Saturday, July 28, 2012

Chile's National Defense Strategy

Sebastián Piñera recently unveiled a new Estrategia Nacional de Seguridad y Defensa, which is getting some attention. It says that security is essentially everything: "seguridad ampliada." The document even includes equality of opportunity as security, then jumps to the need to keep the Panama Canal secure, and how Chile can help Africa.
Peru's La Republica was not happy that it was released before a decision came down on maritime borders, and sees it as too bellicose, but at least was glad it specifically mentioned respecting international tribunals.
Claudio Fuentes, who has long studied Chilean civil-military relations, was not happy that it brought the armed forces back into internal security. He ends with a call to the legislature, which historically has conceded defense to the executive branch.

Finalmente, la ENSD es concebida como una “política de políticas” que orienta la articulación de distintas políticas públicas sectoriales y define los intereses nacionales desde la perspectiva castrense. Senadores y diputados, así como la sociedad toda, deberían debatir la ENSD propuesta por el Gobierno, ya que por esta vía se redefinirían aspectos fundamentales de la función castrense, de la política exterior y de la institucionalidad democrática. 

I agree, though what is needed even more is constant work by the legislature, not just on a single document. There have been three Libros de Defensa published (the last in 2010) and now this document, but they are put together by the executive branch. The legislative role--especially increasing oversight--always gets short shrift.

Lastly, I've done work on Chilean intelligence, and was disappointed to see that it does not reduce military autonomy, but rather simply calls for putting more resources into intelligence.


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