Members of Colombia’s Congress asked President Juan Manuel Santos to consider ending the country’s compulsory military service law.
There is a deep need to “professionalize” Colombia’s military by adopting a fully voluntary service, said Senator Manuel Virguez Piraquive to newspaper El Espectador.
He went on to say that the recent attack that left 11 soldiers dead near the Venezuelan border demonstrates the need for a professional force that is “well-paid and trained.”
“None of the severe blows that the Armed Forces have given to criminal groups have been carried out by high school or regular soldiers that are serving mandatorily,” said Virguez.
Currently, male high school graduates who do not go to university must serve 12 months in the military. Those who don’t complete high school must serve 18 to 24 months. However Colombian law states that drafted soldiers cannot be sent to fight, so most inscripted men carry out administrative tasks.
The request to end mandatory service comes after the military proposed the concept of the “universal soldier” Wednesday which would eliminate distinctions between drafted and professional soldiers, while providing more well-rounded training to troops.