Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

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Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por GREYHOUND el 20/4/2016, 9:09 am

Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Special reports
April 13, 2016 2:45 pm

Iñigo Guevara
@IniGuevara

Source:
Iñigo Guevara Biography
The global and regional context

Global military expenditures rose to $1.7 trillion dollars in 2015, continuing a rising trend, according to the Stockholm Institute for Strategic Studies (SIPRI) annual report. This is roughly an average of 2.3 percent of global GDP, according to the same source.

This trend marks an overall 1 percent increase over the previous year; however, the trend was different for each region. Spending increased substantially in Asia and the Middle East, where the fear of conflict and actual conflict, respectively, drove militaries to continue re-equipping their inventories.

A similar situation took place in a ring of European countries surrounding Russia. Russia itself embarked upon a modernization process, though it has fallen from the third- to the fourth-largest spender in the world. Saudi Arabia is now the third-largest spender after the United States and China.

In Latin America, defense spending decreased by 3 percent, mainly due to the dip in oil prices and driven by Brazil’s deep financial crisis. Latin America as a bloc spends an average of 1.1 percen of GDP, making it the region that spends the least in the world as a proportion of its economy.

Sizing Mexico’s budget

Mexico’s 2016 defense budget amounts to slightly over 108 billion pesos ($6 billion dollars). This figure includes the combined National Defense (Sedena) and Navy (Semar) Secretariats, plus the inter-agency armed forces social security institute (ISSFAM) and the peripheral yet military-manned Presidential Guard (EMP) and Presidential Air Transport Group (CGTAP).

While that figure may sound to the average reader like a pool of money and may incentivize readers to demand that more money be spent on health care or education, upon closer consideration we can see it represents a ridiculously low figure.

In comparative terms, overall defense spending amounts to 0.45 percent of gross domestic product (GDP), compared to the global average of 2.3 percent of GDP and 1.1 percent in Latin America. By Latin American standards only Guatemala, at 0.41 percent of GDP, spends less on defense.

So in essence, Mexican military spending is at the bottom of a list which itself is at the bottom of world standards. And keep in mind that in most public opinion surveys the Navy and the Army are far and away the most trusted institutions in Mexico.

Procurement budget cuts

In the face of deep public sector cuts — due primarily to sinking oil prices that forced the Treasury to cut spending by 132.3 billion pesos ($7.4 billion dollars) — there was little to cut from the defense budget. The main impact on the defense budget was that investment in modernization and infrastructure expansion decelerated during 2016. Only 40 percent of requested investment programs have received allocated funding, which compares to 54 percent in 2015.

Graphic: Investment projects (by agency)

No shortage of missions

Traditional militaries are entrusted with national defense, that is, they patrol the nation’s sovereign territory, protect national interests in international spaces and are prepared to fight foreign wars only in an extreme case. In most cases, militaries exist to maintain peace rather than to wage war. That is, they are meant to function as the guardian of a state, a deterrent force that keeps other states from interfering in its affairs.

Due to the lack of a more globally engaging foreign policy, the Mexican armed forces have traditionally been internally focused. This focus has forced them to absorb roles traditionally handled, in most of the rest of the world, by civilian-led intermediate security forces.

Due to a very narrow and obsolete foreign policy, a large portion of Mexico’s military’s mission however, falls within that internal security focus and has had to dangerously leap – out of operational necessity — into the law enforcement arena.

Even in the most ideal and positive scenario, in which Mexico’s state and municipal police forces professionalize and significantly increase in size and capabilities, and gain local trust from the population overnight, Mexico’s military will continue to fill a large series of voids that in most developed and developing countries are filled by these intermediate forces.

Yes, I am referring specifically to gendarmeries or national guards — depending on which model you like best — as well as dedicated coast guards or maritime police. This is true for Mexico’s richer NAFTA partners Canada and the United States, for the rest of the OECD partners and down (geographically) to Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Chile and Argentina. Argentina’s Coast Guard, by the way, the Prefectura Naval, sunk a (very fishy) Chinese fishing vessel last month as it attempted to flee and ram one of its patrol ships – how’s that for “intermediate”?

Therefore, we now need to further re-consider that the already low 0.45 percent of GDP spent on the military is even further decimated by a plethora of roles and missions that fall out of the traditional military sphere. In addition to internal security and law enforcement functions, the Mexican military is further demanded to participate in multiple social support activities, from planting trees to cutting down marijuana fields to national vaccination campaigns and major disaster relief operations.

Mexican army marijuana.So now lets re-assess the need for sufficient funding, since the military is tasked with a disproportionately large mandate that includes roles usually entrusted to 1) the military, 2) intermediate forces, 3) civil defense forces and 4) in specific cases, local law enforcement. Now let’s add the undeniable need to contribute, as part of the civilized world, to international peacekeeping operations.

Eventually, and rather soon, Mexico will have to move from the crawling phase of sending observers to the walking stage of deploying battalion size peacekeeping forces, deploying naval assets on freedom of navigation deployments (anti-piracy), and supporting these forces with sufficient air cover. Well, only if the Mexican government wants to be taken seriously.

Specialization: The way forward

The answer, unfortunately, is not to scale back on the roles — because frankly, there is no other institution available to fill them. The answer is to provide adequate funding for the military to expand and create specialized units that can in time convert into adjacent, autonomous, and eventually independent institutions, with specific internal security or law enforcement roles, instead of relying on a multi-use military force by necessity.

The move toward specially tasked forces has begun to take shape in both Sedena and Semar and with adequate funding that can be accelerated to a stable pace. Sedena is expanding and re-tasking its Military Police units, converting them into regional security forces with a law enforcement focus: the 4th MP Brigade inaugurated its HQ in Escobedo, Nuevo León, on Feb. 19, 2016, and the 5th MP Brigade is in the process of formation.

These will be new 3,200+ strong units capable of deploying forces to provide internal security at a regional level, pretty much the task that the National Gendarmerie was designed to do.

In addition, Army Engineer units, which had historically been centralized, are now being re-deployed throughout the country and re-equipped with new engineering equipment: They will become the main responders to natural disasters.

Semar is also re-organizing and crafting the creation of the much needed Coast Guard Service, which up to now comprises most of its newer vessels, as these are largely harbor, coastal, and EEZ patrol vessels as well as coastal patrol aircraft. The Coast Guard will use the existing SAR network that comprises dozens of the relatively new forward naval stations (Estaciones Navales Avanzadas) and fast interceptor boats.

Furthermore, in March 2016 President Peña Nieto proposed to Congress that the Communications and Transportation Secretariat (SCT) transfer all port authority to Semar, making the Navy (or eventually the Coast Guard) the main guarantor of security in Mexico’s multiple ports. Prior creation of inter-institutional coordination centers Cumar (Centro Unificado para la Protección Marítima y Portuaria) had provided for an initial Navy command and control presence in each port, and these in turn were followed by the creation in April 2014 of Unaprop (Unidades Navales de Protección Portuaria), in essence, naval and port police units. This move follows an international standard very similar to the Chilean Navy’s Directemar (Dirección General del Territorio Marítimo y Marina Mercante) model.

Air Force Necessities

Last but not least, the Mexican Air Force (FAM) continues to receive the bulk of Sedena’s procurement funding (roughly 77 percent of allocated funds in 2016) in what has been its largest modernization program since the early 1980s. Trouble is that it is still far behind the technology of what a modern air arm should possess to provide both surveillance and interception; its aircraft numbers remain relatively small and modern airbases are scarce.

EMB-145-FAM
EMB-145. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
FAM projects launched in 2015 include the upgrade of the three EMBRAER EMB-145 surveillance aircraft, procurement of new Boeing 737 airliners, a dozen Cessna 206s for tactical ISR and five Thales GM400 3D long-range radars. Deliveries of new aircraft from previously announced orders for 18 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, 48 Beechcraft T-6C Texan armed trainers, eight King Air 350 ISR aircraft, two Airbus C295M, 25 Grob G120TP primary trainers, 15 Bell 407GX helicopters and a large variety of executive aircraft for the staff transport role will continue in 2016.

All of these assets only partially replace similar equipment, which had grown obsolete over the past 30 to 40 years, and do not add significant new capabilities, at least not in the military dimension. For the last decade — 2006 to date — Mexico’s entire defense procurement has been limited to supporting its internal security and civil defense roles. Only very few items are actually considered military: Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters, AM General HMMWV tactical vehicles and Beechcraft T-6C+ Texan armed trainers; and in those cases the equipment is actually designed for mobility or training.

Mexico’s main “combat” aircraft is now the T-6C Texan which although originally a trainer is able to intercept light prop aircraft used by drug smugglers. Being able to catch “low and slow” is actually a rare quality, although this does not replace the need to go high and fast.

Mexico’s Air Force is running dangerously low in this capacity and requires a replacement for its obsolete F-5 supersonic fighters. Likewise the Navy will need to field a new generation of ocean going frigates and amphibious ships that can navigate beyond the exclusive economic zone and the Army will need to begin replacement of its museum-grade armor and artillery.

F-5 FAM Wikicommons Images.
Mexican Air Force F-5 Tiger flying over
Popocatépetl. Photo: Wikicommons Images.
For those skeptics — I know you are out there — who will ask does Mexico really need a squadron of supersonic fighters? … or a squadron of blue water frigates? … or a brigade of armored fighting vehicles? … the answer is yes, absolutely yes. Mexico — like all other modern states of its size — needs at least a token defensive capability to provide a minimum deterrent against unknowns and uncertainties. Why? Because the best weapon in a country’s arsenal is the one that it never has to use.

Beyond the 0.45 percent

Looking ahead, over the next 10 years Sedena and Semar will need to continue replacing and augmenting its “internal security and civil defense” hardware, that is, its helicopters such as the Bell 407 and Sikorsky UH-60M, light interdiction aircraft such as the Beechcraft T-6C Texan, but will also need to replace its legacy conventional systems, that is, the sections that make it a military. As of April 2016, there are between three and five 34-year old Northrop F-5 supersonic fighters in service, six 40+ year-old frigates and some 600 armored vehicles averaging 50+ years, among multiple military capabilities that need renewal or even creation. Space and Cyberspace being two other funding black holes that will need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

All of those requirements can be satisfied with innovative procurement initiatives, such as implementing an industrial compensation policy that links defense procurement to national development agendas. This type of policy requires defense suppliers to reinvest up to 100% of the value of a contract in the buying country’s economy within a specified time frame — usually 10 years. The reinvestment (known as offset) is not necessarily geared toward the military; it can and should be directed by the State toward its priority development areas.

Via this type of policy, literally billions of dollars can be reinvested and foreign direct investment channeled into Mexico’s industrial infrastructure, creating highly competitive jobs. That could be another — this time very welcome — role we can add to the overstretched and underfunded Mexican military: industrial and economic expansion. All of that could be well worth spending more than 0.45 percent of GDP.



http://www.eldailypost.com/special-reports/2016/04/mexicos-shrinking-military-budget-mission-creep/
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GREYHOUND


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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por Tirador el 20/4/2016, 9:38 am

Iñigo siempre poniendo claro lo que aquí platicamos (y lloramos) a cada rato.

Fuera de él, creo que nadie escribe tan puntual sobre estos temas en la prensa.

Tirador


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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por josecerva el 20/4/2016, 4:23 pm

Como siempre excelentes artículos del compañero Iñigo, enhorabuena siga con el excelente trabajo compañero.

Saludos

josecerva


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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por GREYHOUND el 20/4/2016, 9:02 pm

UN TRABAJO DE ANALISIS MUY CONCRETO Y DURO.

TAMBIEN LOS TRABAJOS DE RISKOP SON MUY INTERESANTES.

YO CREO QUE VIENEN CAMBIOS IMPORTANTES Y MUCHOS YA ESTAN INICIADOS DESAFORTUNADAMENTE NO SE CONCRETAN DE LA NOCHE A LA MAÑANA Y TAMPOCO SON GRATIS.

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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por ARTURO GUZMAN el 21/4/2016, 1:07 am



Mexico’s Air Force is running dangerously low in this capacity and requires a replacement for its obsolete F-5 supersonic fighters. Likewise the Navy will need to field a new generation of ocean going frigates and amphibious ships that can navigate beyond the exclusive economic zone and the Army will need to begin replacement of its museum-grade armor and artillery.


EN ÉSTO PONE ÉNFASIS...

--- AVIONES DE COMBATE
--- FRAGATAS Y BUQUES ANFIBIOS QUE PERMITAN PROYECTAR FUERZA MAS ALLÁ DE LAS AGUAS TERRITORIALES (OSEA QUE DEJE DE SER UNA FUERZA CASI RIBEREÑA
--- SUSTITUCIÓN DE EQUIPO BLINDADO Y ARTILLERÍA QUE ESTÁ PARA EL MUSEO.


SUENA INTERESANTE...PERO FALTA VER SI LA SEDENA LE ENTRA A SUSTITUIR TANTO LOS VEJESTORIOS F-5, LA ARTILLERÍA DE RISA QUE ES CASI INEXISTENTE, Y VER SI EL ARMA BLINDADA DEJA DE SER UNA SIMPLE FUERZA DE RECONOCIMIENTO Y LE DA MAS PUNCH DEL QUE AHORA CARECE.


OJALÁ...SINCERAMENTE OJALÁ...PORQUE POLÍTICAMENTE, Y EL VALEMADRISMO EN MUCHOS ALTOS MANDOS DE LA SECRETARÍA, ES EL PRINCIPAL FACTOR EN CONTRA DEL CUMPLIMIENTO DE MUCHOS OBJETIVOS.

AL MENOS LA SEMAR ESTÁ HACIENDO LO SUYO, Y AL PARECER EL ASUNTO DE LAS FRAGATAS MODERNAS COMO NUNCA EN SU HISTORIA LAS HA TENIDO EN MÉXICO, MARCHAN POSITIVAMENTE HASTA EL MOMENTO, Y TODO PARECE INDICAR QUE SE CONCRETARÁ.

OJALÁ QUE CON TODO LO DEMÁS SE CUMPLA ALGÚN DÍA, Y LA SEDENA VERDADERAMENTE PASE A TENER UN PODER DE FUEGO MAS PARECIDO A UN EJÉRCITO MODERNO, Y NO SOLAMENTE DE UNA SIMPLE POLICÍA MILITARIZADA.

OJALÁ!!!
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ARTURO GUZMAN


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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por Otumba el 21/4/2016, 1:39 pm

El análisis es BUENO.....

Pero NO hay que dejar pasar.....

QUE LA META PARA ESTOS TRES AÑOS...Y HASTA EL FINAL...ES CONTENER....YA NO COMBATIR...AL NARCO........

PARA ESO ES LA PRODUCCIÓN DEL DN-XI.....PARA ESO ES EL NUEVO DISEÑO DEL CIMARRON....PARA ESO ES LA COMPRA DE LOS BH-60.....Y PARA ESO ES LA COMPRA DE ARMAMENTO INDIVIDUAL....

efectivamente...NO SE PUEDE TRAGAR PINOLE...Y COMER BARQUILLOS A LA VEZ.....


SIN ASIGNACIONES PRESUPUESTALES....Y SIN PLANEACIÓN ESTRATÉGICA Y OPERATIVA PARA ATENDER LA SALVAGUARDA Y SOBERANIA DE LA NACIÓN POR UN LADO...Y POR LA OTRA VERTIENTE LA CONTENCIÓN (QUE NO COMBATE)...AL NARCOTRÁFICO....EL PANORAMA PARACE MUY DIFICIL.....

LOS CASOS DE VIOLACIONES A LOS D.H. DE PARTE DE NUESTRAS FFAA HAN PEGADO EN EL PODER DE CONVOCATORIA DE LAS MISMAS....POR ESO FUE EL MEA CULPA PÚBLICO DEL SR. SECRETARIO Y DE EL GENERAL DE TRES ESTRELLAS QUE ESTABA A SU LADO SIN QUEPI O TOCADO...Y POR ESO LAS TROPAS FORMARON FILAS....CON LA CABEZA DESCUBIERTA......

NO ESTOY HABLANDO DE TEMAS DIFERENTES NI FUERA DE SI....

HABLAMOS DEL EQUIPAMIENTO DE LAS FFAA PARA SU MISIÓN FUNDAMENTAL QUE ESTA ESTABLECIDA EN LA CARTA MAGNA.....

POR OTRO LADO...LAS FFAA ESTAN SIENDO DISTRAIDAS DE ESAS MISIONES FUNDAMENTALES.....Y TAMBIEN REQUIEREN EQUIPAMIENTO...Y PREPARARSE...DE FORMA INTELECTUAL.....PARA LAS ACTIVIDADES QUE DEBIERAN ASUMIR OTRAS CORPORACIONES DE SEGURIDAD....

HAY QUE VER EL PROBLEMA DE MANERA INTEGRAL...DE OTRA FORMA...NO SE PODRÁ AVANZAR NI UN CENTIMETRO....

Todo....en el mejor de los términos......para bien de las FFAA de México.

Otumba


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Re: Mexico’s shrinking military budget meets mission creep

Mensaje por SHACKAL el 28/4/2016, 5:39 pm

Excelente análisis y, podemos ver que entonces el presupuesto para las FF.AA.MM. aún está muy por debajo del proyectado 1% del PIB.
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SHACKAL


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