The Chilean Navy: At the Forefront of Maritime Protection

first_img DIÁLOGO: What role does the Chilean Navy have in maritime drug interdiction and how do the other branches of the Armed Forces and the security forces support it? Adm. González Robles: The Chilean Navy’s maritime authority has numerous legal foundations, all of which are part of the legal order of the Chilean state and provide the basis for the tasks it is responsible for carrying out as a maritime police force. Some of the legal supports related to maritime authority and the fight against drug trafficking have emanated from legislative initiatives of the state itself in view of the need to provide police activity in the maritime sphere with the necessary legal framework. Nevertheless, other regulations have been incorporated into the national legal framework for carrying out these police activities, given the various international commitments the country has made in its ongoing interest in contributing to the fight against this illicit activity. As a result, maritime interdiction, understood nationally as a maritime authority role, is fully supported by the legal provisions which apply to its activities in jurisdictional waters, as is the case of our territorial waters. Finally, the Chilean state, as a party to the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances and the Convention on the Law of the Sea, has signed multilateral agreements for the purpose of carrying out maritime interdiction procedures in nonterritorial waters in cases of suspected drug trafficking. DIÁLOGO: The United states and Chile have participated in numerous regional naval cooperation exercises, with PANAMAX being the largest. What benefit do these exercises have in the fight against regional threats? Adm. González Robles: In effect, the Chilean Navy, with the support of [U.S.] Southern Command, was a pioneer in carrying out exercises of this kind, selecting Panama as an area of reference due to the major impact this important inter-oceanic passage has on Chilean trade. Chilean foreign trade often travels the Panama Canal, making Chile its fourth-largest customer if we consider the cargo originating in or bound for Chile that passes through the canal. There have been many benefits, from promoting greater interoperability with the participating navies to a greater conviction that the maritime threats of this globalized world require a multinational effort. On the political level, it has been understood that new threats cannot be compartmentalized, but on the contrary require international complementary efforts, and for this reason, navies with ocean-going capabilities (blue-water navies) are required. On the strategic level of the Armed Forces, although we’ve concentrated on the role of navies, there’s a greater consciousness every day that multiagency action is also desirable and necessary due to the danger and dynamism of the threats, something that creates possible scenarios for adding flexibility to the legal provisions in effect. On the operational level there has been a gain in interoperability that encompasses both material aspects, and perhaps more importantly, procedures for attaining greater effectiveness. And finally, these exercises have enabled greater familiarity among navies, from their authorities to their resources, which in the regional sphere has a considerable value for the sake of winning mutual trust, a factor that helps to consolidate peace, the main objective of the Armed Forces. DIÁLOGO: One of the issues discussed during EXPONAVAL was maritime protection. What is theNnavy doing in this role today, and how do you see the evolution of this role (technology, regional cooperation, peacekeeping, mine removal)? Adm. Edmundo González Robles: A gradual and increasing interoperability can be perceived in the evolution of this role, with other civilian and police agencies that may have common interests with regard to threats coming from the sea, in both the national and the international sphere. This evolution in the Navy’s development has been founded on a national project based on the concepts of deterrence and cooperation, as well as also on the strategy adopted by the Navy, based on developing the capacity to contribute to the national defense, ensuring the normal course of maritime activities, among which transport is essential, and finally, international cooperation, in benefit of the country’s greater interests. Our national heritage, our marine resources, and in general, the maritime interests they generate are an ongoing concern, and it is for this reason that there are a series of projects, completed and currently under way, such as the incorporation of helicopters, patrol boats, and launches, intended to protect and ensure the normality of the activities carried out. In this reality, maritime transport stands out, given that our nation’s prosperity and economic development are founded on the freedom of globalized trade, the pillar of which is this true uninterrupted flow, which reinforces the need to protect it beyond our borders. This last aspect is absolutely consistent with our institutional strategy. In effect, due to the extension, complexity and particularities of the spaces where we should be fulfilling our mission, it’s imperative to further those trends that promote the achievement of international cooperative security in areas such as maritime vigilance, safeguarding human lives at sea and joint training, to mention a few. DIÁLOGO: What is the chief security threat facing Chile today? Adm. González Robles: Undoubtedly, the chief threats to maritime security today are actions linked to drug traffickers, which in Chile’s case still prefer to use terrestrial alternatives to reach customers. In the area of national security, relations with our neighbors are always factors of care and concern, in which regard Chile is making ongoing efforts so that they may be overcome in time. By Dialogo January 01, 2011last_img

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