U.S. report says drug violence has prompted the rapid transformation of the Mexican Armed Forces
The deteriorating security environment in the past three years and the growing U.S. concern about the stability of one of its most important allies and trading partners has driven the rapid transformation of the Mexican Armed Forces.
In a report named The U.S. Military engagement with Mexico: Uneasy past and challenging future has indicted this and was prepared by Graham Turbiville for the Joint Special Operations University.
The signing of a contract between the Government of Mexico and Boeing company for a billion dollars four months ago to acquire a network of three satellites, land bases, an acquisition of 12 CASA C-295 aircraft and the increase training of special operations troops in the United States all confirms this.
The 74 page document, notes that the expansion of drug violence, waves of refugees and other humanitarian emergencies, not only took the military relationship between Mexico and the United States to unprecedented levels, but also an understanding and willingness to confront common threats.
Slow military forces, with heavy structures, slow responsiveness and stagnant training has led to a building of a new Mexican Army based on the strength of the Green Berets, commando units, elite forces and assault troops, cites the report.
The report is based on a confidential document called Development Plan of the Mexican Army and Air Force. This document depicts what will be the Mexican Armed Forces of the 21st century
1. - Organization with small commando units, highly qualified, with higher levels of mobility, accuracy and effectiveness.
2. - Development of a real military intelligence system.
3. - To establish the creation of a future unified body, which in a nearby future coordinates the actions of the Air Force, Navy and Army.
4. - Capacity for joint operations by the Navy with other countries, suspended since 1964.
5. - Development of a better equipped Air Force, with modern aircraft.
6. - Purchase of more sophisticated weapons and equipment.
7. - Creation of squadrons of Special Forces, equipped with sophisticated weaponry and equipment for each military zone, particularly in the states of Guerrero and Chiapas.
8. – Eventually appointing civilians to the secretaries of the Army, Navy and Air Force.
9. - Radical redefinition in the concept of National Security, which traditionally has had a military hierarchy.
10.-Armed Forces, whose main objectives are to conduct effective anti-insurgency and anti-drug operations, similar to the Special Forces Airmobile Group (GAFES), previously created, which requires a centralized command and Special Forces school.
11.-And in the Navy, Amphibious groups of Special Forces (Ganfes).
From 1996 to 1999 over three thousand 200 Mexican military personnel were trained in 17 U.S. military facilities in air assault operations, interception and human rights.
The assistance of the U.S. Department of Defense to reach these goals came from visits of William Perry, Secretary of Defense, in October 1995 and General Gordon Sullivan, Chief of Staff of the United States Army, and others, where Sedena presented their plan of modernization.
Seemingly in this direction, Sedena, with the support provided by the U.S. Department of Defense through the Merida Initiative, has taken the first steps.
Recently the Mexican Air Force received two planes CASA C-295, from a fleet of four.
According to a letter signed by General Guillermo Galván Galván to Herve Morin, French Defense Secretary, this year Mexico will receive three new helicopters for special operations. The Euro Copter Cougar EC-725 Caracal, which will add to the six that it already possesses, of a fleet of 12, some of them will be used to help the civil population in cases of natural disasters and others to transport troops.
While Army and Air Force invested this year nearly two million dollars in an intelligence system named SPOT (Intelligence satellite surveillance system), a system developed by the French National Center for Space Research in collaboration with the European Space Agency, which provides images in near real time, from around the world in high resolution.
The Mexican Navy operates this system since 2004.
The Mexican government also signed a contract for a billion dollars four months ago with the Boeing Company to design and build a system consisting of: two satellites geomóviles Boeing 702HP, a satellite from the Corporation of Orbital Sciences Star TM 2.4, two terrestrial stations with networks for managing air operations and one more of communications.
The satellites will have a lifespan of 15 years and will operate in the Gulf of Mexico and Pacific Ocean. Ground control centers will be based in Mexico City and Hermosillo, Sonora.
The satellites will be operated by Mexsat, who is in charge of the National Security System and Communications Systems, at least for the next two decades.
This new equipment, along with the training of hundreds of Mexican special forces in the United States are solid steps towards the modernization of an army that more effectively responds to national threats and collaborates on regional threats with the United States and other nations in the region.