At the working lunch of the Association of Marketing Leaders of Uruguay (ADM), the head of National Defense, Javier García, spoke about the strategic role of the Armed Forces in the prevention and repression of the threats facing the country. He also highlighted the salary increase granted to the troops as of 2023 and recalled that a naval base is being built in Fray Bentos, among other issues.
Under the title “Armed Forces, military or political issue?”, Minister García reflected as the main speaker on the role and challenges of the Armed Forces, this September 28 in Montevideo.
The activity was accompanied by the Secretary of the Presidency of the Republic, Álvaro Delgado; the Minister of Livestock, Agriculture and Fisheries, Fernando Mattos, and the Undersecretary of National Defense, Rivera Elgue, among other national authorities.
During his presentation, García stressed that Uruguay has democratic, constitutionalist and republican Armed Forces, and that they do not belong to any government or political party, but to the nation.
He affirmed that in this government the policy in National Defense is framed in a broader concept than the one that is usually considered. In this sense, he listed the new threats to human security that require military intervention: drug trafficking, terrorism, cyber attacks, protection of natural resources, control of air space and climate change. He also argued that defense policy plays a key strategic role in these issues, and that Uruguay has in its Armed Forces a key instrument in favor of independence and sovereignty.
The minister provided, during his presentation, data about military activity on borders: 177 cattle rustling crimes were repressed since March 2020 and 3,640 irregular entries into the country were detected. Daily, more than 800 troops are deployed on land, sea, and air, he assured. In this context, he added that the portfolio is in interaction with the defense ministries of Argentina and Brazil, and that with the latter it has coordinated mirror operations.
Regarding the increases for military personnel, García referred to a “hierarchization” of salaries through the 2020 budget law and the corresponding accountability for 2021, which provides for an increase of 7.8% for ranks. lower starting in 2023, plus the addition of night departures when applicable. He added that, in two and a half years, the incremental salary mass for the lowest grades will reach 1,743 million pesos.
On the other hand, he announced that new coastal patrols will soon arrive in the country, and the completion of the ocean vessel purchase process is awaited. In addition, he reported that a new radar is planned to be placed at the Santa Bernardina air base in Durazno, and work is being done on the construction of a base for the National Navy in the city of Fray Bentos.
García stressed that for this government “the Armed Forces are an eminently citizen and civil issue,” and that military action will be in any part of the territory where the political command determines it.