President Santos Names New Military High Command in Colombia

President Santos Names New Military High Command in Colombia

By Dialogo
September 08, 2011

On September 6, the Colombian Government named a new Military high command, under the direction of Army General Alejandro Navas, who was named commandant-general of the Armed Forces, according to an announcement by President Juan Manuel Santos.

Navas, up to now commandant of the Army, replaces Admiral Edgar Cely, who has been serving in that post since August 7, 2010, when Santos took office.

For his part, General Sergio Mantilla was named commandant of the Army, while Admiral Roberto García will occupy the post of commandant of the Navy, and General Tito Saúl Pinilla will head the Air Force.

The president confirmed General Oscar Naranjo as director of the National Police, a post he has held since May 2007.

Finally, Santos named Air Force General José Javier Pérez as the new head of the Joint General Staff.

The reshuffling of the Military high command follows the naming of Juan Carlos Pinzón as the new defense minister, an appointment that was announced by Santos on Wednesday.

On announcing the changes in the Military and police high command, Santos expressed his assurance that “this team – who know one another very well and whom I know because I worked with them as defense minister and now as president – is going to be a first-class team that is going to be at the minister’s side and at the head of the Armed Forces, giving great tranquility to the country.”

The naming of Pinzón as minister and the new Military high command is a consequence of the administration’s decision to revise its strategy in the fight against illegal armed groups, including leftist guerrillas and the so-called “criminal gangs” (Bacrim) in the service of drug traffickers, made up of former extreme-right-wing paramilitaries.

Along those lines, on investing Pinzón with the defense portfolio on Monday, Santos asked the Armed Forces for innovation and audacity in order to defeat the illegal armed groups.