Dominican Republic Army
Ejército de República Dominicana
The primary role of the Dominican Army is national defense against external enemies and internal security. As of 1999, the Dominican army had a strength of approximately 15,000, about twice the size of the navy and air force combined. The army is organized into brigades composed of battalions that fall into one of two categories—administrative, which perform constabulary functions, and tactical, which are organized as combat units. Purely tactical brigades were generally composed of three battalions, while administrative brigades had no fixed number of battalions and may have as many as five or six.
The army consisted of six infantry brigades, a combat support brigade, and a combat service support brigade as of 2010, according to the State Department Background Note. The Dominican Army is organized around the country into three defensive zones. According to the US Marine Corps, individual brigades are assigned a defense zone. Brigade headquarters are in Santo Domingo (1st), Santiago de los Caballeros (2nd), and Barahona (3rd). One infantry battalion is garrisoned in the same municipality as the brigade headquarters, while the others are deployed at the company and platoon level throughout the brigade area.
The Southern Defense Zone, headquartered in Santo Domingo, covers the area between San Cristobal and the Mona Passage, encompassing the provinces of Peravia, San Cristobal, El Seibo, San Pedro de Macoris, La Romana, La Altagracia, and the national district of Santo Domingo. The Northern Defense Zone, which is headquartered in Santiago de los Caballeros, covers the area extending from Santiago to the Samana peninsula, encompassing the provinces of Puerto Plata, Santiago, La Vega, Espaillat, Salcedo, Duarte, Sanchez Ramirez, Maria Trinidad Sanchez, and Samana.
The Western Defense Zone, headquartered in San Juan de la Maguana, covers the area adjoining the Haitian frontier and the area extending from Valverde in the north to Azua in the south. This zone encompasses the provinces of Azua, Dajabon, Montecristi, Santiago Rodriguez, La Estrelleta, San Juan, Bahoruco, Independencia, Pedernales, and Barahona.
The army's principal small arm is the German G3 7.62mm rifle. Its armored assets include twelve French AMX-13 tanks and twelve American M-41A1 light tanks, all mounting 76mm guns. Eight Cadillac Gage V-150 Commando armored vehicles and twenty half-tracks serve as armored personnel carriers. The artillery units maintain twenty-two 105mm towed howitzers and are also equipped with 81mm and 120mm mortars. Most of the foregoing weapons date from the post-World War II period, and their present operational utility is considered doubtful.
Army enlisted personnel receive basic training at the Armed Forces Training Center near San Isidro, ten kilometers east of the capital. Advanced and specialized training is also provided to relevant units. Officer candidates are required to be highschool graduates and to meet strict physical requirements. Officer cadets attend the four-year Military Academy at San Isidro. A six-month course for infantry captains and lieutenants is conducted to prepare young officers to function as company commanders. Senior officers attend the Armed Forces Staff College in Santo Domingo to prepare for battalion-level and higher commands.
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