Country Listing

Mexico Table of Contents


National Security

Armed Forces: Total strength in 1996 about 175,000 active-duty personnel. Army, 130,000; air force, 8,000; and navy (including naval aviation and marines), 37,000. Approximately 60,000 conscripts, selected by lottery. Reserve force of 300,000. Women serving in armed forces have same legal rights and duties as men but in practice not eligible to serve in combat positions, be admitted to service academies, or be promoted beyond rank equivalent of major general in United States armed forces.

Military Units: Two government ministries responsible for national defense: Secretariat of National Defense and Secretariat of the Navy. Country divided into nine military regions with thirty-six military zones. Each military zone usually assigned at least two infantry battalions composed of some 300 troops each; some zones also assigned cavalry regiments (now motorized) or one of three artillery battalions. Personnel assigned to air force also within command structure of Secretariat of National Defense, distributed among air base installations throughout country. Principal air base, Military Air Base Number 1, located at Santa Lucía in state of México. Personnel under command of Secretariat of the Navy assigned to one of seventeen naval installations located in each coastal state.

Equipment: Under modernization program begun in 1970s, armed forces began to replace aging World War II-vintage equipment. Attention also given to development of domestic military industry. Mexican navy benefited significantly in terms of new vessels--most domestically built. Plans for additional acquisitions from abroad constrained by country's economic problems.

Police: Various federal, state, and local police provide internal security. Senior law enforcement organization is Federal Judicial Police, controlled by attorney general, with nationwide jurisdiction. More than 3,000 members in 1996. Each state and the Federal District has its own force, as do most municipalities. Low pay and corruption remain serious problems at all levels. Protection and Transit Directorate--known as "Traffic Police"--major Mexico City police force; in 1996 employed some 29,000 personnel.

Data as of June 1996