Several of theses objectives stem from a belief in that the Colombian government should protect Colombian society from the effects of terrorism and the illegal drug trade, and in turn society as a whole should have a more active and comprehensive role in the government's struggle against illegal armed groups such as the FARC and ELN guerrillas or the paramilitary AUC, in order to ensure the defense and continued existence of the opportunity for both leftwing and rightwing political parties to engage in free and open debate, along with all the other aspects of democratic life.
The Colombian Embassy in Washington states that, as a result of this policy, the Colombian armed forces would now have: "60% more combat ready soldiers than four years ago; Helicopters which have significantly improved the mobility of Armed Forces throughout the national territory; Attack helicopters ensuring means to be more aggressive in the fight against FARC and AUC; Increased basic combat supplies, including rifles and ammunition; and [has received] significant less human rights complaints against them.
Several critical analysts have accepted that there have been some factual improvements in the areas of security (for the most part) and human rights (to a lesser degree), but they also question the exact validity and application of some of the statements, pointing out serious problems, in particular (but not only) paramilitary related, which remain a source of grave concern. It is argued that any limited short term results achieved in this manner would not be sufficient to effectively resolve the country's prolonged state of violence, and in fact may actually worsen the situation by alienating or intimidating part of the population, directly or indirectly.
Several of the critics also argue that, due to the increased degree of involvement of the civilian population, that this policy overexposes civilians to the dangers of the conflict, becoming potential targets for any abuses committed both by the illegal armed groups and the government's security forces. From this point of view, the resulting polarization caused by the long term application of the policy would also be considered an obstacle to the achievement of a negotiated solution of the conflict with FARC and ELN guerrillas.
A number of the more radical critics, in particular leftwing extremists and sympathizers or members of FARC, also consider that "democratic security" may be a euphemism for the controversial national security policy that existed throughout South America during the later stages of the Cold War, seeking to stop the spread of Communism. This would imply that the application this policy would also lead to the repression of any form of dissent and opposition to the current administration, including student movements and political parties. Supporters of the policy (and most other critics) tend to not consider the previous argument to be accurate, arguing that there are several differences between both policies, in particular that the democratic security policy is being implemented by a legally elected government, in an environment where a number of democratic and political liberties are guaranteed, despite the continuing conflict.