Happily, the interest in National Defense policies. After decades of institutional instability, where the Armed Forces were used to overthrow constitutional governments and perpetrate human rights violations, the nascent democracy of the ’80s had an erratic and conflictive relationship with Defense policy.
Mistrust, product of the late riots in Holy Week of ’87, substantial cuts in budgets for decadesand the need to attend to economic emergencies in the face of each crisis, caused a weakening of the Armed forces and an inconsequential defense policy.
To the legal system carried out by the Minister Garréalong with the Human Rights policy, continued and deepened by the government of Nestor Kirchner, and which was also accompanied by the three powers of the State, was followed by a gradual recovery of the budgets year after year until the arrival of the government of Together for Change.
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From that moment the Ministry of Defence it was a bargaining chip within that political alliance awarded to the minority partner. This was reflected in public defense budgets from 2017 onwards, in which the adjustment was substantial. During the period, there was no planning, nor a strategy, nor a Capacities Plan during the Short and Medium Term Military, which from the institutional point of view meant a continuation of the deteriorated previous plans due to the passage of time and technological progress due to the lack of a Defense policy.
The FONDEF Law made it possible to provide for the common defense
The government of Alberto Fernandez began a policy of rapprochement and integration between the Armed Forces, public actors and mainly society. Appointing two important leaders with experience in management as ministers, such as Agustín Rossi first and Jorge Taiana in the second stage, was an unmistakable gesture regarding the need to strengthen military policy.
The military participation in the pandemic from Operations Belgrano I and II, with the massive delivery of food, respirators and medical supplies in the most recognized places in the country represented the maximum military mobilization since the Malvinas War.
At the proposal of our party, the National Congress passed by a large majority, the Law of the National Defense Fund (FONDEF) with the objective of attending to the postponed equipment of the Armed Forces. This Fund must be used to purchase new materiel and to modernize and recover the military instrument. Like any public policy, record a process that goes from design to its concrete execution.
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The law was presented in 2021 and began to be executed during the administration of Minister Taiana, but the opposition blockade of the 2022 budget weakened and delayed the operation of the FUNDEF until the middle of that year. Despite these difficulties, in the years 2021 and 2022 the Fund had an execution of 99%. Everything was submitted to the National Congress as established by law.
Product of these issues, we can say that 2023 will be the first year of full implementation from January to December. The results of this true State policy are conclusive up to now: in 2019 there was only one operational HerculesToday there are five and we hope to incorporate one more before the end of the year. the fleet of pampas III aircraft tripled, going from 3 in 2019 to 10 in 2023, all of them manufactured and modernized by the Argentine Aircraft Factory (FAdeA). This allowed the reopening of the X Brigade of Río Gallegos and the enhancement of the VI Tandil Brigade. During this management, the weapons system was also tripled fighting hawkof the 3 available in 2019, today the Argentine Air Force has 10 aircraft.
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With the aim of recovering the operational reserves of the weapons systems of each one of the Forces, the Ammunition Acquisition Plan for ten years was launched, financed through the FUNDEF.
Thanks to this Fund, the new short-range anti-aircraft missile systems SAAB RBS-70 NG, acquired for the use of the three Forces, are incorporated.
On the other hand, they acquired 2 SH-3H Sea King helicopters modernized and 4 Multipurpose Ocean Patrol Vessels. Besides the hydrographic launch ARA “Petrel”, entirely manufactured in TANDANORhe multipurpose vessel ARA “Ciudad de Rosario” and the Corvette Meko 140 ARA “Rosales” They were recovered and modernized in the aforementioned shipyard.
All military uniforms were reneweda fact that has not happened since 2015. In 2022, this military clothing, essential for the training and correct performance of the Armed Forces, was acquired and made with national labor and distributed throughout the national territory.
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In turn, it was reformed National Aerospace Surveillance and Control System (SINVICA) with the installation of a radar in Río Grande, Tierra del Fuego, located in a strategic area for the South Atlantic, and an RPA-200 radar, manufactured by INVAP, in Villaguay, Entre Ríos. Soon we will be inaugurating the one in Mercedes, Corrientes and Tostado, Santa Fe.
Military Manufactures, the Argentine Aircraft Factory (FAdeA) and Tandanor – three emblematic Defense companies – were rescued from the adjustment and privatization attempt of the JxC governmentthat expelled hundreds of workers, leaving debts in million-dollar lawsuits that explain the deficit that their references denounce today.
The 2023 security budget will be the highest in the last eight years, reaching approximately 1.23% of GDP
These companies were rescued from the reopening of closed branches, new investments and professional and innovative management, for which we aim for them to soon have surpluses.
None of this would have been possible without FONDEF. and an administration of scarce resources with the criteria of promoting the national industry, productivity and efficiency in spending.
The other key to this policy has been the recovery of the career and the military perspective from the Salary Hierarchy, which leads to an increase of approximately 60% in military salaries, which will reach a large part of the recovery of a sector delayed for forty years by the end of this year.
Far from the reduced cabin, the Defense budget has not had cuts in 2022 as announced from the opposition; on the contrary all the planned Militaries were carried out and substantial operational reinforcements were obtained.
This year, the budget has increased compared to 2022 with FONDEF and the Salary Hierarchyl, as announced by Minister Jorge Taiana in the Budget Commission before the disbelief of the opposition legislators.
All this allows us to affirm that the Budget 2023 will be the highest in the last eight years reaching approximately 1.23% of GDPreturning to the path of increases that places us in the international average.
Welcome the frank and constructive debate to improve defense policies. But the constitutional mandate to “provide for the Common Defense…” invites us not to fall into cracked campaign speeches, falsifying data, announcing catastrophes that irresponsibly weaken our position in the concert of nations.
*Head of Cabinet of Advisers of the Ministry of Defense
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