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J-30 before the opening of ExpoDefensa 2021 Defense and Security exhibition in Colombia.

| 2021

J-30 before the opening of ExpoDefensa 2021, the International Defense and Security Exhibition that will take place in Bogota, Colombia from 29 November to 1 December 2021. This event is organized by CORFERIAS and COGES events in collaboration with the Ministry of National Defense of Colombia.

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Colombian Special Forces show their ability to conduct anti-terrorism operations during the edition 2019 of ExpoDefensa. (Picture source Army Recognition)

Since 2015, The MINDEFENSA (CODALTEC)-CORFERIAS-COGES alliance has developed Expodefensa, making it the main hub for defense and security in Latin America and the Caribbean, where international exhibitors present their systems and products to respond to growing regional demand. The aim of Expodefensa is to help governments and armed forces face their operational and capability challenges while playing a role in building a safer Latin America.

Expodefensa is one of the most important Defense and Security Exhibition in the region and will be attended by more than 75 official delegations from 24 countries including Ministers of Defense, Chief of Staff, and Police departments. During the event, international and national companies will showcase defense and security products in the fields of Land, Air, and Sea. 

ExpoDefensa 2021 will be also visited by International visitors from governments, Security and Defense forces, Private Security actors, and the industry, from all the countries of the continent. 

In Colombia, the armed forces continued in 2019 to tackle small groups of remaining dissidents and other forms of criminality, as well as supporting the security forces. After the 2016 peace deal signed in Havana with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the armed forces had been looking to future roles, structures and capabilities beyond those required for internal-security operations. However, the decision by a FARC splinter group, the FARC-EP, in August 2019 to resume their military campaign led Colombia’s armed forces to refocus on the internal-security challenge.

Citing a report of the U.S. International Trade Administration, the Government of Colombia’s 2020 Defense and Police budget is focused on modernizing the Armed Forces and to face the country security challenges (in the regions). Ongoing conflicts will sustain spending of approximately 3.6 percent of the country’s annual economic output on training and equipment for the military and police. Overall, the 2020 defense budget received an annual four percent increase, which will have little impact when considering inflation and Colombian peso devaluation. The budget will allow for the slow replacement and maintenance of aging equipment, the building of new police stations (battalions and commandos), upgrades to communication equipment, and support for demining brigades. The Ministry of Defense added that part of the increase in military investment will be used to return Armed Forces to areas that have not seen troops in a long time because of the FARC. This return of more manpower has expensive logistical repercussions.

The Colombian Armed Forces have a budget of approximately USD 10.9 billion, which is equivalent to roughly 14 percent of the total Colombian budget for 2020. Most of the defense budget will be designated for operational activities, such as payroll, procurement of basic goods and services, and pensions. Only USD 294 million (about two percent) will be invested in strengthening the security and strategic capacity of the Armed Forces through the purchase of new equipment.

The internal and external defense and security structure is composed of the Army, Navy (which includes Marines and Coast Guard), Air Force, and the National Police. Under Plan Colombia, significant U.S. funding, technical assistance, and equipment support have been provided to Colombian-led counter-narcotics programs for drug eradication and interdiction. Plan Colombia expired in 2012, but American support remains critical to Colombia’s Armed Forces, which today mostly comes from the U.S. State Department’s INL division (International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs).

Despite the peace accord with the FARC, the Colombian government continues to spend on military training and the fight against narco-terrorism, trade in contraband, and to secure at-risk areas using the National Police. Colombia is especially committed to developing security surveillance and enforcement in remote regions of the country such as La Guajira, Arauca, Choco, Putumayo, Nariño, Cauca, and Meta, areas where the government has exercised little to no presence, giving leeway for criminal activity to flourish.

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