Military Districts and Sectors
The Armed Forces are organized into three Military Districts: Western Command (Havana and Pinar del Rio provinces), Central Command (Matanzas, Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sancti Spiritus provinces), and Eastern Command (Santiago de Cuba, Guantanamo, Granma, Holguin, Las Tunas, Camaguey, and Ciego de Avila provinces). The Isla de la Juventud (Isle of Youth) is an autonomous military region.
The Military Districts roughly divide the island into thirds, corresponding with territory under either the Western, Central, or Eastern Armies. Since 1993 the commands have been unified, with the units of the DAAFAR and MGR having been brought under the operational control of the territorial army chiefs. By the beginning of the 1990s, the Isla de la Juventud Military Region-which was established in 1962 and in the 1980s was an independent command, with a single infantry division-had been brought under the authority of the Western Army.
The Military District is the territorial grouping of forces and means that is designated for the defense of an operative region. Its headquarters commands of the organizations that are subordinated to him, extending its competition to other formation in agreement with the established thing in the Law of the National defense. It is the military organ subordinated to the head of the army of the respective territories.
For the fulfillment of its missions and tasks of time of peace, the headquarters of the Military district establishes relations of work with the provincial assemblies of the Popular Power to plan, to organize and to control the policy drawn up in relation to the preparation for the defense of the territories. In addition it is authorized to coordinate and to organize with the organs of administration of the provincial assemblies of the Popular Power, the execution of the tasks related to the defense, with the purpose of complimenting the military duties established by the laws and other dispositions on the matter.
For the fulfillment of its functions the military district is integrated by the military control elements of its headquarters, sectors, combat units, as well as other organizations. The military headquarters of the region and sectors assume the functions granted by the law in exceptional situations.
The Military Sector is the territorial grouping of forces and means that is designated for the defense of the municipality. It counts on a headquarters that exerts the unit command of the Military Services of Territorial Troops. The headquarters of the military sector is the organ in charge to coordinate and to organize the measures for the passage of the municipality of time from peace to exceptional situations; the military registry and use of the human potential in the defense; the preparation of the personnel, control units and direction, and the measures of civil defense, as well as the control of troops who are subordinated to him in military time.
The Western Army, organized in 1970, is the largest of the three territorial commands, and is generally considered the most strategically important because its troops are responsible for the defense of the nation's capital as well as Cuba's most important military installations. In addition to the Isla de la Juventud, the territory under the Western Army includes the provinces of Pinar del Rio, La Habana, and Ciudad de La Habana, where its headquarters is shared with the MINFAR. The Western Army is also thought to be subdivided into three army corps-the Havana Eastern Corps, the Havana Western Corps, and the Pinar del Rio Corps-plus the Isla de la Juventud Military Region. Since 1989 the Western Army has been led by Division General Leopoldo "Polo" Cintra Frias, a Politburo member, former commander of Cuban forces in Angola, and Hero of the Republic. Each of the provinces under the Western Army's command has its own general staff. This organizational pattern at the provincial level is replicated in the Central and Eastern Armies.
The Central Army was established in April 1961, only thirteen days before the Bay of Pigs landing at Playa Giron in the province of Matanzas. In addition to Matanzas, the provinces under the Central Army's command include Cienfuegos, Santa Clara, and Sancti Spiritus. Its headquarters is in Santa Clara, the capital of Villa Clara Province. The Central Army is further subdivided into three army corps, consisting of the Matanzas Corps, the Central Corps (which has command over troops stationed in Villa Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sancti Spiritus provinces), and the Ciego de Avila Corps. In 1999 the chief of the Central Army was Division General Joaquin Quintas Sola, who has held that post since 1984.
The Eastern Army, established in April 1961, held command over personnel stationed in the provinces of Camagiiey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Guancinamo from its headquarters in Santiago de Cuba. In 1999 the chief of the Eastern Army was Division General Ramon Espinosa Martin, who has held that command for the past fifteen years. The Eastern Army is also organized into three army corps, consisting of the Camagiiey, the Northern, and the Southern Army Corps. The Northern Army Corps had authority over troops in the provinces of Las Tunas and Holguin. The Southern Army Corps had command over units deployed in the provinces of Granma, Santiago de Cuba, and Guancinamo. Also under the Eastern Army's command is the elite Border Brigade (Brigada de la Frontera), which maintains watch over the United States Naval Station at Guantanamo Bay.
The IISS reported in 1999 that the army's troop formations consisted of four to five armored brigades; nine mechanized infantry brigades; an airborne brigade; fourteen reserve brigades; and the Border Brigade. In addition, there is an air defense artillery regiment and a surface-to-air missile brigade. Each of the three territorial armies was believed to be assigned at least one armored brigade-usually attached to the army's headquarters-as well as a mechanized infantry brigade. As well, it is known that the Border Brigade in Guantanamo and at least one ground artillery regiment (attached to a mechanized infantry brigade), based in Las Tunas, are under the Eastern Army's command. Unfortunately, there is relatively little public information available with respect to the organization of the ground forces within the three armies, let alone the equipment that pertains to each of these commands. Nevertheless, the Western Army is known to have the greatest priority for the FAR leadership, and is also likely to be assigned the most personnel and the most equipment; this would be followed, according to defense priorities, by the Eastern Army, and, lastly, by the Central Army.
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