Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Feb 1, 2000

George Grayson is the author of Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook.

Mexico's Armed Forces
A Factbook
A Military Studies Report of the CSIS Americas Program, Mexico Project

George W. Grayson

February 1999 CSIS Americas Program

About CSIS
The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), established in 1962, is a private, taxexempt institution focusing on international public policy issues. Its research is nonpartisan and nonproprietary. CSIS is dedicated to policy impact. It seeks to inform and shape selected policy decisions in government and the private sector to meet the increasingly complex and difficult global challenges that leaders will confront in the next century. It achieves this mission in three ways: by generating strategic analysis that is anticipatory and interdisciplinary; by convening policymakers and other influential parties to assess key issues; and by building structures for policy action. CSIS does not take specific public policy positions. Accordingly, all views, positions, and conclusions expressed in this publication should be understood to be solely those of the author. President and Chief Executive Officer: Robert B. Zoellick Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer: Anthony A. Smith Executive Vice President: Douglas M. Johnston, Jr. Managing Director for Domestic and International Issues: Richard Fairbanks Senior Vice President and Director of Studies: Erik R. Peterson Director of Publications: James R. Dunton Director of the Americas Program: Georges A. Fauriol

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A c k n o w l e d g m e n t s ............................................................................... v i Chapter 1: History, Legal Standing, and Values ................................... 1 Steps toward Depoliticizing Mexico's Military ......................... 2 Constitutional Provisions Pertaining to Mexico's Armed Forces ............................................... 6 Values Instilled in Mexico's Armed Forces ............................... 9 Chapter 2: Training, Functions, Weapons, and Expenditures............. 11 The Training of Mexico's Armed Forces ................................. 12 Table 1: Directors of the National Defense College, 1 9 8 1 ­ 1 9 9 8 ...................................................................... 1 6 Table 2: Directors of the Superior War College, 1 9 3 2 ­ 1 9 9 8 ...................................................................... 1 7 Table 3: Directors of the Heroico Colegio Militar, 1 9 2 0 ­ 1 9 9 8 ...................................................................... 1 8 Table 4: Increased Military Functions Compared with Arms Acquisitions, 1940­Present............................................19 Current Army and Air Force Weapons Inventory .................... 20 Current Naval Weapons Inventory ........................................... 22 Table 5: Mexico's Military Expenditures Compared with Other Countries of the Americas ........................... 26 Pay and Benefits ....................................................................... 27



Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Chapter 3: Organization, Manpower, and Leadership........................ 29 The Organization of Mexico's Armed Forces.......................... 29 Table 6: The Structure of Mexico's Army ............................... 34 Table 7: The Army's Military Regions and Zones................... 35 Table 8: States Embraced by Mexico's 12 Military Regions, 1998 ................................................................ 36 Traits of Regional, Zonal, and Garrison Commanders ............ 36 Table 9: Mexico's Population and Military Forces, 1965, 1970, 1975­1998 ................................................. 38 Table 10: Mexico's Military Forces, 1965, 1970, 1975­1997 ................................................. 39 Chapter 4: The Military and Politics .................................................. 40 Table 11: Secretaries and Undersecretaries of the Ministries of National Defense and the Navy, 1 9 3 5 ­ P r e s e n t .................................................................. 4 1 Table 12: Mexico's Military Governors, 1935­Present ........... 42 Table 13: Number of Individuals with Military Backgrounds Serving in Congress, 1982­Present ............................... 45 Table 14: Voting Results in Mexico City Precincts with High Military Populations (Near Campo Militar No. 1), July 6, 1997 ....................................................... 46 Table 15: Voting Results in Mexico City and Monterey Precincts with High Military Populations, 1994­1997 ..................................................................... 47 Notable Civilian-Military Contacts.......................................... 47 Chapter 5: The Military and Contemporary Problems....................... 49 Key Events Sparking the Escalation of the Military's Involvement in Chiapas ...................... 52 December 1998 Protest by Military Personnel ........................ 56

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Table 16: The Eradication and Seizure of Drugs in Mexico, 1970, 1972, 1974, 1976­1996 ..................... 57 Table 17: The Military and Public Safety.................................58 Chapter 6: Mexico's Military and the United States .......................... 59 Summary of Mexico­U.S. Military Relations..........................60 Highlights of U.S. Security Assistance to Mexico ................... 66 Table 18: Arms Transfers ......................................................... 67 Table 19: Highlights of U.S. Security Training and Educational Programs with Mexico ............................... 68 Chapter 7: Miscellaneous Information ............................................... 69 Women and Mexico's Armed Forces ....................................... 70 Table 20: The Officer Rank Structure of Mexico's Armed Forces ................................................................. 70 Table 21: Commissioned Officers' Ranks and Insignias..........71 Table 22: Mexican Public Opinion and the Armed Forces ................................................................. 72 Table 23: Mexican Public Opinion and Key Institutions ......... 73 Specialized Military Vocabulary.........................................................74 Selected Bibliography.........................................................................76 About the Author ................................................................................ 78

I wish to thank Tess Owens for cheerfully and expertly typing the original version of this manuscript; Anne Shepherd, Mike Abley, Ed Oyer, and Ellen Moncure for gathering material for and proofreading so many inscrutable pages; and John Baker, a graduate student in William & Mary's Thomas Jefferson Program in Public Policy, for his excellent research assistance. Lic. Marisol Soto Reyes of Mexico's superb Federal Electoral Institute enabled me to obtain data concerning "military precincts" that seemed unobtainable; she is one of the finest public servants I ever have encountered. Alicia Buenrostro, press attaché at the Mexican Embassy in Washington, D.C., went beyond the call of duty to acquire the names of directors of Mexico's key military educational institutions. Of the many experts on the Mexican and U.S. armed forces who took time from busy schedules to review early drafts of this Factbook, I am especially indebted to Colonel Donald E. Schulz of the Institute for Strategic Studies at the U.S. Army War College; to Colonel John A. Cope of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the National Defense University; to Professor Raúl Benítez Manaut of the National Autonomous University of Mexico; and Professor Roderick Ai Camp of Tulane University. These individuals tendered invaluable advice on both content and style; indeed, Colonel Schulz is one of the most knowledgeable wordsmiths I ever have encountered. In addition, I owe a huge debt to Professor Oscar Aguilar Asencio and Lic. Sigrid Artz for reading portions of the manuscript. Of course, we never would have arrived at the production stage without the encouragement and advice of Georges Fauriol, Delal Baer, and Armand Peschard-Svedrup of CSIS's Americas Program. With such remarkable support, the author bears full responsibility for any and all errors of fact and interpretation embedded in this study. In fact, readers should not hesitate to e-mail comments to




H i s t o r y, Legal Standing, a n d Values
Unlike most Latin American militaries throughout the twentieth century, Mexico's armed forces have obeyed--rather than deliberated--when they have received orders from their commander-in-chief, the president. The kaleidoscopic rise and fall of governments during the country's first half-century of independence convinced dictator Porfirio Díaz (1876­1911), himself a general, that he should employ a vast array of devices to curb militarism lest he be ousted by scheming officers. He complemented professionalization with corruption on the theory that a "dog with a bone in its mouth cannot bite." Although deftly fending off threats from the barracks, Díaz and his technocratic advisers fell prey to civilian opponents, who felt alienated by the strongman's disdain for democracy, chumminess with foreign investors, and suppression of campesinos, urban workers, and middle-class progressives. The overthrow of Díaz sparked the bloodiest revolution in the hemisphere. For more than a decade, the country resembled a Tolstoyan battlefield, highlighted by conniving politicians, stacked corpses, penurious peasants, invading forces, and disheveled armies marching off in different directions. The fragility of the ensuing peace bolstered the determination of three strong presidents--Alvaro Obregón, Plutarco Elías Calles, and Lázaro Cárdenas--to shrink the hoards of men under arms, to slash the number of generals, and to professionalize the smaller--but still large--army in accord with provisions of the 1917 Constitution. Cárdenas not only emphasized improved training, diminished political involvement, and greater attention to public works for the military, he also established a broad-based civilian counterpoise to the army in the form of a corporatist political organization, now known as the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). As elected politicians and their bureaucratic allies supplanted generals on Mexico's political stage, the armed forces increasingly concentrated on converting a hodgepodge of units--most with old, variegated weapons and equipment--into a modern, well-trained, disciplined body. Assistance from the United States and Mexico's dispatch of a squadron of combat aircraft to the Philippines during World War II gave impetus to this process. Although less politicized than most of its counterparts in the Americas, Mexico's military--at the direction of civilian leaders--has broken strikes, captured dissident union bosses, quelled peasant uprisings, eradicated rural guerrillas, intimidated opposition political parties, sent spies onto university campuses, and massacred antigovernment demonstrators. As discussed in Chapter 5, President Ernesto Zedillo has turned to the armed forces to manage



Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

problems he and his fellow politicians deem intractable--specifically, containing a guerrilla uprising in Chiapas state, fighting narco-trafficking, and combating street crime. The role of the military will increase in salience as Mexico undergoes the extremely difficult transition from an authoritarian, hierarchical, statist regime to one that emphasizes pluralism, fair elections, the rule of law, and market economics.

Steps toward Depoliticizing Mexico's Military1
Mexico gained full independence in September 1821, thanks to a revolutionary force--the Army of the Three Guarantees--commanded by Agustín de Iturbide and composed of approximately 16,000 troops. In Mexico City alone, nearly 5,000 officers commanded 8,000 enlisted men. On Iturbide's coronation as "constitutional emperor," the revolutionaries became Mexico's first standing military body, known as the Mexican Imperial Army. A virtual replica of Spain's colonial militia, individuals of direct Spanish descent served as officers while Indian peasants--possibly recruited in raids on their villages--constituted the rank-and-file. These untrained, poorly equipped "recruits" frequently deserted.2 Moreover, during Mexico's first 25 years of independence, the budget for the armed forces exceeded government revenues two out of every three years.3 What is more, during Mexico's first half-century of independence, more than 50 governments rose and fell, as 30 different men became president. The most contemptible of these was General Antonio López de Santa Anna, a "cryptic, mercurial, domineering military chieftain" 4 who captured the presidency 11 times between 1833 and 1855. His name became synonymous with the treachery, intrigue, and betrayal that retarded Mexico's economic development and political unification. Following the loss of half of Mexico's national territory to the United States through the Mexican­American War and Gadsden Purchase (1848­1853) and intervention by France (1862­1865), several Mexican leaders succeeded in diminishing the army's political influence.

President Porfirio Díaz (1876­1911)
r Quieted foes too powerful to crush by facilitating their enrichment through graft and corruption;

· Deliberately offended weaker rivals, whom he discharged and
1. This section draws heavily from Edwin Lieuwen, Arms and Politics in Latin America, rev. ed. (New York, N.Y.: Council on Foreign Relations, 1965), pp. 101­121. 2. James D. Rudolph, ed., Mexico: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: Foreign Area Studies, American University, 1985), p. 321. 3. Lucas Alamán, Historia de Méjico, Vol. 4 (Mexico City, Mex.: J. M. Lara: 1849­1852), pp. 445­448. 4. Peter H. Smith, Mexico: The Quest for a U.S. Policy (New York, N.Y.: Foreign Policy Association, n.d.), pp. 6­7.

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· Coopted loyalists with big salaries, generous expense accounts, and
opportunities for self-enrichment; r Shifted commands in the newly created 11 military zones to prevent senior officers from capturing the loyalty of large numbers of enlisted personnel; r Promoted potential opponents to governorships or drummed them out of the military on charges of corruption in a policy known as pan o palo ("bread or the club"); r In the absence of an efficient fighting force, established the rurales--a personal constabulary--to discharge police functions and crush uprisings; and r On the eve of the 1910 revolution, Mexico--with a population of 14 million people--possessed an army composed of approximately 4,000 officers and 20,000 enlisted men. "Its ranks were filled with primitive Indian conscripts, among them a good number of vagabonds, beggars, and criminals."5

President Alvaro Obregón (1920­1924)
The 1910­1917 revolution doubled the size of the poorly trained, poorly organized army to 80,000 men while ballooning the number of officers, few of whom had studied modern military science. To reduce the army's size, budget, and lack of professionalism, General Alvaro Obregón--the revolution's most distinguished officer--spearheaded various changes:

r Forced hundreds of revolutionary generals into retirement; others died under mysterious circumstances.6 Those who remained were incorporated into the federal army and placed on the government's payroll to enhance loyalty to Mexico City; r When necessary, bribed opponents with so-called silver cannonballs--on the premise that "No Mexican general can withstand a cannonball of 50,000 pesos";7 r Purged all officers suspected of backing General Adolfo de la Huerta's abortive coup in 1923; r Filled vacancies with young professionals who had graduated from the reorganized Colegio Militar at Chapultepec, which offered a three-year curriculum with specialized infantry, cavalry, and artillery training (In 1917, General Obregón had created a general staff school in which new officers received training from counterparts who had served in Díaz's army);

5. Lieuwen, Arms and Politics, p. 105. 6. Rudolph, Mexico: A Country Study, p. 325. 7. Quoted in Howard F. Cline, The United States and Mexico, rev. ed. (New York, N.Y.: Atheneum, 1965), p. 196.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

r Sent promising young officers to Spain, France, Germany, and the United States to learn modern military methods and techniques; and r Succeeded in cutting the military budget from 142 million pesos in 1921 to 117 million pesos when he left office in 1924.

President Plutarco Elías Calles (1924­1928)
r Selected Joaquín Amaro, a young Indian general who had served as secretary of war and the navy, to continue the reforms launched by President Obregón; r Through General Amaro, disbanded the least reliable units and discharged the flotsam from the army's ranks; r Put troops to work building roads, constructing schools, and undertaking other public works projects; r Weaned enlisted men off local caudillos by promoting educational and recreational programs designed to enhance patriotism and esprit de corps; r Sent more young officers to France, Spain, Italy, and the United States to learn about foreign militaries and, on their return home, made them his advisers; r Increased the efficiency of the general staff by establishing--again through General Amaro, the first director of military education--both a Commission of Military Studies (1926) and a Superior War College (1932) under French tutelage. In addition, General Amaro completely revised the curriculum of the Heroic Military College; r Dispatched graduates of the newly organized Colegio Military to regiments of "doubtful loyalty" as a buffer between revolutionary generals and their private armies; r Provoked foes of modernization by shifting commands; r Enjoyed the loyalty of thousands of peasant troops in putting down the subsequent revolt led by General José Gonzalo Escobar; and r Took pride in the fact that, even though nearly 20 percent of the officer corps had joined the 1923 anti-Obregón rebellion, few regular officers and only one out of every five soldiers had backed General Escobar.8

8. Oscar Aguilar Asencio, "Proceso de Institucionalización de las Fuerzas Armadas en America Latina: Los Casos de México y Venezuela," Paper presented at the University of Notre Dame, 1991 (mimeo.), p. 5.

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President Lázaro Cárdenas (1934­1940)
r Instead of serving as a puppet for his predecessor, built up a powerful counterpoise to the pro-Calles military by arming and training 100,000 workers and peasants;9 r Emphasized the role of the military in education and public works rather than as guardian of internal order; r Refused to enlarge the regular army while promoting loyalists to key positions; r Divided the Secretariat of War and Navy into two autonomous defense ministries--National Defense (army and air force) and Navy (navy and marines)--to attenuate the power of the armed forces; r Accelerated shifts in commands, as well as the removal of governors suspected of disloyalty; r As part of a six-year program for the "moral and professional advance of the army," gave all infantry officers below the rank of colonel examinations in military science, requiring those who failed to return to school; r Made competitive technical examinations a prerequisite for promotion (1936); r Issued a reglamento barring officers from participating in any political activity (1936); r Banned civilian employment for active-duty officers (1937); r Reconfigured the confederal "revolutionary party" into a corporatist organization composed of four separate sectors--labor, peasant, professional, and military--with the result that any serious presidential candidate would need the support of the party's civilian elements to achieve his goal; r Drafted the Law of National Military Service (1941), which established compulsory basic military training for 18-year-old males, selected through a lottery system; r Backed the efforts of the Confederation of Mexican Workers to remove the anti-labor governor of Sonora, General Juan Yocupicio, and acquiesced in the governing party's expulsion of "congressional" generals who had opposed agrarian reform and pro-labor initiatives; r Put down the 1938 uprising led by General Saturnino Cedillo, who succeeded in mobilizing only 5 percent of the troops, chiefly from his home state of San Luis Potosí;
9. Ibid., p. 6.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

r Watched his hand-picked candidate, General Manuel Avila Camacho (Cárdenas's secretary of national defense), easily win the presidency against General Andreu Almazán, zone commander in the Monterey region and a supporter of local industrialists who excoriated social reforms. Although himself a staunch reformer, Cárdenas backed the moderate Avila Camacho to avoid "radicalization" of the political system, which could have threatened national unity at a time of intense political pressure from the United States;10 and r Applauded new president Avila Camacho's (a) eliminating the military sector from the revolutionary party, (b) breaking up the military bloc in Congress, and (c) retiring a number of revolutionary generals.

Constitutional Provisions Pertaining to Mexico's Armed Forces
Article 29. In the event of invasion, serious disturbance of the public peace, or any other event which may place society in great danger or conflict, only the President of the Mexican Republic, with the consent of the head officials of the State Departments, the Administrative Departments and the Office of the Attorney General of the Republic and with the approval of the Congress of the Union, and during adjournments of the latter, of the Permanent Committee, may suspend throughout the country or in a determined place the guarantees which present an obstacle to a rapid and ready combating of the situation; but he must do so for a limited time, by means of general preventive measures without such suspensions being limited to a specified individual. If the suspension should occur while the Congress is in session, the latter shall grant such authorizations as it deems necessary to enable the Executive to meet the situation. If the suspension occurs during a period of adjournment, the Congress shall be convoked without delay in order to grant them. Article 34, Sec. IV. [Among t]he rights of citizens of the Republic are: To bear arms in the Army or National Guard in the defense of the Republic and its institutions, under the provisions prescribed by the laws. Article 36, Sec. II. [Among] obligations of citizens of the Republic are: To enlist in the National Guard. Article 55, Sec. IV. [Among t]he following are the requirements to be a deputy:11 Not to be in active service in the federal army nor to hold command in the police or rural gendarmería in the district where the election is held, within at least ninety days prior thereto.
10. Cárdenas's March 18, 1938, expropriation of 17 foreign oil companies--still celebrated as a day of "national dignity"--gave rise to economic sanctions and even cries to invade Mexico; see Asencio, "Proceso de Institucionalización," p. 8. 11. The same provision applies to senators.

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Article 73, Secs. XII, XIII, XIV, and XV. [Among t]he duties of Congress:

r To declare war, in the light of information submitted by the Executive; r To enact laws pursuant to which captures on sea and land must be declared good or bad; and to enact maritime laws applicable in peace and war; r To raise and maintain the armed forces of the Union, to wit: army, navy, and air force, and to regulate their organization and service; and r To prescribe regulations for the purpose of organizing, arming, and disciplining the national guard, reserving to the citizens who compose it the appointment of their respective commanders and officers, and to the States the power of training it in accordance with the discipline prescribed by such regulations.
Article 76, Secs. II, III, IV, and VII. [Among t]he exclusive powers of the Senate are:

r To ratify the appointments which said official makes of ministers, diplomatic agents, consuls general, high-level employees of the Treasury, colonels and other high-ranking chiefs of the national army, navy, and air force, in accordance with provisions of law; r To authorize him [the President] also to permit the departure of national troops beyond the borders of the country, the passage of foreign troops through the national territory, and the sojourn of squadrons of other powers for more than one month in Mexican waters; r To give its consent for the President of the Republic to order the national guard outside of its respective States, fixing the necessary force; and r To ratify the appointments made by the President of the Republic as ministers, diplomatic agents, consuls general, high-level employees of the Treasury, colonels and other high-ranking officers of the national army, navy, and air force, in accordance with provisions of law.
Article 82, Secs. V. In order to be President it is required [among other things]: Not to be in active service, in case of belonging to the army, within six months prior to the day of the election. Article 83, Secs. IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII. [Among t]he exclusive powers of the President are:

r To appoint, with the approval of the Senate, the colonels and other highranking officers of the army, navy, and air force, and the high-level employees of the Treasury; r To appoint the other officers of the army, navy, and air force, as provided by law;


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

r To dispose of the entire permanent armed forces, including the land forces, the sea force, and the air force for internal security and exterior defense of the Federation; r To dispose of the national guard for the same purposes, under the terms indicated in section IV of Article 76; and r To declare war in the name of the United Mexican States, pursuant to a previous law of the Congress of the Union.
Article 118, Secs. II and III. Nor shall the States, without the consent of the Congress of the Union:

r Have at any time permanent troops or ships of war; and r Make war themselves on any foreign power, except in cases of invasion and of danger so imminent that it does not admit of delay. In such cases, a report shall be made immediately to the President of the Republic.
Article 129. No military authority may, in time of peace, perform any functions other than those that are directly connected with military affairs. There shall be fixed and permanent military commands only in the castles, forts, and warehouses immediately subordinate to the Government of the Union; or in encampments, barracks, or arsenals established for the quartering of troops outside towns. Article 132. The forts, barracks, storage warehouses, and other buildings used by the Government of the Union for public service or for common use shall be subject to the jurisdiction of the Federal Powers in accordance with provisions to be established in a law enacted by the Congress of the Union; but, in order that property acquired in the future within the territory of any State shall likewise be under federal jurisdiction, the consent of the respective legislature shall be necessary. Also important are the following "regulatory laws":

r Código de Justicia Militar, SEDENA, latest version, 1994. r "Ley Orgánica del Ejército y Fuerza Aérea Mexicanos," latest version, 1971. r "Ley Orgánica de la Armada," latest version, 1985.12

12. Renato de J. Bermúdez, Compendio de Derecho Militar Mexicano (Mexico City, Mex.: Porrúa, 1996).

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Values Instilled in Mexico's Armed Forces13 Nationalism
Reverence for Symbols. The heroic cadets (niños heroes) who threw themselves from the walls of Chapultepec Castle instead of surrendering to U.S. forces in the Mexican­American War; the Battle of Puebla, when Mexico's army fought French troops on May 5, 1862; the Mexican Revolution; and the tricolored national flag.14

r Wariness of the United States15 r Obedience to civil authorities r No pronouncements in press on national problems r Populism16 r Conformity r Secrecy r Strict obedience to superiors17

13. Source: Gisbert H. Flanz & Louise Moreno, "Mexico," in Albert P. Blaustein and Gisbert H. Flanz, eds., Constitutions of the Countries of the World (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.: Oceana Publications, 1988). 14. During the last half of President Zedillo's six-year term, the army has sought out conspicuous sites at which to fly huge flags. One of the largest flags flies at a height higher than the cathedral in Mexico City's Zócalo central plaza. 15. A close observer of Mexico's armed forces reports that wariness of the United States--a legacy of the Mexican­American War and other interventions orchestrated by Washington-- manifests itself in the changing of the guard ritual each day at Chapultepec Castle. In essence, the "Orders of the Day" instruct the new relief to "kill every gringo in sight"; even as relations between the army chiefs of the United States and Mexico gave every appearance of warming, Mexico's National Defense Ministry disseminated to all general officers specially prepared copies of a highly tendentious 1993 pamphlet, the introduction to which was written by extremist Lyndon LaRouche, that alleged a U.S. scheme to destroy the militaries of Latin American countries. See John A. Cope, "In Search of Convergence: U.S.­Mexican Relations into the 21st Century," in John Bailey and Sergio Aguayo Quezada, eds., Strategy and Security in U.S.­Mexican Relations beyond the Cold War (San Diego, Calif.: Center for U.S.­Mexican Studies, University of California, San Diego, 1996), pp. 8­9. 16. The army's popular revolutionary origins stand in contrast to the background of most Latin American militaries. Although prepared to repress communist-inspired insurgencies and other rebellions, the army's ideological orientation--especially since the conclusion of the Cold War--seems more compatible with the center-left Democratic Revolutionary Party (PRD) (nationalism, social justice, statism, and antiyanquismo) than with the technocratic wing of the PRI (neoliberalism, privatization, and globalism). The army still identifies itself with the "people," and impoverished Oaxaca state provides the largest share of troops. That the PRD's program resonates with many military men means neither that they are attracted to such party leaders as Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas, Manuel Andrés López Obrador, or Porfirio Muñoz Ledo--whom they view as old priístas because they bolted the PRI in 1987--nor that they vote for the PRD, as shown in Tables 14 and 15. The author is indebted to Professor Oscar Aguilar Ascencio for this astute observation.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

r Close institutional ties to the president18 r Institutional loyalty r Male-centered19

17. Although subordinates apparently knew of General Jesús Gutiérrez Rebollo's extensive contacts with drug barons while regional commander in Jalisco, no one raised this issue when the secretary of national defense, General Enrique Cervantes Aguirre, concurred in President Zedillo's placing Gutiérrez Rebollo at the head of the National Institute to Combat Drugs, Mexico's antinarcotics agency. 18. General Gutiérrez Rebollo's arrest occurred just a week before the 1997 National Army Day. In view of this case, President Zedillo went to great lengths to use the ceremony to praise the loyalty and professionalism of the institution. He made his presentation to the top brass--General Cervantes, all regional and zone commanders, the heads of military schools, and so forth-- assembled at the Campo de Mayo military facility in Mexico City. In contrast, some officers privately expressed disappointment with Zedillo's predecessor as president, Carlos Salinas (1988­ 1994), for four reasons: (1) in September 1992, the Ministry of Education, then led by Zedillo, prepared textbooks--later withdrawn--that highlighted the army's repressive role in the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre; (2) he remained silent amid rumors that former secretary of national defense Juan Arévalo Gardoqui was involved in high-level narcotics trafficking; (3) instead of allowing an in-house investigation, he ordered the National Commission on Human Rights to investigate a November 1991 incident in which soldiers killed seven federal drug agents at a remote landing strip in Veracruz; and (4) unlike President Díaz Ordaz, who personally bore the onus of the Tlatelolco event, President Salinas failed to accept responsibility for the uprising of the Zapatista guerillas on January 1, 1994, thus casting indirect blame on the armed forces. See Stephen J. Wagner and Donald Schulz, "The Zapatista Revolt and its Implications for Civil Military Relations and the Future of Mexico," Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs No. 37 (Spring 1995), p. 19. 19. Women constitute less than 1 percent of military personnel.



T r a i n i n g , Functions, Weapons, and Expenditures
Post­World War II civilian leaders in Mexico diminished both the political role and the economic assets of the military. After all, Guatemala and other Caribbean Basin countries posed no threat to Mexico, while its armed forces could not even hope to repel an attack launched by the United States--in the extremely unlikely event of a conflict between these neighbors, who share a border 2,000 miles long. Thus, President Miguel Alemán and his successors concentrated on internal economic development, ultimately adopting a protectionist import-substitution model to spur industrialization. For its part, the army concentrated on civic-action programs in accord with its role as "servant of the people"; suppressed guerrilla bands that emerged in the 1960s and early 1970s; and helped to maintain political stability as indicated at the beginning of Chapter 1. For its part, the navy functioned as a coast guard, conducting search-and-rescue missions, pursuing smugglers, and helping to clean up oil spills and other types of pollution. Through most of the 1970s, Mexico's military remained one of the worstequipped and poorly paid in Latin America. A medley of events changed this situation: the influx of refugees from civil wars plaguing Central America, sparking fear of turmoil in Chiapas and other dirt-poor southern states; the discovery of a cornucopia of oil and gas in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; the escalation of the production and shipment of drugs; and the designation of a 200mile Exclusive Economic Zone off Mexican shores that was off-limits to fishermen from the United States and other countries. These factors sparked a program to modernize and enlarge Mexico's armed forces. Although a severe crisis in the early 1980s forced a scale-back of the initiative, the size of the military doubled between the late 1970s and the mid1990s. In addition, the army, navy, and air force improved their training, increased their stock of weapons, and boosted compensation for their personnel. One expert believes that the sharp expansion of its armed forces' budget in recent yeas has vaulted Mexico from near the bottom in per capita military outlays to the average for all countries.



Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

The Training of Mexico's Armed Forces20
I. Top-tier institution A. National Defense College (located at old Colegio Militar at Popotla in Mexico City) 1. Created in September 1981; 2. Provides army colonels and generals--and their counterparts in rank in the air force and navy--with advanced formal training in national security policymaking, resource management, international affairs, and economics. Also includes participants from the ministries of foreign relations, finance, and government (Gobernación)--in an effort to forge ties between military officers and civilians from ministries with national security responsibilities. Of 30 participants on average in a class, three to five are civilians; 3. 70 percent to 75 percent of instructors have civilian backgrounds; 4. The year-long program includes course work, as well as one domestic and one foreign trip. When Mexican officers visit the United States, under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Defense, they receive briefings on force modernization, organizational issues, command and control, and equipment acquisition policy; and 5. Graduates receive the degree of Master of Military Administration for Security and National Defense. II. Second-tier institutions A. Superior War College (Mexico City) 1. Created in 1932; 2. Provides the equivalent of a college education to young officers with 5 to 10 years of military service to prepare them for command assignments;21 3. Largely military faculty, who--according to Roderic Ai Camp
20. Source: Rudolph, ed., Mexico: A Country Study, pp. 352­356. 21. Graduating classes through the mid-1980s typically included 8 majors, 25 first captains, and 12 second captains. A change limited entrance to the Superior War College to lieutenants and second captains, and since 1988 more than one-third of graduates have been lieutenants. This indicates the army's desire to socialize future colonels and generals at a younger, more receptive age; indeed, the average age for graduates is 26. See Roderic Ai Camp, "What Kind of Relationship? The Military and Mexican Politics," Paper presented at the National Latin American Studies Conference, Washington, D.C., April 1991, pp. 514­515.

George W. Grayson


--display an arrogant teaching style with the awarding of grades based more on subordination to authority than on knowledge of subject matter; 4. Coursework concentrates on administration, military strategy and tactics, war gaming, and logistics--as well as more general subjects such as military history and foreign languages. Often compared to U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Three-year program for army personnel; two-year course for specialized air force training; and navy officers could elect to take a comparable course at their own institution, the Center of Superior Naval Studies; and 5. Graduates receive the degree of Licenciate in Military Administration and the title of General Staff Graduate (Diplomato de Estado Mayor, or DEM). In addition to being a prerequisite for a flag rank in any of the services, the DEM also ensures recipients a stipend of between 10 and 25 percent of their salary for the remainder of their active service. B. Center of Superior Naval Studies (Mexico City) 1. Created in 1970; 2. Provides advanced training for naval officers holding the rank of captain and above; 3. Largely military faculty; 4. Curriculum includes naval and military science, war gaming, international maritime law, geopolitics, and logistics. The center also sponsors a correspondence program for commissioned officers assigned to naval zone facilities. The two most important offerings are the National Security and Senior Command course and the Naval General Staff course. The former, equivalent to the National Defense College course, includes (naval) lieutenants and colonels, as well as civilians from Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX) and the ministries of foreign relations, communications and transport, and government; and 5. Graduates of the one-year general staff course receive the title of Naval General Staff Graduate. C. Mexican Army and Air Force Study Center (Mexico City) 1. Created in 1995; 2. Composed of four military schools: a. Military School of Intelligence (established in 1990 as the School of Training and Command Groups before


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

adopting current name in 1994) i. designed to train military analysts22 ii. students are captains, majors, and occasional lieutenant colonels iii. 21 to 25 students per class iv. mostly civilian faculty b. School of Human Resources c. School of Military Administration d. School of Logistics 3. Each school offers three courses: a. Basic b. Advanced c. Superior (six months) D. Military College of Health Service Graduates (Mexico City), created in 1970 E. Military Medical School (Mexico City), created in 1916 F. Military School of Dentistry (Mexico City), created in 1976 G. Military Engineering School (Mexico City), created in 1960 H. Military School of Communications, created in 1925 III. Third-tier institutions A. Heroic Military College (Mexico City)23 1. Created on October 11, 1923; 2. Provides the equivalent of a preparatory-school education for young men in their mid- to late-teens who have graduated from a secondary school or a private military academy; 3. Military administration and largely military faculty who stress rote learning, obedience, discipline, and loyalty to one's classmates. Such emphasis on group-over-individualachievement means that cheating is tolerated, if not encouraged,
22. Although regional and zonal commanders often assign a low priority to collecting information, army intelligence or S­2 officers gather volumes of material from around the country; however, the military has lacked a center to teach its personnel how to analyze the data that flow into Mexico City. Thus, the Ministry of Defense cannot differentiate accurate reports about, say, guerrilla groups from wild speculation. 23. Roderic Ai Camp notes that the army added the adjective Heroico to the Colegio Militar in 1949 because of the school's loyalty to the president.

George W. Grayson


particularly if it fosters fraternal bonding. Instructors discourage initiatives by individual cadets; 4. The four-year program offers the opportunity to specialize in infantry, cavalry, artillery, engineering, or administration; and 5. Graduates attain the equivalent rank of second lieutenant in their branch of specialization. B. Heroic Naval Military School (Veracruz) 1. Created July 1, 1897; 2. Program is the naval equivalent of that offered at the Heroic Military College; 3. 70 percent to 75 percent of instructors have civilian backgrounds; 4. Graduates earn the rank of ensign for service with the naval surface fleet, naval aviation, or marine infantry units. The navy also operates an aviation school at Mexico City's Benito Juárez International Airport; and 5. Since the late 1980s, a U.S. military officer teaches English at Mexico's naval and air force academies, as well as at the Superior War College. Similarly, Mexican officers offer Spanish instruction at West Point, Annapolis, and Boulder. C. Air College (Jalisco) 1. Created in 1959; 2. Program is the air force equivalent of that offered at the Heroic Military College; 3. 70 percent to 75 percent of instructors have civilian backgrounds; and 4. Graduates earn the rank of second lieutenant as air force pilotaviator, general specialist, or specialist in maintenance and supply.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Table 1: Directors of the National Defense College, 1981­199824

Name Gral. Bgda. Int. (DEM) Rafael Paz del Campo Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Rodrigo Isidoro Alcaraz Leyva Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Luis Mucel Luna Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Spencer Benjamín Calderón G. Gral. Div. (DEM) Mario Renán Castillo Fernández Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Gerardo Clemente Ricardo Vega García Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Enrique Tomás Salgado Cordero Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Ricardo Maldonado Baca Gral. Bdga. (DEM) Adrián de Jesús Ruiz y Esquivel Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Tito Valencia Ortíz Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Ricardo Andriano Morales Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Joel J. Martínez Montero Gral. Bgda. (DEM) Vinicio Santoyo-Feria

Tenure August 1997­ March 1996­August 1997 December 1994­March 1996 February 1993­December 1994 April 1992­February 1993 December 1988­March 1992 May 1988­December 1988 August 1986­April 1988 September 1984­August 1986 May 1984­September 1984 March 1984­May 1984 December 1982­March 1984 January 1981­March 1982

24. Source: Marcelo Mereles, Foreign Press Office, Mexican Presidency.

George W. Grayson


Table 2: Directors of the Superior War College, 1932­199825

Name Arturo Olgin Hernandez Jacinto Romero Arrendo Armando Arturo Nuñez Cabrera José de Jesús Humberto Rodríquez Fausto Manuel Zamorano Esparza Gilberto Renato García González Alfredo Hernández Pimentel Daniel Velázquez Cordona Rafael Macedo Figueroa Rodrigo Montelongo Moreno Joel Martínez Monter Alfonso Pérez Mejía Marco Antonio Guerrero Mendoza Pedro Feria Rivera Mario Carballo Pazos Alonso Aguirre Ramos Juan Antonio de la Fuente Rodríguez Esteban Aguilar Gómez Arturo Corona Mendióroz Antonio Ramírez Barrera Raúl Rivera Flandez Francisco J. Grajales Godoy Cristobal Guzmán Cárdenas Alfonso Gurza Falfán Alberto Violante Pérez Juan Beristaín Ladró Rubén Calderón Aguilar Daniel Somuano López Luis Amezcua Figueroa Luis Rivas López Tomás Sánchez Hernández Luis Alamillo Flores

Tenure 1 9 9 8 ­1999 1997­1998 1996­1997 1995­1996 1992­1994 1991­1992 1989­1991 1988­1989 1985­1988 1982­1985 1982 1980­1982 1978­1980 1976­1978 1975­1976 1973­1975 1972­1973 1970­1972 1966­1970 1961­1966 1960­1961 1959­1960 1957­1959 1955­1957 1953­1954 1953 1947­1953 1945­1947 1944­1945 1940­1944 1936­1940 1932­1935

25. Source: Camp, Generals in the Palacio (New York, N.Y.: Oxford University Press, 1992), p. 153; Marcelo Mereles, Foreign Press Office, Mexican Presidency.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Table 3: Directors of the Heroico Colegio Militar, 1920­ 1 9 9 82 6
Name Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda Rigoberto Castillelos Adriano Luis Angel Fuentes Alvarez Luis Duarte Sacramento Carlos Duarte Sacramento Carlos Cisneros Montes de Oca Jaime Contreras Guerrero Enrique Cervantes Aguirre Absalón Castellanos Domínguez Salvador Revueltas Olvera Miguel Rivera Becerra Roberto Yáñez Vázquez Jerónimo Gómar Suástegui Francisco J. Grajales Godoy Leobardo C. Ruiz Camarillo Tomás Sánchez Hernández Rafael Avila Camacho Luis Alamillo Flores Gilberto R. Limón Márquez Marcelino García Barragán Alberto Zuno Hernández Othón León Lobato Manuel C. Rojas Rasso Rafael Cházaro Pérez Joaquín Amaro Domínguez Gilberto R. Limón Márquez Juan José Rios Rios Miguel M. Acosta Guajardo Amado Aguirre Manuel Mendoza Sarabia Miguel Angel Peralta J. Domínguez Ramírez Garrido Víctor Hernández Covarrubias Marcelino Murrieta Murrieta Joaquín Mucel Acereto Tenure 1996­1998 1994­1996 1992­1994 1990­1992 1988­1990 1985­1988 1983­1985 1980­1982 1976­1980 1973­1976 1971­1973 1965­1970 1959­1965 1955­1959 1953­1955 1950­1953 1948­1950 1945­1948 1942­1945 1941­1942 1939­1941 1936­1938 1936 1935­1936 1931­1935 1928­1931 1927­1928 1925­1927 1925 (HCM closed) 1925 1923­1925 1923­1923 1921­1923 1920­1921 1920

26. Source: Camp, Generals in the Palacio, p. 140. Note: From 1940 to 1973, all 10 directors reached top positions in the National Defense Secretariat, including two secretaries (Marcelino García Barragán and Gilberto Limón Márquez), two subsecretaries (Gilberto Limón Márquez and Jerónimo Gómar Suástegui), and three chiefs of staff (Luis Alamillo Flores, Tomás Sánchez Hernández, and Roberto Yáñez Vázquez). Rafael Avila Camacho had served already as official mayor, and Francisco Grajales Godoy and Leobardo C. Ruiz Camarillo previously had been chiefs of staff.

George W. Grayson


Table 4: Increased Military Functions Compared with Arms Acquisitions, 1940­Present27

1940 Key internal and external events World War II

1950­1960 Castro's rise to power in Cuba

1970 Tlatelolco declared massacre Discovery of 200mile Exclusive Economic Zone off country's shores Emergence of guerilla organizationsa

1980 Discovery of huge oil field in Isthmus of Tehuantepec Civil wars in Central America Guatemalan refugees pour into the South Earthquakes strike Mexico City


1995 Escalation of drug trafficking NAFTA takes effect Zapatista uprising in Chiapas Hurricanes lash Acapulco area



Quell social unrest Invoke civic action Fight abroad


Protect oil fields Eradicate drugs Defend fishing resources Relocate refugees

Directing police in Mexico City and in states and cities throughout the country Army: Mi­8 HIP helicopters (Russian) Navy: 2 Knox-class frigates Army: 73 UH­1H Huey helicopters. In 1998, the navy planned to purchase another Knoxclass frigate to use for spare parts needed to make the 2 already purchased operational

Major weapons acquisitions

Under Lend-Lease program, acquired $40 million worth of weapons, including 17 P­47 Thunderbolt fighters

Navy: 2 Fletcher-class destroyers

Army: 40 Panhard vehicles; 40 Panhard VBL light armored cars; 35 German HWK­11 armed personnel carriers; domestic mass production (in cooperation with Germany) of G­3 automatic rifles, ¾-ton trucks for military use, and DN­III armored cars Air Force: 12 F­5 supersonic fighters;b 55 Pilatus PC­7s (training and counterinsurgency); 5 Boeing 727­100s (transport); 20 Mudry CAP­10Bs (training); C­130s (cargo) Navy: 2 Gearingclass destroyers; 6 Halcón-class frigates; 4 Aguilaclass fisheryprotection vessels

a. People's Union (UP), Revolutionary Action Movement (MAR), and People's Armed Revolutionary Forces (FRAP). b. The United States established a military liaison office (MLO), staffed by Air Force personnel, to manage the F­5 purchase; subsequently, the MLO coordinated navy purchases of U.S.-made frigates and army acquisition of U.S.-made nightradar equipment. 27. Sources: Raúl Benítez Manuat, "Las fuerzas armadas mexicanas a fin de siglo: su relación con el estado, el sistema político y la sociedad," in Gabriel Aguilera Peralta, ed., Reconversión militar en america latina (Guatemala City, Guatemala: Flacso, 1994), pp. 63­89; Rudolph, ed., Mexico: A Country Study; and Edward J. Williams, "The Evolution of the Mexican Military and Its Implications for Civil­Military Relations," in Roderic Ai Camp, ed., Mexico's Political Stability: The Next Five Years (Boulder, Colo.: Westview, 1986), pp. 143­158.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Current Army and Air Force Weapons Inventory28 Army
Artillery 18 M­116 howitzers 16 M­2A1 armored fighting transport vehicles or M3 light tanks 60 M­101 towed artillery pieces 24 M­56 towed artillery pieces 5 DN­5 self-propelled artillery ("Buffalo") 1500 81 mm mortars 75 Brandt mortars 8 VBL (antitank guided weapons) 1 B­300 rocket launcher 30 37 mm M­3 mobile artillery 40 M­55 antiaircraft guns 1 RBS­70 surface-to-air missile (SAM) system Reconnaissance 119 ERC­90F rocket communications systems 40 VBL 25 MOWAG light tank 15 MAC­1 armored car 41 MEX­1 Infantry 40 HWK­11 34 M­2A1 towed artillery 36 VCR/TT armored personnel carrier (APC) 40 DN­4 APC ("Coballo") 40 DN­5 APC ("Toro") 409 AMX­VCI tracked armored vehicles (APC) 95 BDX 26 LAV­150 ST amphibious assault vehicles Armor 40 M­8 light tanks

28. Source: Military Balance 1997­1998 (London, U.K.: International Institute for Strategic Studies).

George W. Grayson


Air Force
Fighter 8 F5­E attack fighters 2 F5­F attack fighters Reconnaissance 14 Commander 500S 1 SA 1­37A surveillance aircraft 4 C­26 cargo planes29 Transport/Utility/SAR 2 BN­2 small transport planes 12 C­47 cargo planes 1 C­54 cargo plane 10 C­118 cargo planes 9 C­130A cargo planes 5 Commander 500 1 Commander 650 5 DC­6 transport plane 2 F­27 firefighters 5 727 passenger aircraft 12 IAI­201 business transport planes 2 King Air executive aircraft 11 CT­134A utility aircraft 40 F­33A fighters executive aircraft Presidential Fleet 1 757 passenger aircraft 2 737 passenger aircraft 1 L­188 training jet 3 FH­227 cargo planes 2 Merlin multi-use helicopters 4 T­39 training planes 1 AS­332 multi-use helicopters 2 SA­330 transport helicopters 2 UH­60 armored transport helicopter Training 74 PC­7 fighter trainers 27 AT­33 counterinsurgency fighters 20 CAP­10 maneuver trainers 5 T­39 trainers
29. Recent acquisitions that cannot be used for surveillance missions until they undergo some $3 million in modifications.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

22 MD­530F utility helicopters Helicopters 5 Bell 205 Huey II armored transport helicopters 27 Bell 206 scout helicopters 25 Bell 212 attack and support helicopters 73 UH­1H Huey armored transport helicopters30 3 SA­332 transport helicopters 2 UH­60 armored transport helicopters 6 S­70A transport helicopters

Current Naval Weapons Inventory31 Personnel
3,700, including 8,650 marines

Surface Assets
Combatants Destroyers

r 2 former U.S.-owned Gearing FRAM-I­class, approximately 2,448 tons' (light) displacement

· E­03 Quetzalcoatl · E­04 Netzahualcoyotl
r 1 former U.S.-owned Fletcher-class, approximately 2,050 tons' displacement

· E­02 Cuitlahuac

r 2 former U.S.-owned Brostein-class, approximately 2,360 tons' displacement

· E­40 Nicolas Bravo · E­42 Hermenegildo Galeana

30. Grounded as unsafe because gearbox problems gave rise to a number of accidents. 31. Source: A. D. Baker III, ed., The Naval Institute Guide to Combat Fleets of the World 1995 (Annapolis, Md.: Naval Institute Press, 1995).

George W. Grayson


r 3 high-speed transports (used primarily as patrol ships), approximately 1,450 tons' displacement

· 1 former U.S.-owned Charles Lawrence­class
B­07 Coahuila

· 2 former U.S.-owned Crosley-class
B­06 Usumacinta B­08 Chihuahua 2 Knox-class32
Patrol Ships 4 Aguila-class, approximately 907 tons' displacement 6 Halcón-class, approximately 767 tons' displacement 16 former U.S.-owned Auk-class former minesweepers, approximately 890 tons' displacement 12 former U.S.-owned Admirable-class former minesweepers, approximately 650 tons' displacement 1 Guanajuato-class gunboat, approximately 1,300 tons' displacement Patrol Boats and Patrol Craft Patrol coats

r 31 Azteca-class, approximately 115 tons' displacement.
Patrol craft

r 4 XFPB-class, approximately 75 tons' displacement r 13 Olmeca-class, approximately 18 tons' displacement r 4 Polimar-class, approximately 57 tons' displacement r 2 former U.S. Coast Guard Point-class, approximately 64 tons' displacement r 2 former U.S. Coast Guard Cape-class, approximately 87 tons' displacement
Riverine patrol craft

r About 20 Taipei-class, approximately 1.5 tons' displacement r 5 AM-1­class, approximately 37 tons' displacement

32. Acquired from the United States but remain inoperable because they were not properly outfitted.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Auxiliaries 1 repair ship, a former U.S.-owned Fabius-class former aircraft repair ship

r A­05 General Vicente Guerrero, approximately 4,100 tons' displacement
Survey and research vessels

r 2 former stern-haul trawlers

· H­04 Onjuku, approximately 494 tons' displacement · H­03 Alejandro de Humboldt, approximately 585 tons'
displacement r 1 former U.S. Navy survey ship, the former Samuel P. Lee

· H­06 Antares, approximately 1,297 tons' displacement
r 1 former U.S.-owned Robert D. Conrad­class oceanographic research vessel

· H­05 Altair, approximately 1,200 tons' displacement
r 1 former U.S.-owned Admirable-class former minesweeper

· H­2 DM 20, approximately 615 tons' displacement

r 2 Huasteco-class, approximately 2,650 tons' displacement r 1 vehicle and personnel transport, A­08 Iguala, approximately 4,205 tons' displacement r 1 naval transport, B­02 Zacatas, approximately 780 tons' displacement
Cargo ships

r 1 former commercial cargo ship, A­25 Tarasco, approximately 3,200 tons' displacement r 1 former lighthouse supply vessel, A­23 Maya, approximately 924 tons' displacement
Training vessels

r 1 sailing ship, A­07 Cuauhtemoc, three-masted bark, approximately 1,200 tons' displacement r 1 former U.S.-owned Edsall-class training frigate, A­06 Manuel Azueta, approximately 1,200 tons' displacement r 1 former armed transport, B­01 Durango, approximately 1,600 tons' displacement

George W. Grayson



r 4 former U.S.-owned Abnaki-class fleet tugs, approximately 1,325 tons' displacement r 2 ex-U.S. Maritime Administration V­4 class, approximately 1,863 tons' displacement
Service Craft 2 174-foot fuel lighters 1 general-purpose tender 2 yard tugs 3 floating drydocks, lift capacity 3,500 tons each 1 small auxiliary floating drydock, capacity 1,000 tons 7 floating cranes 1 pile driver 5 miscellaneous dredges

Primarily general aviation aircraft, used mostly for coastal surveillance and searchand-rescue. Many of the larger ships (the 2 former Gearing-class destroyers and many patrol ships) have small liaison helicopters attached.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

Table 5: Mexico's Military Expenditures Compared with Other Countries of the Americas33

Defense Expenditures US$m US$ per capita % of GDP Numbers in Armed Forces (000) 1996 0.8 1.5 3.6 0.8 0.6 0.7 5.4 1.1 3.5 0.6 1.1 2.5 0.6 1.5 1.4 1.3 1.5 1.4 1.5 2.1 2.1 3.5 2.6 3.4 1.0 1.3 1.9 3.5 2.3 1.2 1985 129.1 83.0 2,151.6 0.1 0.5 1.0 161.5 22.2 6.9 2.1 2.1 0.6 n/a 41.7 31.7 16.6 62.9 12.0 108.0 27.6 276.0 101.0 66.2 42.5 6.6 14.4 128.0 2.0 31.9 49.0 3,578.8 28.4 44.2 18.8 17.0 n/a 72.5 33.5 295.0 89.7 146.3 57.1 1.6 20.2 125.0 1.8 25.6 46.0 2,884.7 1996 175.0 70.5 1,483.8 0.2 0.9 0.6 100.0 24.5 n/a 3.3 2.1 1.1 Estimated Reservists (000) 1996 300.0 27.7 1,880.6 0.1 n/a 0.4 135.0 n/a n/a 0.9 n/a 0.7 n/a n/a 35.0 60.0 12.0 n/a 375.0 n/a 1,115.0 50.0 60.7 100.0 1.6 164.5 188.0 n/a n/a 8.0 4,515.1 Paramilitary (000) 1996 15.0 9.3 88.3 n/a 2.3 n/a 19.0 15.0 7.0 0.2 4.8 n/a 7.0 12.0 12.3 5.5 n/a 11.8 31.2 30.6 385.6 31.2 87.0 0.3 1.5 14.8 68.6 n/a 2.5 23.0 885.8

Country North America Mexico Canada United States Caribbean Antigua and Barbuda Bahamas Barbados Cuba Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica Trinidad and Tobago Central America Belize Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras Nicaragua Panama South America Argentina Bolivia Brazil Chile Colombia Ecuador Guyana Paraguay Peru Suriname Uruguay Venezuela Total

1985 1,695 10,688 352,551 3 13 16 2,181 70 42 27 100 5 40 344 160 98 301 123 4,945 173 3,209 579 388 43 82 875 11 326 1,125 381,910

1995 2,366 9,126 277,834 3 19 14 700 109 59 28 72 13 48 145 150 54 39 107 3,879 146 9,824 1,947 1,791 530 7 112 874 14 331 882 311,224

1996 2,582 8,387 265,823 3 21 14 686 101 62 28 71 14 50 122 154 57 36 109 3,732 152 10,341 1,990 1,846 528 7 110 1,061 14 270 903 299,293

1985 22 421 1,473 39 56 71 216 11 7 12 84 33 15 72 20 22 92 56 162 27 24 140 20 41 54 22 47 29 108 65

1995 26 324 1,056 47 74 50 64 14 8 11 55 62 14 26 14 9 9 40 113 18 61 137 51 45 9 23 37 34 104 40

1996 28 295 1,001 46 80 50 62 13 9 11 54 64 14 21 14 9 8 40 108 18 63 138 52 44 9 22 44 33 85 40

1985 0.7 2.2 6.5 0.5 0.5 0.9 9.6 1.1 1.5 0.9 1.4 1.4 0.7 4.4 1.8 2.1 17.4 2.0 3.8 2.0 0.8 7.8 1.6 1.8 6.8 1.3 4.5 2.4 3.5 2.1

1995 0.8 1.6 3.8 0.7 0.6 0.7 5.8 1.3 3.4 0.6 1.2 2.4 0.6 1.8 1.4 1.3 1.8 1.3 1.7 2.1 2.0 3.7 2.6 3.4 1.1 1.4 1.6 3.9 2.9 1.1

33. Source: Military Balance 1997­1998, pp. 293, 295, and 296. Substantial increases in Mexico's military budget in recent years have raised defense expenditures both as a percentage of gross domestic product and on a per capita basis.

George W. Grayson


Pay and Benefits34
I. Salaries A. Although periodically revised, the Law of Promotions and Compensation and the Law of Pensions and Retirement--both promulgated in the 1920s to bring the armed forces under the control of the central government--set the framework for military pay and benefits. B. Although the Ministry of Defense does not publicize elements in its budget, it is believed to earmark 60 percent of its outlays for administration, salaries, and benefits. C. The three branches of the military provide uniform compensation for equivalent rank and years of service. 1. During the 1950s and 1960s, compensation rose faster than the cost of living; 2. During the 1970s, pay failed to keep pace with both price increases and the salaries of civilians; 3. Pay raises during the 1980s helped most military personnel to preserve or even improve their purchasing power--with officers enjoying "comfortable incomes"; 4. In the early 1990s, some junior officers reportedly resorted to moonlighting because their pay averaged only $300 per month; and 5. Salaries have risen in recent years in part because of the Chiapas conflict, and in part because of the many functions members of the armed forces now are required to perform. D. Bonuses for education, hazardous duty, command positions, and so forth enable officers to supplement their base pay substantially. II. Pensions A. Retirees or their dependents/beneficiaries receive pensions. B. A 1983 amendment to the Law of Pensions and Retirement stipulates that an officer can retire after 30 years of service at 100 percent of his pre-retirement salary, as well as raises and cost-of-living adjustments granted to active-duty personnel. C. The minimum benefit for individuals with fewer than 30 years of service is 20 percent of base pay.
34. Source: This section relies heavily on Tim L. Merrill and Ramón Miró, Mexico: A Country Study (Washington, D.C.: Federal Research Division, Library of Congress, 1996), pp. 317­318.


Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

III. Fringe benefits A. A social security system separate from those of other government employees; namely, the Mexican Armed Forces Social Security Institute (Instituto de Seguro Social para las Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas, or ISSFAM). B. Access to a national network of ISSFAM hospitals, including the extremely modern and sophisticated Central Military Hospital in Mexico City. C. Low-interest loans via the National Bank of the Army, Air Force, and Navy (Banco Nacional del Ejército, Fuerza Aérea, y Armada, or Banejército). D. Subsidized housing whose rent cannot exceed 6 percent of an individual's income. E. Free education for dependents. F. Payment of moving expenses for service-related transfers. G. Access to small commissaries and various social services.



O r g a n i z a t i o n , Manpower, a n d Leadership
Changes in the army's organization, manpower, and leadership reflect the new array of challenges facing Mexico. Poverty, a large indigenous population, a forbidding terrain, ubiquitous official corruption, proximity to Guatemala, and activist officials of the Roman Catholic Church have nurtured guerrilla movements in Mexico's South. Oaxaca, Guerrero, and Chiapas consistently rank near the top of the country's most impoverished and violent states. In addition, Chiapas--along with neighboring Tabasco--boasts huge reserves of oil and natural gas. Such factors have prompted the military to establish new military zones inside Chiapas, to which the secretary of national defense has dispatched additional battalions to contain the rebel movement Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN, or Zapatista). Increased drug-trafficking has drawn more military units to northern border states and to the country's two coastlines. In fact, concern over smuggling along the relatively unpopulated West Coast accounts for the establishment of a third military zone on the Baja California peninsula. Whether combating guerrillas or narco-mafiosi, the army has emphasized greater mobility. This goal explains the acquisition of helicopters and the formation of Airborne Special Forces Groups (GAFEs), whose personnel have trained in the United States. Such improvements aside, Mexico's armed forces suffer from a top-heavy officer corps, a lack of initiative by subordinates, poor cooperation between the army and the navy, and widespread corruption.

The Organization of Mexico's Armed Forces35
I. Army A. 12 Military Regions B. 41 Zonal Garrisons,36 which include the following units:
35. Sources: Rudolph, ed., Mexico: A Country Study; and Miró and Merrill, eds., Mexico: A Country Study. 36. In July 1998, the army was in the process of creating a 41st Military Zone (MZ), encompassing western Jalisco state. In effect, the new MZ would cut in half MZ 15, headquartered in Monjonera. As of mid-year, the secretary of national defense had not announced the location of the new zones.



Mexico's Armed Forces: A Factbook

1. 1 armored division; 2. 19 motorized cavalry divisions; 3. 1 mechanized infantry division; 4. 7 artillery regiments; and 5. 3 artillery and 8 infantry brigades. C. Specialized units 1. 1 Presidential Guard Brigade (3 infantry, 1 special forces, and 1 artillery battalion);37 2. 1 motorized infantry brigade (3 motorized infantry regiments); 3. 3 infantry brigades (each with 3 infantry battalions and 1 artillery battalion); 4. One airborne brigade (3 battalions); 5. Special forces air groups (Grupos Aeromóviles de Fuerzas Especiales, or GAFEs);38 6. 1 military police brigade; 7. 1 engineering brigade; and 8. air defense, engineering, and support units. D. Rural Defense Corps 1. Under the control of the army; 2. Date to 1915, when peasants organized into rural defense units to protect themselves against the "white guards," as the private armies of large property owners were known; 3. Supported the constitutional government against zealous Catholics in the Cristero Rebellion of the mid- to late-1920s; 4. Until 1955, enlistment restricted to ejidatarios, residents of communal farms; since that time, attached to ejidos, but participation is open to all small farmers and laborers; 5. Members neit