Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Chile May Join Europe Peacekeeping Missions
Chile is considering adding troops to the European Union's peacekeeping forces. Minister of Defense Andres Allemand and his German counterpart, Christian Schmidt, discussed in Berlin the potential use of Chilean soldiers in multinational operations. Chile would be the first Latin American force to join the EU. Schmidt expressed interest in the experience of Chilean troops, which are serving in the United Nations' Haiti stabilization program. A brigade of about 600 troops has been working in that Caribbean nation for several years. In May, the Chilean Senate authorized to extend the commitment (its largest-ever peacekeeping deployment) for another 12 months. With little threat of war on the horizon, Chile's armed forces have been honing their peacekeeper role. A joint force has been created with Argentina. The acquisition of a multi-role ship last year gave Chile the ability to mobilize an infantry battalion, support vehicles and medical staff over great distances. Its airlift capability is still modest, but the recent acquisition of three KC-135 cargo/tanker planes from U.S. stockpiles gave the military some valuable tonnage. Chile's military these days is equipped pretty much like a NATO member, so integrating its troops with the EU would not be difficult. In another humanitarian effort, Chile has agreed to participate in a regional disaster relief force.