillion ($ 1.86 billion) in 2008 and 3.2 trillion ($ 1.75 billion) in 2009, and this year we’re maintaining an investment budget of nearly 2 trillion pesos ($ 1.09 billion).”
The budget for government forces operations “went from 11.8 trillion ($ 6.44 billion) in 2001 to 21.2 trillion [Colombian pesos] ($ 11.58 billion) in 2012, enabling an increase in force strength of 146,000 men,” he added.
Santos specified that between 2001 and 2012, the Army went from 147,000 to 230,000 men; the Navy from 21,000 to 35,000; the Air Force from 11,000 to 14,000; and the National Police from 121,000 to 167,000 men.
The Colombian Military has confronted leftist guerrilla groups for nearly 50 years and extreme-right-wing paramilitary groups, drug-trafficking organizations, and criminal gangs working for them more recently.
For the fight against guerrilla groups and drug traffickers, the country has received around 8 billion dollars from the United States since 2000, through Plan Colombia.
According to a report by the Union of South American Nations (Unasur), that organization’s 12 member countries devoted 126.11 billion dollars to defense spending between 2006 and 2010, with around 17 percent of that amount corresponding to Colombia, the country with the second-largest investment in the sector, behind Brazil.
LONG LIVE THE SOLDIERS OF COLOMBIA What's the use of so many boots on the ground if they don't have good machinery to fight crime and drug trafficking. Without good technology, there are no good results.
Stop buying so much old stuff and get new things. New equipment, better results in the defense of our national territory. What the government should do is raise the salary of the military forces. I mean soldiers and lower ranks who are the ones who truly work in the military forces. They are the ones who stand up for and even give their lives to the public mess we are living through in our beloved Colombiaâ€¦