LATIN AMERICA REVIEW (DELETED) - GUATEMALA: RESTRUCTURING THE MILITARY (DELETED

Created: 5/23/1983

OCR scan of the original document, errors are possible

Latin America

guatemala:

Rest rue lurinu Ih* Military!

Al Guatemala'*2 counterintuigency cam pa lea gives waynother calledhe armed force* arc reorganizing both aiand in the field. Tbe new command and control structure formalizes lomc operational praciicci thai proved effective inrovides lupport for an increued military pretence throughoutend Mieamline* Army control of civilianpersonnel, police,ivil Defeases well at all military personnel at tbelevel. Although we expect tome transitional difficulties over tbe next fewof personnel and equipment, establishment of makeshift facilities, difficulties in logisticis likely to strengthen 'be counterinsurgency program. Over the longer term, moreover, increased militsry presences urns la could give the armedopular power base that might further cnirench military rule at the expense of the democratization process.i

Ground forces battalions generally were attached to one of eight militaryontrol extended from tbe regionubordinate detachments, patrol bases, and mobilether units, such as the Mariscal Zavala and Honor Guard Brigades in the capital and toe airborne battalion at San Jose, were designated as strategic reset ion forces. bj ^

Reserve forces were organized by department; the commander of reserves for each department reported to the General Staff. In areas where there was no direct Army supervision, local militarycivilian representative* of tbe armedother Army-appoioted civilians controlled the Civil Defense Forcesnits ofh man Mobile Military Police, under the Ministry of Defense were dispersed throughout the country and attached to the military regions. Nonmilitary security forces, including tbe National and Treasury Police, were controlled by the Ministry of Government,during emergencies when tbey reverted to Army cootroL|

Inhadow operational command and control system (unowned. particularly since but July. Ia area* of heavy guerrilla activity, tbe Army General Staff created task forces snd "area* ofgeographical boundaries and operationalthat were independent of tbe military zones sndEach commander reported directly to tbe Army General Staff snd completely controlled opera-lions in his area. To man the temporary units, the Arm* rotated troops from itrategk reactioncompanies from less active military regions: snd air. naval, marine, and engineer units. In addition.

'inds or

run aaffi thai fulluud w pjjpajpj

from2 ibroughhemobilizedompanies of rcterviiu toutingoldiers. New tecruiti eventually replaced ihcse temporarily mobile ted reaerwiiu,and formed at least *ix additional companies early this year.]

Regular units alto were fortified. Reservists were attached to the more active or undermannedunits. Last Jety, for example, Poptun Brigade took on five reserve companies, and Huehuetcnango Military Zone was given eight. Zones and brigades also were assigned one or more areas of operation. During the stttecrfikae, commanders of both permanent and temporary units controlled paramilitary security forces and civicpersonnel in their areas,

The usk force system generally has been effective, at least in pan because the Army has been abte to vary iu tactics to meet the needs of different areas. In the Western Highlands, for esample, the Gumarcaj and Tigres Task Force* and Hueboetenango Military Zone personnel have cleared the ares of mostArmy of the Poor (EGP)someake refuge inregained coruMlerable popular loyalty through aggressive civic action. The Army General Staff formed an additional area of operations to handle the remaining pockets ofin the lxil Triangle In the southwest, where the Organisation of People in Arms lORPA) is still entrenched, the General Staff set op two more task force* and several operational areas that corresponded to guerrilla fronu Here tbe military is using large sweep* against ORPA't cadre, who work ia larger groups and are less discouraged by small-unit Uclie* snd heavy doses of civic action than the EGPto tbe northj

Despite these gains, heavy cortcenirsuoo of force in some areas somctioscs spread manpower and materiel

too thinly in other .

[insurgents sometimes sought to exploitproblems by working in the "gray areas" near the borders of Army area* of operation.|

The New Systran: ForaUring the Task Forcewo-tiered and somewhat haphazardand control structure, the Army'* tremendous strides in defeating the insurgency have helped to make it more amenable to t

though implementation was slated to be completed bypril, tbe Guatemalan* slipped the schedule to mid-June so as not to disrupt the momentum of tbe counterinsurgency effort. We believe, however, that not all unrts will be in place or up to itrenglh for at least six months.

high-ranking officials believe that some officers mistakenly want to return troops to tbe garrison* once tbe guerrillas are contained.

Tbe Army is being streamlined at both staff and field level*:

Tbe Ministry of Defense Staff, responsible for strategic planning of lecunty and defense, replaces the Army General Staff and separate Navy and Air Forcethief, vice chief, the Army Inspector General, and directorate beads forintelligence,ogistics, and civil JUra.

The Chief of Staff reports directly to the Minister of Defease and it responsible for command-training, education, discipline, and conduct of the Guatemalan Army.

Scetei

The Chief of Siaff alio will oversee five independent, secretariats: Ground Forces, Aeronautics, Navy. Security, and Services and Military Industry.the secretaries may be civilian appointees.

Wc believe that tbe Ministry of Defense staff will retain actual operational control of all forces, while the secretaries probably will serve as inspectors nener-

The Mobile Military Police and all paramilitary security services probably will fallhefor Security. President Rk* Monti reportedly plans to remove eventually all police functions from the Ministry of Government and toivil Guard controlled by the defense esuUisbmeot The

Army General Staff already has sssumcd control of the often unruly National Police detectiveDepartment of Technical

In the fieM, aspects of the new orgainrnUon have been evolving since mid-February. Military zones will be imalkr than tbe previous ones and often will be determined by operations! seeds ruber than solely by departments! boundaries Tbe Pctee. for example. piob*bly will have four nones that will replace the current one The rones probably will fall under the command and control of seven as of yet unannounced reasons! commands, which will report to the Ministry oi' Defense itaff Each mil nary lone reporiodly will house at teasl one battalion Ptaya Grande. Cohen. Qescbc.and Gesicanala Cuy will have two or more b* tali torn The Navy will control Zone Sia. or Izabal Department, from Puerto Barrios. In addition to aa Army battalion, ibe majorityew Marine battalion will be stationedaa

Tactical Securityan unitiry role is to protect La Aurora International Airport, will coaiiaoc lo serve that fuocnon. Tbe paratroopers at San Jose Military Base will be all-lired better by deploying them to the military rones in the soothers coastal areai. where terrainaitxlcs (ranger) unit leportedl) will be formed to serve the Western Highlandi and tbe Peten. We believe some imall groups of ksibiles currently assigned to various military enits also may be uniied eventcallvingle battalion to increase their rJTieseacy aad inspaci on courjerirtturgency. As during the ststc of siege, each commander will control security forces, CDFi. and eventually all reservists for bis rone; his power will alto mend to civilianemployers

Pteees aaej Maewsn

la our view, the reorganization will heap restore anity of command to tbe Gualemalaa Arm) and will instilulionallxe the operational realities of Ihe2 campaign:

On the zone level, r* <rc clearly delineated lines of authorm could heap eliminate police corruption, he man rights absncs. aad isusasc of the CDFs by local poiitscsans and military coo^maaioners. at well as rivalries between temporary and standing units over boundaries, petsonncl, and equipment Tbe reorganization also willore evenof theactor that should help improve iaidligcacc conccuon in the depart eoents

Onruly joint operational *iafr and secretariau should lead to bettersctivilies. We think the Secretariat Torand Military Industry will serveogistic command and thus eliminate tome of Ibe tbethat has ciistedistry of "Vensend Army General Start lepport aeits V. cover. Gwaiesnelt't fledgling defense industry will receive tee vmbiljiy and administrative support it needs to gro*M

units will continue to be strategic reaction battalions la Guatemala City, tbe two-battalion Manscal Zavala and Honor Guard Brigades and tbe

A combination of factors- smaller miliury ronet drawn up with lernin in mind, th* assignmentaricly of personnelach commander, and the diversification of strategic reaction(he Guatemalans more flexibility inIn this rejard, each commander will have the mlsofforceithai best fits his rone and its problems.

Although the Guatemalan! have denied that the reorganization require* heavylhere win be oprrat.osal oasts associated with the mo*e

Quality of training probably will decline under the Army's new plan. The Zacapa and Jutlapa training units have been eliminated, aad each tone eventually will be responsible for tbe recruitment and traiaiag of its residents Although the sosdaers probably will be assowkvsgeatuc of local terrain aad customs, settling local rivalries could consume dis-proponloaate amount! of commandcri' time and cause divtsi'eucs* amoag the troops

Tbe officer corps facesserious manpowerparticularly in the middle snd junior grades. The reorganization reus ires additional mid levello fill tiaff positions ia soaal and regional headquarters, aad juaaor csThws for platoon and companyaad staff posts Tathave drawn hcaviry upon reserve nssnpower through ibe lower field grades bat could be forced to promote some regular ofTkeri too rapid!)

he calastcd rasas probably is occurring, hat this probabfy will not deter the cMmceirnwgcacy effort Becauseose mn compsaies have been coaverted to perm*seni aims, we believe retirement* for additional troops will not exceed usighian ha its boo* Until (hose troops can be brought oa board, regular companies rrporindly will be reduced ia strength from ITTO men. sad some rones will lata, their one-battalion complementew DKClblm

(Zonal support units general! have been reduced from company to plstoon sire, and battalion supperi anils often have been eliminated

Efluipmeat. partKelarl) communications gear,and some infantry weapons such at mortars and gienade launchers, will be spread thinly. Over the next year or two, we iudgc that thegenerally will keep most artillery aad mortars where they were deployed before tbe reorganization, rather thaa try to equip all units uniformly

The reorganization will strain tbe overextended logistic network severely. Additional units will needespecially in inch remote area* a* the Pcicn. where three or four new battalion hendquar-lev* will he created. Air transport services are slrcady inadequate, aad, with the new nructurc. the Array project* that it will be able to meet only so percent of its vehicular needs. We believe that ibe Guatemalans will redouble efforts to obtain aviation spare parts and possibly additional aircraft and tract* ia cade* to rehuihj leppiy hoes

Several bat taboos wiB occupy makeshift facihuas. Although most departmentalave had atmall military presence recently, battalion' size facilines exist onlyew new zone bcadquat-

Despite its weaknesses, the reorganization i* likely to benefit coamtennsurgency activities lubttantially, whether tbe Guatemalan* continue to mop up the insurgents orew guerrilla offensive. Because theadopts tbe advantagesroven operational lystem. eliminates re source-sapping repe-titioa and rivalry,continued Army presence into heretofore isolated

t will aoladii'y the military and politicaluna of tto pan year. Guerrilla rcoocnpaiioobe harder, and tbe mibury pretence will faaiiutc tbe oik actktn program* that conM Mrengthen thepopularity fjjf

Although we arcf the Armymotrrca inegard, we be lee Ibai ibe roor can ita lion abo iti the Army tbe inf ram net ore lo enanrc that, when election) are finally he Id. iu continued rule ba* theof the majority of the public. Tbe iuuratney already bu forced tbe mibury, tbe urorurat political imtilalaoa in Guatemala, to stkno* ledge tbat long-ignored lotuocu of the comotry like tbe Wettcm Highland* are ea plot Uble polilicaJ power baac* An incrcated military prcaencc throughout Gaalemila. aad the permanent addition of all teuiriiy force* to the Ministry of Defense, wii help the Amy io urengibta hi control over lb* popetmcn waak pcr-bapa improving in image."

Original document.

Comment about this article or add new information about this topic:

CAPTCHA