Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

Military of Chile

Chile's armed forces are subject to civilian control exercised by the president through the Minister of Defense. Under the 1980 constitution, the services enjoy considerable autonomy, and the president cannot remove service commanders on his own authority.

Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Air, Coast Guard, and Marines), Air Force, Carabineros of Chile (National Police), Investigations Police
note: normally administered by Ministry of Interior; in times of national emergency, Carabineros and Investigations Police are considered part of the military

Army. The Commander-in-Chief is Lt. Gen. Juan Emilio Cheyre. The 50,000-person army is organized into seven divisions and an air brigade.

Navy. Adm. Patricio Vergara directs the 25,000-person navy, including 5,200 marines. Of the fleet of 29 surface vessels, only six are major combatant ships and they are based in Valparaíso. The navy operates its own aircraft for transport and patrol; there are no fighter or bomber aircraft. The Navy also operates three submarines based in Talcahuano.

Air Force. Gen. Patricio Rios heads a force of 12,500. Air assets are distributed among five air brigades headquartered in Iquique, Antofagasta, Santiago, Puerto Montt, and Punta Arenas. The Air Force also operates an airbase on King George Island, Antarctica.

The Chilean police are comprised of a national, uniformed force (Carabineros) and a smaller, plainclothes investigations force. After the military coup in September 1973, the Chilean national police were incorporated into the Defense Ministry. With the return of democratic government, the police were placed under the operational control of the Interior Ministry but remain under the nominal control of the Defense Ministry. Gen. Alberto Cienfuegos, who directs the national police force of 30,000, is responsible for law enforcement, traffic management, narcotics suppression, border control, and counter-terrorism throughout Chile.

Military manpower - military age: 19 years of age

Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 4,012,900 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 2,973,246 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 136,912 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $2.5 billion (FY99)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: 3.1% (FY99) To put this number in perspective, this includes the expenditures of Carabineros and Investigaciones, the only police forces in the country