Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Defense Reform Takes Power from Military

The armed forces' reform has taken a key step with a new law that formally puts strategic planning and military operations under the control of the civilian government. The president and defense secretary will head a new joint chiefs of staff in control of the military. The chairman of the joint chiefs was picked by President Bachelet from a list of nominees the armed forces provided. The law is a significant achievement for Bachelet, coming in the final weeks of her administration. Another structural change for the military -- the creation of a new funding mechanism -- is still pending in the legislature. Meanwhile, president-elect Sebastian Pinera has named his defense minister: Jaime Ravinet, a member of the opposition Christian Democrats who held the same job under former president Ricardo Lagos.

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