By Colombian War College January 09, 2017 Major General Nicacio de Jesús Martínez Espinel, former commander of the Omega Joint Task Force, was named director of the Colombian War College (ESDEGUE, for its Spanish acronym) during a military ceremony chaired by General Juan Pablo Rodríguez Barragán, commander general of the Armed Forces. Maj. Gen. Martínez Espinel, an officer in the Cavalry arm of the Colombian Army, graduated from the “José María Córdova” Military School of Cadets as a second lieutenant on December 1, 1981. He holds a Master’s Degree in National Security and Defense from ESDEGUE, with specializations in University Teaching from the Military Education Center; Human Resources Management from Sergio Arboleda University; and Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law from the Autonomous University of Bucaramanga. He also holds the titles of logistics administrator and business manager from the Logistics School and the Cooperative University of Colombia, respectively. Gen. Martínez Espinel speaks Portuguese and took an English course at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C. He also took advanced courses in weapons refinement with the Brazilian Army, and a Ranger Course at the Colombian Army Ranger School in Tolemaida, among others. He has held many notable positions, among them commander of the Omega Joint Task Force, Colombian Army chief of Education and Doctrine, and director of Instruction and Training, commander of the Army’s 5th Division, commander of the 4th and 7th Brigades, director of Army Intelligence and Counterintelligence, commander of the Mechanized Cavalry Group No. 2, commander of the Rural Special Forces No. 3 Battalion, and commander of the Counter-guerrilla Battalion. A highly decorated officer, he has received the Order of Boyacá at the grade of Grand Officer, the National Order of Merit “Antonio Nariño”, the Order of Military Merit “José María Córdova,” the Medal for Distinguished Services to Public Order for the third time, the Order of Merit “Colonel Guillermo Ferguson”, and the Military Medal for Services to Military Intelligence “Guardian of the Country” for the fourth time. He also has received four international distinctions: the Order of Military Merit from the Brazilian Army, the U.S. Army Commendation Medal, the U.S. Southern Command Medal, and the Inter-American Defense Board Medal. In his acceptance speech, Maj. Gen. Martínez expressed his satisfaction at taking on the responsibility for the office of the highest superior education institution of the Colombian Armed Forces. He also thanked the high command for their trust in assigning him the position previously held by Major General Juan Carlos Salazar Salazar, who is now the new Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces. He said he would continue his legacy. “His work internationalizing the academy through cooperation among institutions at the hemispheric and global levels, the construction of Historic Memory, and research for the development of the Fifth Revision and Innovation Committee has created and contributed valuable input for consolidating our victory,” he stated. He also said that it is his “duty to continue building understanding, creating new knowledge, and applying it to new issues in the community to contribute to its development and well being.” Meanwhile, in his farewell speech, Major Gen. Salazar said, “In honor of our heroes that have given their lives for the homeland, and the anonymous work of the men and women of the Armed Forces and the Police, a historic moment has arrived, a time to begin a change, and we are moving forward both optimistically and realistically to build the society that we all yearn for.” He stressed that the military victory achieved through respect for democracy, the Constitution, and the rule of law derives from the fulfillment of their constitutional mission. “Specifically, here, at ESDEGUE, we generate an important flow of contributions to that victory which opens the way to building the future,” he concluded.