Country Listing

Honduras Table of Contents


Consolidation and Organizational Maturity, 1963-80

During the 1960s and 1970s, the armed forces underwent further important changes that had significant political repercussions. The military expanded rapidly in size from approximately 8,000 personnel in 1970 to 16,000 a decade later. Growth was accompanied by improved professional training and an expanded officer corps of academy graduates. With enlargement and organizational complexity came new and bigger general staffs and support units. Change and growth were accelerated by the defeat by El Salvador in the 1969 "Soccer War," a defeat that drove military leaders to improve their conventional warfare capabilities and modernize the air force (see War with El Salvador , ch. 1). Shortly after the war, for example, Honduras purchased sophisticated military hardware from Israel, including armored vehicles mounted with recoilless rifles and a dozen modified Super Mystère B2 fighter-bombers. The purchase made Honduras the first country in the region with supersonic aircraft. Furthermore, in 1970 military leaders took action to prevent the formation of a separate and independent uniformed force under civilian control. They incorporated the senior leadership of the national police, or Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) as it was called then, into the rapidly growing national defense system (see Public Security Force , this ch.).

Increased numbers of troop commands and service units led to an expanded professional officer corps, the members of which demanded a greater role in decision making. An expanding organizational complexity also challenged the military hierarchy to deal with factionalism within the officer corps, as well as interservice rivalry. Officers, for example, began to identify with and ally themselves with members of their own military academy graduating class, known as a promoción. Each promoción competed against other academy classes for privileges and promotions--a phenomenon that developed also in other Central American countries. To deal with some of these organizational problems, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Consejo Superior de las Fuerzas Armadas--Consuffaa) was created in 1975. Consuffaa became the main consultative body in all matters of concern to the military.

Data as of December 1993