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Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic
Fuerzas Armadas de la Republica Argentina
The Libertador Building, headquarters of the Ministry of Defense and military high command
Service branches Ministry of Defence:
Argentine Army
Argentine Air Force
Argentine Navy
Ministry of the Interior:
Argentine National Gendarmerie
Argentine Naval Prefecture
Commander-in-Chief President Cristina Kirchner
Minister of Defense Nilda Garré
Chief of staff Lieutenant General Jorge Chevalier
Military age 18 years old
Conscription volunteer
Available for
military service
10,029,488 males, age 15–49,
9,889,002 females, age 15–49
Fit for
military service
8,352,147 males, age 15–49,
8,366,781 females, age 15–49
Reaching military
age annually
350,040 males,
334,830 females
Budget US$5.6 billion (FY 2007)[1]
Percent of GDP 2.1% (FY 2007)
Domestic suppliers Fabricaciones Militares
Fabrica Militar de Aviones
Rio Santiago Shipyard
Foreign suppliers  United States
Related articles
History Military history of Argentina
Ranks Argentine Army officer rank insignia
Argentine Army enlisted rank insignia

The Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, in Spanish Fuerzas Armadas de la República Argentina, are controlled by the Commander-in-Chief (the President) and a civilian Minister of Defense. In addition to the army, navy and air force, there are two forces controlled by the Interior Ministry: the Argentine National Gendarmerie, a gendarmerie used to guard borders and places of strategic importance; and the Naval Prefecture, a coast guard used to protect internal major rivers and maritime territory.

Traditionally, Argentina maintains close defense cooperation and military-supply relationships with the United States, and to a lesser extent, with Israel, Germany, France, Spain, and Italy.



The military is under the direct authority of the Defense Ministry, and comprises five branches divided in two categories: Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas) and Security Forces (Fuerzas de Seguridad).

On June 12, 2006, President Néstor Kirchner brought into force the Defence Law, which had been passed in 1988 as a means to modernize the doctrine of the armed forces and define their role, though successive governments had failed to put it into effect. The law states that the armed forces will only be used against foreign aggression, and reduces the powers of the heads of the armed services, centralizing whole operational and acquisitions decisions under the authority of the Armed Forces Joint General Staff ( Spanish: 'Estado Mayor Conjunto de las Fuerzas Armadas' EMC ) emphasizing Jointness


Granaderos, the cavalry unit that, among other feats, followed San Martin across the Andes in 1817 to liberate Chile

The Argentine military, as has been the tendency in other Latin American countries, were considerably more influential in former times. Starting in 1930 and throughout the 20th century, democratic governments were more often than not interrupted by military coups (see History of Argentina). The terrible consequences of the last dictatorship destroyed the military image as the moral reserve of the nation and opened the way to transform them to into today's democratic armed forces.

1955-1962 internal fighting

Sherman tank disabled during 1962 fightings Azules-Colorados

After the Revolución Libertadora coup that deposed president Juan Domingo Peron the armed forces split into opposing sectors named Azules y colorados ( blue and reds ) mainly to establish the Peronism future. The fight would end in 1962 with military clashes and the defeat of the reds which were opposed to Peron.

1965 Operacion 90

In 1965, the Argentine military conducted land military maneuvers on Antarctica under then-Colonel Jorge E. Leal. Nicknamed Operación 90, this was undertaken ten years before the Antarctic Treaty came into being and was conducted to cement Argentina's claims to a portion of those territories (still claimed as Argentine Antarctica).

1975 Counter-insurgency

Wreckage of a C-130 in flames during 1975 fightings in Tucumán

In 1975 the armed forces started a massive operation in the Tucumán Province to crush the ERP (Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo or People's Revolutionary Army) guevarist guerrilla group which attempted to create a "revolutionary foco in this remote and mountainous province, in the north-west of Argentina."

1976 Last Military dictatorship

The last military dictatorship lasted from 1976 to 1983 and was named in Spanish Proceso de Reorganización Nacional by its leaders, who justified their actions (illegal detentions, forced disappearances, torture and summary executions) as necessary for the suppression of terrorism. Between 9,000 and 30,000 people,[2][3] are said to have been killed or disappeared.

1978 Beagle Conflict

Troops inspection at the border with Chile in 1978 on the eve of war

During much of the 19th and the 20th century, relations between neighbour Chile chilled due to disputes over Patagonia, though in recent years relations have improved dramatically.

1982 Falklands War

Argentine marines in 1982 on Stanley

On 2 April 1982, the Military Junta invaded the Falkland Islands ( Spanish: Islas Malvinas ) sought to maintain power by diverting public attention from the nation's poor economic performance and exploiting the long-standing feelings of the Argentines towards the islands. Such action would also bolster its dwindling legitimacy. After short but fierce naval and air battles, the British landed on 21 May, and a land campaign followed until the Argentine forces surrendered on 14 June. 649 Argentines and 255 British died during the war.

The political effects of the war were strong and prompted even larger protests against the dictatorship, which hastened its downfall.

1983 transition to democracy

Former members of Argentina's last dictatorship endure opening statements in their 1985 trial for human rights abuses.

The democratic government that took office in 1983 prosecuted the 1970s crimes and made the unprecedented (and only Latin American example) Trial of the Juntas and soon the Army was rocked by uprisings and internal infighting. Far-right sectors of the Army rebelled themselves in the Carapintadas (painted faces) movement. It would not be until 1990, when the last military uprising in Argentine history was crushed, that the political conflict within the Army finally subsided.

In January 1989, during the terrorist attack on La Tablada, the Army used white phosphorus in a violation of the Geneva Convention (according to a document presented by the human rights commission of the United Nations on January 12, 2001).[4]


In the 1990s, Argentine Armed Forces began a close defense cooperation and friendship policy with neighbors Brazil and Chile and focused in United Nations mandates.

The Argentine military have been reduced both in number and budget, but became more professional, especially after conscription was abolished. The British embargo due to the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de las Malvinas) was officially eliminated and Argentina was granted a Major Non-NATO ally status by United States President Bill Clinton. [5]


President Cristina Kirchner heads a 2007 meeting of the Argentine Joint Chiefs of Staff
Flag of Argentina.svg
by topic

Foreign relations

The modern Argentine Military Forces are fully committed to international peacekeeping under United Nations mandates, humanitarian aid on emergencies relief and support the country continuosly presence at Antarctica.

Democratic governments since 1983 had straitened the military bugdet and disproved any major equipment purchases. Argentina military spending is one of the lowest of South America [6][7]

While Mercosur is only an economic entity so far, the strengthening of confidence among the member countries has been beneficial to the peace in the region, exercising a useful role in supporting democracy. The Mercosur served, for example, to discourage the Paraguayan military from an attempted coup in early 2000.

In 2007, an Argentine contingent including helicopters, boats and water purification plants was sent to help Bolivia against their worst floods in decades.[8]

International participation

Argentina was the only South American country to send warships and cargo planes in 1991 to the Gulf War under UN mandate and has remained involved in peacekeeping efforts in multiple locations like UNPROFOR in Croatia/Bosnia, Gulf of Fonseca, UNFICYP in Cyprus (where among Army and Marines troops the Air Force provided the UN Air contingent since 1994) and MINUSTAH in Haiti.

UNFICYP was also a precedent in the Latin American military as troops of Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay are embedded in the Argentine contingent[9]

Since 1999 and as of June 2006, Argentina is the only Latin American country to maintain troops in Kosovo during SFOR (and later EUFOR) operations where combat engineers of the Argentine Armed Forces are embedded in an Italian brigade.

Argentine military forces formed part of [10]

And as military observers in UNTSO, MINURSO, UNMIL, MONUC, UNMIS and ONUCI.

Argentina was also responsible for the White Helmets initiative.

See also



  1. ^ Economy Ministry: National Budget
  2. ^ The Guardian, Thursday 2 April 2009
  3. ^ PBS News Hour, 16 Oct. 1997, et al. Argentina Death Toll, Twentieth Century Atlas
  4. ^ E/CN.4/2001/NGO/98, United Nations, January 12, 2001 - URL accessed on February 9, 2007 (Spanish); ANSA cable quoted by the RaiNews24: See frame on the right (Italian). See also presentation of the attack here (Spanish), La Historia Pensada (Spanish), Los puntos oscuros del asalto a La Tablada, Página/12, January 23, 1999 (Spanish)
  5. ^ ... represents our recognition of the importance of Argentina's leadership and cooperation in the field of international peacekeeping, notably during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, in Haiti, in its role in supervising the peace between Peru and Ecuador, and in nearly a dozen other international peacekeeping efforts ...
  6. ^ El presupuesto militar argentino, uno de los más bajos de la región
  7. ^ rgentina sólo gasta 80 millones de dólares anuales en armamento.
  8. ^ [ Trabajo Conjunto en Bolivia]
  9. ^ Argentine Army: UNFICYP
    UN: Cyprus - UNFICYP - Facts and Figures
    Chilean Army: Misión de la ONU en Chipre desde el año 2003
    Brasilian Army: UNFICYP
  10. ^
  11. ^ ARGAIR

External links

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