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News   Partnerships

U.S., Colombia Plan Closer Military Ties

May 20, 2022 | BY David Vergun , DOD News

During a ceremony welcoming the Colombian defense minister to the Pentagon, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III said Colombia's recent designation as a major non-NATO ally reflects the depth and breadth of the nations' security relationship and reinforces their defense partnership. 

Two men stand at the top of a building’s steps as uniformed personnel stand in formation.
Pentagon Meeting
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III welcomes Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano for an enhanced honor cordon and meeting at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., May 20, 2022.
Photo By: David Vergun, DOD News
VIRIN: 220520-D-UB488-001C

"And it lays the groundwork for us to work together even more closely to make our neighborhoods safer and more prosperous," Austin told Colombian Defense Minister Diego Molano.

Molano said Colombia is proud to have been given the designation by President Joe Biden.

"Under this designation, we plan to deepen our ties and explore new cooperation areas, such as defense research and development," he said.

A sailor mans a gun on ship near a city’s coastline.
USS Billings
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Nathan David, assigned to the Freedom-variant littoral combat ship USS Billings, stands lookout as the ship arrives for planned maintenance in Cartagena, Colombia, Feb. 14, 2022.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Aaron Lau
VIRIN: 220214-N-GF955-1121

This year marks the 200th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Colombia, and the defense leaders remarked on the important milestone.

Molano said both the U.S. and Colombia continue to share the values of defending democracy and respecting human rights.

He also said his nation will work closely with the U.S. to fight against narcotraffickers, who are a threat to democracy, the environment and the population.

The secretary also thanked Molano for Colombia's condemnation of Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and for the country's offer to provide humanitarian support to the Ukrainian people.

A man holds up a finger while sitting in the open back hatch of a helicopter that’s flying over a forested area.
Jump Ready
A special tactics operator from the 24th Special Operations Wing signals one minute until jump time to his team, who are about to perform a static-line parachute-jump during Angel de los Andes Cooperacion VII in Rionegro, Colombia, Sept. 6, 2021.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Ridge Shan
VIRIN: 210906-F-KS667-0089

Austin said the topics for today's talks will include:

Looking for ways to strengthen the nations' defense relationship to bolster regional and global security.
Understanding the impact of mass migration on regional stability.
Analyzing the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation.
Discussing Colombian security challenges, as well as the country's efforts to prevent violence when voters go to the polls to elect a new president later this month.

"Our commitment to democracy and the rule of law, the protection of human rights and human dignity must remain steadfast. Mr. Minister, our two countries are bound, not just by geography and common interest but also by shared values," Austin said.