The Chilean government released its new 2012-2024 National Defence and Security Strategy (ENSYD) this week which promises to address “new threats” to Chilean security in an international context.
The strategy, presented by President Sebastián Piñera and Defence Minister Andrés Allamand, would be implemented upon the approval of Allamand’s proposed military funding modification.
“Chilean integration into the international scene gives us a lot of opportunities, but also presents more threats,” Piñera said. “Security today goes beyond the traditional scope of defence, which is the protection of sovereignty, independence and the land and sea of our country. The emergence of new threats extends to non-traditional issues including arms trafficking; drug trafficking, organized crime, piracy and much more.”
Allamand said the new defence strategy’s international outlook stresses a need for “broad security.”
“We need to be able to protect our national interests,” he said. “But to do that nowadays, you have to look at the international context and cooperate with other countries.”
Piñera pointed to the steps Chile’s defence policy has already made on the international stage. Besides from leading international humanitarian and peacekeeping operations, such as the UN mission in Haiti, Chile has also signed upwards of 80 bilateral and multilateral defence agreements worldwide.
Looking forward, Allamand spoke of plans to increase and diversify military training in order to strengthen “military abilities without increasing military forces or military measures.”
Opposition Socialist Party Senator and President of the Senate Camilo Escalona voiced his concern over increased military activity at the strategy’s presentation.
“The Latin American experience of military forces’ involvement in security tasks has been widely negative, and at a very high social cost, especially concerning narcotics trafficking,” Escalona told the press.
Escalona also took issue with the fact that the new strategy depends on Allamand’s recent proposal to reform military spending, which has not yet been passed in the Senate.
“(This new defence strategy) assumes – possibly incorrectly – that the new (military spending) law will be passed,” Escalona said. “I would also like to clarify that I do not agree with this document.”
Allamand’s proposal would repeal Chile’s so-called “copper law” which ties Chile’s military funding proportionally to state-owned copper company Codelco’s annual sales. It would instead subject the military budget to Congressional approval, with a minimum funding limit. The proposal passed unanimously through the Chamber of Deputies in early June.
Piñera hailed the smooth progress of the bill through the Chamber, and expressed hope that it will also “pass quickly” through the Senate.
By Angus McNeice & Maria Giulia Agostini - The Santiago Times