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El Salvador Navy / Fuerza Naval

The Naval Force is a permanent branch of the armed forces, which is a framework, preparation and employment, composed of the headquarters, the fleet, Bases Naval, Captaincies of port, naval detachments and units of infantry of Navy, necessary for the execution of missions of naval character, in defence of the sovereignty and the national territory. The command of the Naval Force is exercised by the Chief of the General Staff General of the Naval Force, who will be an Admiral or an official Superior diploma of staff, of weapons, notable and recognized professional trajectory control qualities. The Organization and functions of the Naval Force are regulated by an internal regulation.

The Mission of the Naval Force is exerted on the part of the territory of the Republic, in accordance with article 84 of the Constitution of the Republic, which includes: The island territory composed of Islands, islets and cays that correspond to El Salvador. Territorial waters and in the community of the Gulf of Fonseca, which is a historic Bay with characters in closed sea, whose regime is determined by international law.

The primary mission of the El Salvador Navy is to enforce El Salvadors economic exclusion zone and to protect the countrys maritime resources and sovereignty. The Navy has been shifting toward a maritime law enforcement role, emphasizing counter-drug operations, but lacks adequate funding. The Navy also performs contraband control checks and verifies fishing permits. Additional naval missions include riverine operations, search and rescue, disaster relief, environmental conservation and protection, as well as transportation of the civilian population. There is also a naval detachment to protect Salvadoran fishermen from Guatemalan naval forces. Revived in 1952, after a lapse of more than forty years without any naval vessels, the new navy assumed the functions of the established coast guard and expanded them to include coastal patrol and fishery protection. The navy also absorbed patrol craft from the coast guard; these craft, principally British vessels, were decommissioned by 1981 and replaced by United States-built boats.

The Naval Commandos force was established in August 1982 as a sixty-man unit intended to improve response to guerrilla operations in coastal areas. By mid- 1985 the force numbered 330 men, among them 12 frogmen, 90 base security troops, and 110 men who regularly handled the weapons aboard their high-speed patrol boats. The Naval Commandos prowled mangroves, coconut forests, and beaches in eight- to fifteen-man teams, ambushing guerrilla columns and raiding rebel encampments.

In 1988 the Salvadoran Navy, with at least 1,300 members, included the 600-man Marine Infantry Battalion (Batallon de Infanteria de MarinaBIM), a 330-man commando unit, and some conscripts. The principal naval base was located at La Union. A naval school was located at Army Headquarters in San Salvador. In the late 1980s, the navy had acquired thirty patrol craft.

The Commander of the Navy has direct control over El Salvadors naval forces. He reports to the Chief, Joint General Staff, who answers to the Minister of Defense, who answers to the president. The Navy commander is a Captain. The FNES is headquartered at San Salvador and primarily based at La Union. the main bases are La Union, Acajutla, la Libertad, and Puerto el Triunfo, Lake Guija. The Navy has no deepwater capability, which prevents it from providing an effective defense of the coastline or territorial waters. Its main duties are counterdrug and fishery protection.

Strength is reportedly between 800 and 1,075 by the year 2015. A naval infantry contingent of about company size accounted for 150 personnel of the total and there are also support troops.

Enlisted navy personnel receive 15 weeks of basic training conducted by the naval staff at La Union. A small navy training school at La Union provides enlisted technical instruction. Training covers military and mechanical skills and emphasizes on-the-job training. Many specialists, particularly mechanics and communications personnel, enter the Navy directly from civilian life, bypassing the regular basic training program. A commissioning program exists for senior enlisted personnel. Training for the Marine Company emphasizes small-unit operations. The United States also provides advanced training to selected naval officers. San Salvador and La Union are the main naval training areas.

Naval activities consist of rotating one or two craft from the Jiquilisco Bay area to Puerto El Triunfo. The Navy also maintains one 30-meter (100- foot) Camcraft anchored at Acajutla, which leaves port only on orders from the Combined Staff. Twice a year another Camcraft deploys to La Libertad to support rescue operations during national holidays. The rest of the fleet operates from La Union and patrols mostly in the Gulf of Fonseca.

The naval logistics system is headquartered in San Salvador; however, the supply section at La Union is responsible for ordering all patrol boat parts and supplies for the Navy. A stock control card system has been implemented at La Union to improve efficiency in ordering supplies. The Navy is equipped with a variety of coastal and river patrol craft.

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