Research Report

THE ROLE OF THE ARMED FORCES IN THE AMERICAS:: CIVIL-MILITARY RELATIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY

Edited by Donald E. Schulz
Copyright Date: Apr. 1, 1998
Pages: 193
OPEN ACCESS
https://www.jstor.org/stable/resrep11933
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. v-vi)
    RICHARD H. WITHERSPOON

    In November 1997, the United States Army War College joined with the U.S. Southern Command, the Inter-American Defense Board, the National Guard Bureau, and the Latin American Consortium of the University of New Mexico and New Mexico State University to cosponsor a conference entitled “The Role of the Armed Forces in the Americas: Civil-Military Relations for the 21st Century.” The meeting was held from 3 to 6 November in Santa Fé, New Mexico, and was hosted by the New Mexico National Guard.

    The conference brought together over 150 prominent civilian governmental and military leaders and some of the most noted...

  2. Part One: Introduction
    • (pp. 3-10)
      Michael R. Gonzáles

      The end of the Cold War and the emergence of a new world order herald a period of relative peace and prosperity for the United States and its allies. The spread of democracy, coupled with the growth of free trade and rising expectations, have created both new opportunities and challenges, which promise to have a profound and lasting impact on a worldwide scale.

      In fulfilling its role as a global leader, the United States has embraced a National Security Strategy based on the principle of “Engagement” and built on the three core objectives of:

      Enhancing its security with effective diplomacy...

  3. Part Two: The Role of the Military:: Current Issues and Future Prospects
    • (pp. 13-30)
      Richard Downes

      Military institutions in Latin America should consider unprecedented levels of civil-military dialogue and regional cooperation to overcome the detrimental effects of the past. Implementation of effective civilian control over the military and adoption of continentalism as a supplement to nationalism should guide new arrangements for domestic and regional security cooperation. Such an approach could be more effective if the United States gave priority to serving as a catalyst for multilateral cooperation.

      The onset of the neo-liberal state has reduced the size and influence of military institutions in the past ten years while non-traditional security threats have risen in strength and...

    • (pp. 31-69)
      Eliézer Rizzo de Oliveira

      The object of this essay is to understand Brazil’s National Defense Policy from the perspective of civil-military relations under the government of President Fernando Henrique Cardoso. In this context, the President has been working on the solution to two issues fundamental to a full subordination of the military to civilian authority. First, there has been a growing capability and willingness on the part of the Executive to direct the armed forces. (In this respect, it must be noted, that branch differs from the Legislature, which has been apathetic on this subject.) Secondly, this has led to the resolution of the...

    • (pp. 71-76)
      Fred F. Woerner

      I would like to thank the organizers for this opportunity to appear before this distinguished gathering. Just as a policeman out of uniform no longer issues tickets, so a retired general no longer commands audiences.

      We are undertaking together an extremely important dialogue. The civil-military relationship constitutes one of the most important challenges for emergent democracies in Latin America because it signals the full integration of the military into democratic society. It further signals the mutual development by the civilian and military authorities of missions for the armed forces that address the role of the military in peace and war...

    • (pp. 77-81)
      Licenciado Luis Tibiletti

      The object of my presentation is to analyze which functions of the armed forces can contribute to improved civil-military relations as a way of strengthening the American democracies. To attain that goal, it is first necessary to stress that my methodology differs from that of Samuel Huntington, the author of several classic works on civil-military relations. Huntington’s focus on military professionalism and the forms of civilian control is based on the assumption that there is a natural acceptance of the principle of military subordination to civilian authority by society as a whole. The problem is that this supposition is false...

  4. Part Three: National Security and Civil-Military Relations in the 21st Century:: Three Views From Latin America
    • (pp. 85-100)
      Luis Bitencourt Emilio

      I have been asked to address the topic of this conference—"Civil-Military Relations in the Americas for the 21st Century"—from a Latin American perspective. Although it troubles me that I must attempt to summarize the complexity of Latin American views on this issue—which is perhaps an impossible task—at the same time I feel honored and privileged to have been invited to talk to you. The invitation was accompanied by the request that I cover the subject in the shortest time possible.

      Besides the natural difficulty of interpreting and summarizing a Latin American perspective, the topic involves three...

    • (pp. 101-103)
      Manuel José Bonett Locarno

      Major General Bonett presented his vision of what the Colombian Army should be in the 21st Century. He began by admitting that his country has a lot of problems. However, he said that it also had a lot of natural resources and potential, and that by the year 2020 most of those problems would be solved and the country would be living in peace. In the years ahead, the Army would focus on a number of distinct roles:

      1. The defense of democracy.Aprerequisite for this role is the defense of national security, broadly defined. The protection of democracy, he said, is...

    • (pp. 105-108)
      Víctor Manuel Ventura Arellano

      Brigadier General Ventura Arellano began by noting that the end of the Cold War had provided an impetus for defusing internal conflicts in countries that had long been immersed in the East-West struggle. With the lowering of international tensions and the discrediting of armed struggle as a strategy for taking power, it had been possible for Guatemala to put an end to 36 years of violent conflict. He traced the process of negotiations from the initial contacts with the Unidad Revolucionaria Nacional Guatemalteca (URNG) to the signing of the final agreements on the implementation and verification of the peace accords...

  5. Part Four: Civil-Military Relations and U.S. Policy:: AU.S. Military Perspective
    • (pp. 111-116)
      William J. Jefferds and Robert B. James

      Major General Jefferds began the presentation by briefly discussing the roles and missions of the National Guard. He noted that there are over 500,000 Army and Air National Guardmen and women located in more than 3,000 communities in the 50 states and other U.S. territories. Guard personnel have been in every military engagement the United States has been involved in since its inception. The Guard even preceded this country as an institution.

      Jefferds explained that, although the Guard is an integral part of the Army and Air Force, its units stay under the command of the governor of each territory...

  6. Part Five: The Workshop Reports
    • (pp. 119-122)
      Thomas Bruneau

      This panel, which included approximately twenty military and civilian officials from North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, decided to divide its discussion of this topic into four main questions that were dealt with sequentially. These were as follows: What is the system? Does a system really exist? How does it work? And how should it work?

      The Inter-American Defense System consists of a collection of countries, instruments, organizations, and norms that are often poorly integrated due to political and military considerations from its founding until the present. This short definition, which sounds better in Spanish than English...

    • (pp. 123-132)
      Judith Gentleman

      The working group focused its discussion on institutional relations in the defense and security policy arena, with particular emphasis on emerging patterns of civil-military relations. The group’s deliberations were shaped by the varying experiences of the countries represented, together with the fact that different countries were experiencing different historical moments in the evolution of their political and defense policy processes. Although these processes might be similar as nations in the region have largely come to accept a set of commonly held norms concerning democracy and the primacy of civilian political authority, Latin American nations are still at different junctures in...

    • (pp. 133-140)
      Victor Tise

      This panel examined past and recent experiences in Peacekeeping Operations (PKOs) and cooperative security missions of the countries represented at the conference. Presenters briefed from various points of view, including government, academic and, in some instances, representatives of the armed forces. During the discussions, the panelists spoke on an individual or academic basis, with the disclaimer that the views expressed did not represent those of their respective governments. Few concrete conclusions were reached because of the varied backgrounds and diverse opinions of the various presenters. Due to this inability to reach conclusions and the complexity of the subject matter, the...

    • (pp. 141-150)
      William Stanley

      This panel addressed the current status and future prospects of subregional security cooperation in the Americas, examining different patterns of cooperation in different parts of the hemisphere, as well as emerging trends and challenges. Participants represented countries of such diverse size, economies, social and political structures, and national security concerns, that their perspectives were necessarily wide-ranging and not easily summarized. Comments did not always respond directly to previous interventions and did not consistently produce an obvious accumulation of points of agreement. As one panelist remarked late in the second session, “I’m concerned about the broad range of themes brought up...

    • (pp. 151-154)
      Andrés Serbin

      Methodology of Work: After a first round of presentations and commentaries by the group’s participants, a rough draft was produced by the rapporteur. This draft was then discussed by the group and a second version produced that was again subjected to commentaries and revision. The following summary has been approved by the participants as a whole and contains their main points of agreement and disagreement.

      The discussion identified a common ground for all cases analyzed: Faced with the new changes that are confronting the armed forces of these diverse countries—changes that are extremely complex and rapid—the fundamental challenge...

  7. Part Six: Conclusions and Recommendations
    • (pp. 157-183)
      Donald E. Schulz

      The end of the Cold War has brought a sea change in civil-military relations and the role of the armed forces in Latin America. The neoliberal revolution has strengthened the hand of democratically elected civilian leaders and eroded the influence of the armed forces, bringing marked declines in military spending and manpower. At the same time, new threats to national security have arisen, even as some old ones have persisted. While the danger from the Soviet Union and Cuba no longer exists, it has been replaced by the bogeymen of narcotrafficking and organized crime. In turn, this has led to...