Latin American Military - Argentina

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Revised: February 1, 1999
Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.

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Argentinian flag.

Argentina's military organisations have a proud history starting with the Independence Wars when the Argentinian Army was instrumental in the freedom of a number of South American countries (Chile, Paraguay, Perú and Uruguay).

G222 del Ejército Argentino.

During the formative years of the nation they proved to be up to their task either by active defense or by dissuasive power. They were specially employed in the expansion south to the Patagonia in what is called today La Guerra del Desierto against the fearsome Mapuche tribe.

But their deep involvement in the internal politics of Argentina with its litany of «disappeared» persons and other human rights violations during the Guerra Sucia badly tarnished the image of the armed forces. The Falklands/Malvinas defeat signified the complete collapse of whatever respect was left and the end of the military rule.

FAA's A-4 AR.

As usual, the defeat showed the shortcomings of the Argentinian military organisations. The most relevant were:

However, since then the military institutions have started a very ambitious and long term plan with the objective of rebuilding themselves. The Army leads the charge with major changes ranging from the end of conscription and complete professionalisation up to major unit's redeployment and reshuffling, including a concerted PR effort both internally and internationally.

FAA's forward observers (FAA).

FAA's Mirage IIIC.

While currently the Argentinian military is in no state to engage in external adventurism it is certain to emerge in the next decade as a fully professional and well prepared organisation able to intervene abroad quickly and efficiently. This is likely to strain the balance of power with Chile when a "cold start" military action is possible given the lack of strategic depth inherent to that country.

The help provided by the US to the UK during the Falklands/Malvinas war is considered to have been a prime reason for the defeat. The current strategy of complete alignment with the US can be seen as an attempt to avoid the US dumping Argentina in the case of a future confrontation. Being declared a non-NATO ally is certainly a step in the right direction for Argentina but one cannot but wonder at what are the US objectives behind this move.

Exocet missile test.

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Organisations

Ejército Argentino (EA)
Armada República Argentina (ARA)
Fuerza Aérea Argentina (FAA)
Gendarmería Nacional Argentina (GNA)
Prefectura Naval (PNA)
Policía Federal (PF)

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Bibliography

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Copyright © 1997-1999 by Juan Carlos Barroux R.

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Juan Carlos Barroux R. - lamilitary@reocities.com

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