Colombia/Military

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Colombia's Ministry of Defense, charged with the country's internal and external defense and security, has an army, navy--which includes both marines and coast guard--air force, and national police under the leadership of a civilian Minister of Defense. In 1999, Colombia assigned 3.6% of its GDP to defense, according to the National Planning Department. The armed forces number about 250,000 uniformed personnel: 145,000 military and 105,000 police. Many Colombian military personnel have received training in the United States or in Colombia. The United States has provided equipment to the Colombian military and police through the military assistance program, foreign military sales, and the international narcotics control program.

Narcotics decertification in 1996 forced a temporary halt to U.S. military assistance programs, except for those related to counternarcotics. On August 1, 1997, the U.S. and Colombia signed an End Use Monitoring (EUM) memorandum of understanding which stipulated that U.S. counternarcotics assistance to the Colombian military be conditioned on human rights screening of proposed recipient units. Once equipment is provided, it continues to be subject to end-use monitoring to ensure it is being used for counternarcotics purposes.

U.S. assistance to Colombian military and police forces is provided strictly in accordance with Section 564 of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Act (Public Law 106-113) and with Section 8098 of Department of Defense Appropriations Act Public Law 106-79). No assistance is provided to any unit of the security forces for which the U.S. Government has credible evidence of commission of gross violations of human rights, unless the Secretary of State is able to certify that the Government of Colombia has taken effective measures to bring those responsible to justice. End-use monitoring also is required in these cases.

Military branches: Army (Ejercito Nacional), Navy (Armada Nacional, includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Colombiana), National Police (Policia Nacional)

Military manpower - military age: 18 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 10,599,704 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 7,093,676 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 370,356 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $3.4 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.7% (FY99)