FMLN, defense expenditures, Treasury Police, military age, civilian control
El Salvador in 2001 maintained a military with 16,800 personnel. Branches consisted of an army (15,000 members), navy (700), and air force (1,100). These forces are relatively small, especially since the conclusion of the civil war, and defense expenditures in 2000 were 1.6 percent of the GDP. Two years of military service is compulsory for men between the ages of 18 and 30, but with more than 75,000 males reaching military age annually, the government calls relatively few to service.
The army, along with other security forces, has historically played an important role in Salvadoran politics, and during the civil war the armed forces aided the government in repressing dissidents. The peace agreements implemented in 1992 called for decreasing the armed forces from the wartime high of 63,000 to 32,000, a goal that had been surpassed by 1995. The Treasury Police, National Police, and National Guard were abolished, and the intelligence service was transferred to civilian control. A new civilian police force replaced the discredited National Police, including former guerrillas from the FMLN among its members.
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