Colombia’s defense minister said Thursday that the military will add 25,000 new soldiers to its ranks over the next two years, reported local media.
Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon made the announcement while visiting the defense exposition, “Expodefensa” in the capital, Bogota.
The announcement also comes in the midst of peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in which some have questioned the fate of the over 430,000 military and police personnel currently enlisted to fight the guerrilla.
A reduction of the security forces has “not even been discussed” according to Pinzon.
Pinzon declared at the defense exposition that, “We will have 25,000 more men, more equipment [and] more capabilities.”
The buildup comes on the heels of President Santos’ approval of a $5.7 billion increase to Colombia’s military budget.
Pinzon justified the expansion by pointing out that “Colombia is a very large area. It is the size of Spain and France put together.”