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Ejercito Argentino - Argentine Army

In 1990 Argentina began a transformation of the land component of its armed forces based on assessments of current and future defense needs, national objectives, economic conditions, and a changing international situation. This historical challenge was met by the Argentine army which implemented actions to achieve that end.

The Malvinas War clearly indicated the failure of Argentine doctrinal and operational framework. The conflict in the Falkland Islands, in the early 1980s, illustrated the need for proper equipment and training to handle the harsh environment. Many Argentine conscripts were poorly clothed and trained. Frostbite and trench foot were rampant in the Argentine Army.

In 1983 the Argentine Army was composed of some 100,000 active-duty professional soldiers who were complemented by some 80,000 conscripts. By mid-1985 the number of professional troops was believed to have dropped to some 65,000 personnel, primarily because of budget cuts. The number of conscripts completing their year of military service with the army also had been reduced to between 32,000 and 35,000. The army's traditional dual mission that of guaranteeing national defense against foreign threats and conserving domestic peace remained unchanged in the mid-1980s.

Budget policies and cost reductions embraced by the Argentine government, like other countries, compounded structural problems. To meet this reality, studies were required to guide development of the army. Thus, a long-range goal was implemented by a comprehensive and ambitious project, "The Military Ground Component of the Future," which spanned over twenty years (until 2010). That project, with subsequent revisions and adaptations, has become synonymous with the army's future. From the start the effort has been focused in a coherent and coordinated manner. Its most distinctive characteristic is that it is not static. On the contrary, it is flexible enough to assimilate changes deemed necessary by the defense establishment while also ensuring room for evolution.

The Argentine army has conducted peacekeeping operations among various other missions in an effort to help maintain international order and balance in compliance with resolutions of the U.N. Security Council. The military has thereby gained national and international recognition for its professionalism, devotion to duty, and discipline evidenced while participating in multinational peacekeeping forces. This motivation has enabled the Army to overcome other difficulties and strengthen a commitment to world peace, in keeping with the objectives of Argentine foreign policy.

The Army has reorganized its resources on the basis of two large groups engaged in different activities. The first one is a set of military units geographically distributed throughout the country, and operates in the areas of the national territory where they are located. They are called Regional Use Forces. These Forces are organized, equipped and trained to act in the various geographical regions of the country (mountains, desert, high plateau, forest, etc.) in the cases mentioned above, and they assist neighboring communities struck by natural disasters.

The second group is called Variable Use Forces and is organized and equipped so as to allow the Army to carry out its functions within and outside the national territory. Because of their versatility, autonomy and location these Forces allow the country to be ready to give the necessary, adequate and sustained response in the various scenarios where the interests of the Argentine Republic are at stake.

Variable Use Forces are located in central regions of the national territory, are provided with significant combat power and are able to move quickly to places where contingencies requiring their presence arise. Some of their main functions include the capability to move outside the country to comply with Argentina's international commitments.

Officers 5,300
Non-commissioned officers 20,600
Volunteer troops 15,500
TOTAL 41,400
Despite the world economic downturn, the armed forces continued to grow throughout the 1930s and 1940s. The total number of military personnel doubled from 50,000 at the time of the 1930 coup to 100,000 in 1943. The organizational structure of the military also changed to keep pace with the exponential growth in manpower. The number of army divisions had increased from five in 1920 to nine in 1945. In addition to the military regions established for ground forces in 1905, the First Army Command and the Second Army Command were created in 1938 to better coordinate divisional operations.

By the early 1960s the armed forces had shrunk to some 140,000 troops, of which 85,000 belonged to the army. Between 1955 and 1965 the army was reorganized twice. Shortly after Peron's ouster, five army corps each assigned to one of the five military regions were created, replacing the two army commands. By 1963 an army corps was abolished, and its jurisdiction collapsed into that of a contiguous military region. Brigades were also created in 1964, replacing divisions as the army's formations.

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