Military laws: consensus and realism

Once the law of the Mexican Navy is approved, it will not take long for the reform that will legally allow, in the facts that is already working, to incorporate the National Guard into the formal structure of the Secretary of National Defense, as a third branch of the itself, along with the army and the air force.

This incorporation is part of a broad reform of the military structure that was again explained by the Secretary of National Defense, General Luis Crescencio Sandoval, on the occasion of the anniversary of its creation and the presentation of the new joint staff. The reform of the Navy approved last week goes in the same direction, in its internal structure it differentiates the navy as a military body from the secretariat itself and gives it powers to participate in security tasks that by the way it has been fulfilling for years. .

The breadth with which the marine law was approved practically confirms that the reforms to the Sedena will have the same result and hopefully so and quickly. We have said it on many occasions here: that reform, that incorporation of the National Guard into the Defense, not only gives legal form to what is already a reality in the facts but will also allow to give historical continuity, no longer six-year, to an institution, with which you may or may not agree on its configuration, but which ultimately implies the only possible formula today to have a true national police force.

With good reason or her, the Federal Police was dismantled, a National Guard was created in its place and with the unanimous vote of the legislators that everyone knew was born of a strong military component and that it had no more operational support than that which it provided. the defense. This is how it was born and has developed, how it operates, and to ignore or try to ignore that it does so under a military command is to ignore reality. That is its chain of command and this is how it is budgeted.

The fact is that we need a national police and that institution will be, it already is, the National Guard. It is true that the GN alone is not enough, it will never reach a national police without local forces that support it and can carry out multiple daily security tasks, but what you have to do is also build them, and they should be based on the model. national police. It can be argued, and it is true, that there are not enough resources to create these forces. But there have been and may still be, and when resources are added to the political will of local governments, strong local police forces have been developed: Yucatán and Mérida in particular, Coahuila, Nuevo León are examples. The security areas of Mexico City are the best demonstration of how these police forces can develop, under a command with a strategic sense.

But you can’t start over from scratch. We cannot, whoever governs as of October 2024, begin to build a national police force again. That already exists, it is called the National Guard, it is under the military orbit (as in other parts of the world) and it is necessary to finish giving it the institutional channel that in fact it has already begun to travel.

And yes, the security strategy must be changed: the current one does not work, it has not had the expected results and that affects many areas of national life, from the economic to the social. But the problem is not the instruments, in this case the Guard and the military presence, but the way in which they are used, and that decision, the strategy, is made by the civil commanders, the federal government, the President of the Republic. . The change in strategy must be decided from there. The instrument must transcend the six-year term.

In this sense, the centralization of security is essential. It cannot be built from below, from the municipal and state levels, without having a federal base that is the model to follow. Felipe Calderón knew that and tried to do it and López Obrador is doing it now. The first he tried with the Federal Police, the second he is doing with the National Guard. The difference is that in this case, by placing it under the sphere of Defense, it is guaranteed that this institution will not be lost with the six-year change.

If to this series of institutional transformations in Defense and the Navy is added a readjustment of the security strategy that hits criminal groups and slows their growing empowerment, while allocating budget and will (without it, it has already been shown that the resources will never be enough and I return to the example of Mexico City or the states mentioned above) to the creation or consolidation of local police forces, we can have a very adequate context to work on the future of public security in the country.

These days we have seen that very few institutions really work. We saw it with hurricanes Nora, Grace and Olaf, with the floods in Tula and Ecatepec, with the earthquake on September 7, in Guerrero, with the Chiquihuite hill landslide. What serves, operates and helps is the DN-III plan of the Mexican army, supported on the coastlines by the Marine Plan, while other government instances get entangled in bureaucratic tangles, the distribution of blame and responsibilities. The same thing usually happens in security. Let’s face it, in this case let’s ask for what is possible.

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