Colombian president shakes up military command

AP News
Posted: Sep 06, 2011 10:41 PM
Colombian president shakes up military command

President Juan Manuel Santos has replaced Colombia's military chief and also named new army, navy and air force commanders after announcing a new injection of $800 million in defense spending.

The replacement of Adm. Edgar Cely as armed forces chief comes amid stepped up attacks by leftist rebels and rising violence by drug-trafficking right-wing gangs.

The new military chief is Gen. Alejandro Navas, promoted from army chief. Navas is a counterinsurgency expert who previously commanded a U.S.-trained rapid reaction force and hunted down FARC rebels in their traditional stronghold.

The changes a year after Santos took office follow his naming last week of new Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.