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Ministerio de Defensa / Defense Ministry
Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas

Decree 721/2016, signed on 01 June 2016, gave the armed forces the autonomy to decide personnel issues, removing much of the power from the Defence Ministry. According to the decree, the head of the armed forces joint staff would be able to designate officials in their branches, except for those that are of higher rank. The military would also be able to approve the qualifications of retired officers, allowing them to serve as teachers in military institutes and courses. Human rights organisations criticised the decision as one that returns the country to policies of the last military dictatorship.

Since the return of democracy, in the area of civil-military relations, a sort of implicit pact was consolidated between the various government administrations to demand the military sector to recognize its full institutional submission to the Executive, which in turn would not become deeply involved in substantive military aspects such as its organization, deployment and equipping. Such implicit pact of non-intervention was made evident, in the Ministry of Defenses excessive delegation of structural decisions to the Armed Forces and other government agencies.

In terms of resource management, it was reflected in the ministry of defenses low involvement in the elaboration of annual defense budgets. The Ministry systematically let the Economy Ministry define, year after year, not only the initial amount of resources allocated to the sector (a prerogative perfectly understandable given a global fiscal policy strategy), but also the resource allocations among the services, thus giving up the role of setting strategic criteria.

National Defense Act 23,554 (1988) regulation laid the foundations to start a process which by 2007 could not be deferred any longer: the creation of a definitely coordinated and organized defense system that may enable to respond to the National Executive guidelines with global coherence. In this sense, the strategic thinking CODENA will provide shall be the input for the development of the military- strategic planning, an ulterior and unavoidable guideline for the redesign of the military instrument from a joint perspective. Core aspects such as the size, deployment and equipping of the military instrument will be defined thereafter from a necessarily systemic and joint perspective.

For most of its history Argentina had no military forces deployed outside its borders or territorial waters. The only exceptions have been the Wars of Independence (1816-1824), the War of the Triple Alliance (1865-1870), and arguably, the 1982 war in the South Atlantic. Argentina remained neutral in both World War I and World War II, declaring war on the Axis in the latter mostly to become a charter member of the United Nations and so avoid losing prestige and voice in the postwar order.

Argentina was a reluctant partner in most international security arrangements until quite recently. Immediately following World War II the Juan Pern administration sought to make Argentina a Western Hemispheric rival to Brazil and even the United States for influence in South America. As with most countries in the Southern Cone, Argentine military doctrine at that time adhered to a geopolitical view of the world. Following Pern's political demise in 1955, however, the armed forces--who would be either in government or only a step away for the next twenty-eight years--assumed a purely national focus. They saw their roles and missions both in terms of internal security (preventing infiltration of local groups by communist cadres to foment insurgencies--a mission that would culminate in the "dirty war" of 1976-1979) and of external security (seeking to secure Argentina's borders and territorial claims, including most of the South Atlantic islands and a slice of Antarctica).

Two fundamental facts in the historical development of the defense and the Ministry of Defense took place with the promulgation, 13 June 1958, of the Law of Ministries 14,439 N and the sanction by the National Congress of the Law of National defense N 23,554 of the 13/04/88. By law 14,439 it was consecrated the present Ministry of Defense and disappeared the previous ministries of Defense, military, of Navy and Aeronautics, and its objective would be to coordinate and to supervise plans, actions and policies that allowed the forces to fulfill of more effective and forceful way the important mission reserved for them in the National Constitution. These two norms (Law 14,439 and 23,554 ) consolidate to the Ministry of Defense like the national organism in charge of all the related one to the defense of our country.

The primary mission of the Ministry of Defense is to assist the National Executive in the management, organization and coordination of the characteristics of National Defence activities, through a suitable military instrument guaranteeing to an external state aggressor integrity of its territory and security of its inhabitants, as well as the military conduct of war (Law No. 23,554 and Decree No. 727/07), to permanently ensure the sovereignty and independence of Argentina, its territorial integrity and power of self-determination, protecting the life and freedom of its inhabitants (National Defense Law and Constitution No. 23,554).

Also, in this task, are concurrent the sub-jurisdictions and entities: Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, Staffs General of the Army, Navy and Air Force, as well as contributing entities and agencies Institute of Financial Aid Payment Military Retirement and Pensions, the National Geographic Institute, the National Weather Service, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Research for Defence and the Naval Hydrography Service.

It is also the Ministry of Defense mission determine the necessary capabilities for military instrument through the application of the procedures and deadlines established by the Planning Cycle Defense (Decree No. 1729-1707) and guidance and criteria set for the organization and functioning of the Armed Forces (Decree No. 1691-1607), elaborating the respective policy directives and military strategic planning and determining from the same requirements and monitoring compliance.

The Defense Ministry is involved in the proposal of appointments to senior positions of the joint bodies which are subordinate to him and the proposal of the Armed Forces and their distribution, as well as promote a gender perspective in the field of jurisdiction, promoting initiatives to strengthen the integration of women and equal opportunities for career development within the Ministry and the Armed Forces.

It is also responsibility of the Ministry of Defense understand in coordinating logistics activities of the Armed Forces, under the orbit of the Logistics Service of Defense, in all matters relating to procurement, standardization, cataloging and classification of effects and emerging military planning set (No. 22,520 Law). To do this you must develop and implement a logistics planning contributor to force design set, so such to achieve capacities determined as necessary by military strategic planning, also guaranteed compatibility and interoperability between weapon systems and respect for the principles of effectiveness, efficiency, transparency and economy of scale.

The Ministry of Defense worked administratively between 1958 and 1967 in the Pink House, as of that year until 1997 in Stroll Columbus 255, city of Buenos Aires; year in which within the Program of Reconstruction and Rationalization of the ministry, it left the old seat and was transferred to its present seat in the Liberating Building located in Azopardo 250 of the city.

President Carlos Sal Menem of Argentina developed a military policy directed at increased participation in peacekeeping activities and projecting the image of a reliable international partner. This policy also offers the government a degree of leverage in the international arena. This can include offering the participation of armed forces in exchange for political and/or economic concessions from the world community. The number of Argentines deployed with the UN increased over 400 percent in six years -- from 20 observers in 1988 to over 1,400 troops in 1994. There were 890 Argentines in the UN Protection Force (UNPROFOR) in the former Yugoslavia and over 500 others stationed in eight other UN missions. If the current Argentine troop-rotation pattern continued, it was expected that better than 50 percent of the military's permanent personnel would have served with the UN.

The present Combined Headquarters of the Armed Forces (EMCO - Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas) has its origin in Law 13,234 sanctioned by the Congress of the Nation the 9 of September of 1948. The same one established the general guidelines referred to the National defense, considering the new effective concepts in the world to the light of the experiences gathered when finalizing World War II.

In fulfillment of the mission to coordinate and to direct the efforts of the three Armed Forces and the Operational Strategic Commandos, in all the missions and situations on which the average military had to insist, the Combined headquarters of the Armed Forces organized an Operations center of Emergencias (COE).

In close cooperation with the Armed Forces Joint Staff, the Ministry of Defense is working on the elaboration of a Defense Planning Cycle in order to provide the National State with a regulatory tool that may set forth a number of guidelines and documents of a political, military-strategic, and specifically-military nature, as well as working procedures, in whose context the defense policy shall be elaborated, implemented and evaluated.

The ministerial resolution implementing the new Defense Planning Cycle will enable to plan the defense policy and its military aspects for the short, medium and long term, based on a foreseeable scheme which, in turn, may allow for the implementation of the necessary adjustments according to the present circumstances and the strategic horizon.

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Page last modified: 09-06-2016 19:05:32 ZULU