Chilean Defense: 2017 Projects

Chile’s Ministry of Defense proposes the creation of a Joint Forces Strategic Command.

Chile’s Minister of Defense, José Antonio Gómez Urrutia, addressed an audience of 1,000 civilian and military guests at the nation’s military academy on March 20th. (Photo: Augusto Scarella Arce)

Chilean defense policy is geared towards protecting the citizenry, defending their national interests and preserving their political independence, national sovereignty, and territorial integrity, according to the 2010 Chilean National Defense Book. “To these ends, Chile possesses and prepares the military resources needed for use in its legitimate defense, which means undertaking the modernization of all of its defense institutions, including the Chilean Armed Forces,” according to the text.

“The Chilean Armed Forces must not limit themselves to the role that they have been playing until now. We cannot look only at one line of action; it is our duty to get involved,” explained Minister of Defense José Antonio Gómez Urrutia during the anniversary celebration of the Ministry of Defense on March 20th at the nation’s military academy. Without ignoring the role — defense of national sovereignty —that Chile’s constitution assigns to the Armed Forces as its main duty, Gómez Urrutia maintained that “the sector’s capabilities must be ready, and it must also operate in those areas that the people assume to be a core feature of its defensive and protective role.”

The Armed Forces’ multifunctional capabilities were employed in the summer of 2017 to aid the civilian population when nature once again put Chile to the test. The entire state apparatus had to be employed to extinguish the many wildfires that ravaged different regions of the country.

“The progress we have made in the areas of interagency coordination, operational leadership, community interaction, and multiple aid deployment were on full display,” Gómez Urrutia said. According to the Defense Ministry’s official website, more than 8,000 service members, together with various types of aircraft and vehicles, fought the fierce blazes that erupted in the summer of 2017.

Structural reforms

Chilean service members…