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The Andean and the amazon, comprised of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, have recently undertaken significant modernization efforts ranging from equipment, logistics, doctrine, training, deployment and the re-definition of the roles and missions of their forces. In most cases, motivations to modernize have been internal, such as continuing operations against armed groups as in the case of Colombia and Peru, enhance border control and sovereignty enforcement, as in the case of Ecuador and Brazil or regime control in Venezuela. However, they are complemented by perceptions of external threats, including traditional intra-state conventional wars. The increased tensions between Colombia and Venezuela and Ecuador as well as the historic Peru-Chile tensions are the most salient examples. Although diplomacy –especially defence diplomacy- has worked to a good degree in creating and strengthening confidence building measures, the potential for inter-state conflict is higher in this region of the Americas.

This region has seen the recent emergence of long-term modernization plans, initially in Colombia followed by Venezuela and Ecuador and probably best embodied in scope and scale by the Brazilian National Defence Plan (for its long term vision). Although it has been speculated that high allocation of funds to retirement pension systems has had an impact on delaying modernization plans, this comparative study on the allocation of pension and social funds in these particular countries concludes that there is no direct linkage between the poor funding of military modernization plans and the diversion of funds to military pension systems.


The views, opinions, and/or findings contained in this report (paper) are those of the author(s) and should not be construed as an official Department of the Army position, policy or decision unless so designated by the official documentation.

Funded by the National Defense Center for Energy and Environment (NDCEE), ID W91WAW-09-D-0022, delivery order number 0616.

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