Ministerio de Defensa / Fuerzas Armadas de España
The Armed Forces of Spain (Fuerzas Armadas de España - FFAA or FAS) are an official organization responsible for the national defence of Spain. The Supreme command corresponds to the King of Spain, Juan Carlos I, according to article 62 of the Constitution. The Minister of Defense is Pedro Morenes (PP) and head of the of the defence staff (JEMAD usually) is the Admiral general Fernando García Sánchez. The armed forces are active members of NATO, the Eurocorps and European Union battle groups.
The concept of National Defence is based on the Spanish Constitution and ties the entire society to the safeguard of national sovereignty and interests. It concerns all of the State's components: the citizens as individuals; the society articulated through its constitutive elements; and the public authorities.
The Constitution assigns to the Armed Forces the mission of "guaranteeing the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defending its territorial integrity and constitutional system". It also states that it is incumbent on the King, Head of State and a symbol of its unity and permanence (art. 56.1), to be the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces (art. 62h), as well as, prior authorisation from the Parliament, to declare war and make peace (art. 63.3). It is incumbent on the Government (art. 97) to direct "domestic and foreign policy, civil and military Administration and the State defence".
The Parliament passes the laws regarding Defence, the corresponding budget appropriations and exercises control over the Government's action in Defence matters. Likewise, it grants previous authorisation for international military treaties and conventions and debate the general terms for defence policy and, singularly, the recruiting and modernisation plans. It is set forth that, specifically, the Congress of Deputies is to authorise, in advance, participation of the Armed Forces outside the national territory.
The Minister of Defence is responsible for the development and execution of the Defence policy. He/she specifically assists the Prime Minister in the strategic management of military operations and commands the actions of the Armed Forces under his/her authority. Moreover, the Minister of Defence determines and executes military policy, manages Military Administration and develops the regulation directives and provisions taken on by the Council of Ministers.
The executive management of Defence counts on the assistance of the National Defence Council. The Organic Law on National Defence, in its article 8, defines the Council as "the collegiate body that coordinates, advises and counsels the Prime Minister in defence matters". To the Prime Minister's initiative, it may work in a plenary session or as an executive council." On proposal of the president of the Executive, the National Defence Council shall inform the King in a plenary session." When the King attends its meetings, he shall preside. The National Defence Council shall assist the Prime Minister in the direction of armed conflicts and in the management of the crisis situations that affect the defence and, in general, in the remaining duties of the president set in article 6 of said Law. It shall also issue a report on the important directives of the Defence policy and offer the Government proposals about matters related to it that, as they affect several ministries, require a joint proposal.
The National Defence Council, in a plenary session, comprises the Prime Minister, the vice-presidents, the Minister of Defence, the Minister for the Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, and the Minister for Economic Affairs and Finance. As well as the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), the Chief of the General Staff (CGS), the Chief of the Admiral in Chief of the Naval Staff (AJEMA) and the Chief of Air Staff (CAS), the director of the National Intelligence Centre (CNI), and the director of the Prime Minister's Cabinet.
The Executive Council comprises the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence, the Minister for the Interior, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, the Chief of Defence Staff, the CNI director, and the director of the Prime Minister's Cabinet. Moreover, according to the nature of the issues that are addressed, the rest of the members of Government and other authorities or officers of the General State Administration may be summoned both to the Plenary Session and to the Executive Council.
In accordance with the Organic Law on National Defence 5/2005, the Armed Forces are organised in two structures: one organic, for the preparation of the forces, and one operative, for their employment in the missions assigned to them. The operative structure, established for the development of joint and combined action, is organised in accordance with the principle of command unity and with the criteria necessary to achieve the maximum operative capacity. The Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) exercises the command of the Defence Staff, in whose organisation there is a General Headquarters and a Subordinate Operations Command (OC).
It is incumbent on the CDS to exercise, subject to the Minister of Defence, the command of the operative structure of the Armed Forces and the strategic management of military operations. National Defence Directive 01/2004 ordered the implementation of the OC of the Armed Forces in order to exercise the planning and management of operations. Likewise, the creation of the Joint Rapid Reaction Force (FCRR) was ordered. It comprises highly available and trained units capable of being deployed in a very short period of time for contingency missions under the OC of the Armed Forces.
It is incumbent on the King, prior authorisation of the Parliament, to declare ware and make peace, in accordance with article (art.) 63.3 of the Constitution. The Prime Minister takes on the strategic direction of military operations in case of use of force and the management of the crisis situations that affect the defence, assisted by the Ministry of Defence and by the National Defence Council. Art. 6, 7 and 8 of the Organic Law on National Defence (O.L. 5/2005, of 17 November).
It is incumbent on the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to exercise, subject to the Minister of Defence, the operative command of the Armed Forces and the strategic management of military operations. (art. 12 of the Organic Law on National Defence). In times of armed conflict and during the state of siege, the actions of the Guardia Civil shall be directly dependent on the Ministry of Defence and shall be coordinated by the National Defence Council. Likewise, in said cases, the National Police Corps shall be coordinated by the National Defence Council, to the extent that the Prime Minister determines. (art. 25 and 27 of the Organic Law on National Defence).
The state of siege shall be declared by the Congress of Deputies by absolute majority, on the Government's exclusive proposal, as set in article 116.4 of the Constitution, which in turn refers to an organic law to regulate the states of alarm, emergency and siege, as well as the corresponding responsibilities and limitations (O.L. 4/1981). These legal regulations specify that the Government may propose the declaration of state of siege to the Congress of Deputies "when an uprising or act of force occurs against the sovereignty or independence of Spain, its territorial integrity or the constitutional system that cannot be solved by other means" (art. 32). It adds that "the corresponding declaration shall determine the territorial limits, duration and conditions of the state of siege".
The Organic Law 4/1981 that regulates the States of Alarm, Emergency and Siege does not consider specific interventions of the Armed Forces in the first two cases (state of alarm and state of emergency), which does not mean that such circumstances do not have a bearing on the Military Administrations, whose collaboration and help can be specially effective given their specific nature and training. The aforementioned Law defines "art. 1.1" that it shall proceed to the declaration of one of the three states "when extraordinary circumstances make it impossible to stay under normal conditions with the ordinary power of the competent authorities".
The state of alarm may be declared "by the Government by means of a decree agreed to in the Council of Ministers during a maximum period of fifteen days" (art. 116.2 of the Constitution) in all or part of the national territory (art. 4 of the O.L. 4/1981) when there are catastrophes, calamities or public disasters (earthquakes, floods, fires, big accidents...); health crises (epidemics, serious contamination situations...); interruption of public services that are essential to the community or situations of shortage of basic commodities.
The state of emergency "shall be declared by the Government by means of a decree agreed to in the Council of Ministers, prior authorisation from the Congress of Deputies" (art. 116.3 of the Constitution) when "the free exercise of the citizens' rights and freedoms, the normal operation of the democratic institutions, that of the public services that are essential to the community, or any other aspect of law and order, are so seriously altered that the use of ordinary authorities is insufficient to establish it and maintain it." (art. 13 of O.L. 4/1981).
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