An Analysis of the Implications of Joint Military Structures in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Colombia
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In 2010, the Southern Cone countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile established joint operational military structures as part of a more general reform of national security and defense institutions. While it is too soon to assess the impact of these institutional innovations, we can benefit from a quick overview of some of the main points of the successful U.S. effort at “jointness”1 in the Goldwater – Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 (G-N). Based on the experience of the U.S., the author is not sanguine that the formal move of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile to joint structures will soon result in an improvement in their joint military behavior. The U.S. Government and the United States Southern Command (USSOUTHCOM) in particular, can increase the chances of these joint structures becoming effective by orienting attention and resources to them and to the ministries of defense (MOD), which has inspired them, and not to the individual services. While Colombia has not mandated joint structures at the national level, it has established joint regional commands that most observers believe have proven effective in fighting the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionaries de Colombia (FARC). USSOUTHCOM can continue to support these regional joint commands, while also seeking to influence reform at the national level of the MOD and a strengthening of the joint staff. In this paper the author looks at the new joint structures in the three Southern Cone countries and to the regional commands in Colombia.
Western Hemisphere Security Analysis Center
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