Ecuador - Joint Command / Comando Conjunto
President Rafael Correa made changes in the military leadership 10 December 2016 by removing the joint command of the Armed Forces and the heads of the Navy and the Air Force, but retaining the Army commander. The Executive issued and signed several presidential decrees formalizing the changes from the coastal city of Milagro, where he heads an itinerant cabinet that travels around the country each week. Decree 1270 ceases the Joint Command of the Armed Forces Vice Admiral Oswaldo Zambrano Cueva, and designates a replacement. Decree 1271 ceases Commander-in-Chief of the Naval Force Fernando Noboa Rodas. And finally, with decree 1272, Correa appoints Brigadier Patricio Mora Escobar as general commander of the Air Force.
Correa previously dismissed the military high command after being accused of trying to manipulate soldiers in February 2016. The heads of Ecuador's armed forces allegedly overcharged for land they sold to the Ministry of the Environment to the tune of some US$41 million. When the Correa administration confronted the leaders about it, asking for a refund, the head of the Joint Command of the Armed Forces, Luis Garzon, accused the government of depriving the military of money, especially for pensions.
Correa said military officials are permitted to go out in public to talk about technical and emergency matters, with permission from the Ministry of Defense. In the case of the dismissed military leadership, they tried to contradict their commander-in-chief, "being inaccurate, saying that the Constitution is broken, that it has been an abuse," Correa said in February 2016. This action was taken only weeks before they were due to retire. It's seen as a mainly symbolic gesture aimed at sending a message that he would not allow the military to disobey him.
The Joint Command / Comando Conjunto has its origin in the Decree Executive number 063, of date 29 of April of 1972, signed by José María Velasco Ibarra. Under the new Constitution, this is the highest body of planning, preparation and strategic direction of military operations and advice on military policy, war and national defense.
It consists of the Chief of the joint command and the General commanders of the land, Naval and air force. It develops its joint planning on the basis of the directive for national defence, issued by the Ministry of national defence. Its mission is to plan, prepare and conduct military operations at the strategic level and advise on the military policies of war and national defense.
The goal is a modern military, professional, highly operational, systematically integrated, respectful of the Constitution and human rights, based on ethical, moral, civic, values with second-strike capability to deal effectively with internal and external threats to ensure security, the development and el Ecuador national interests.
The Joint Command, consisting of its chief and chief of staff of the Joint Command as well as the commanders of the three service branches, also directly advised the president. The Joint Command had its own staff organized into functional departments. Each of the three services had staffs organized along similar lines. The minister of national defense was normally a senior active-duty or retired officer. His influence on national defense policy generally depended on his rank relative to the chief of the Joint Command and his personal relationship to the president.
The Ecuadorian military is working to better understand Ecuador's current social situation so that the GOE can develop the type of military expected or hoped for by the Ecuadorian people. By 2008 the Ecuadorian military was looking to develop joint task forces focused on Ecuador's coast, mountainous and Amazon jungle regions.
All retired career personnel and all conscripts had reserve status until the age of fifty. The armed forces maintained a skeleton reserve organization at the national level, directly under the Ministry of National Defense, as well as cadre organizations staffed by retired officers and NCOs in various areas of the country. Training exercises were not generally held, but former conscripts assigned to reserve units could expect to be called up for annual weekend musters.
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