Wednesday, September 9, 2009
Copper-Based Military Funding Closer to End
President Michelle Bachelet sent to Congress a bill that eliminates the use of government copper sales for military purchases. Instead, weapons systems will be funded out of the general government budget under a broad 12-year plan. The plan would break down into four-year segments in which military leaders would outline strategic needs, Defense Minister Francisco Vidal said in a briefing. The proposal does not include a spending floor, or adjustments for inflation. Specific sums would be authorized each year. Acquisitions would become more transparent, although specific capabilities would be kept secret. The military commanders are said to be in agreement. The so-called copper law has provided Chile's military with billions of dollars over the past several years, thanks to a surge in copper prices. It obligated state-owned Codelco to give 10% of sales to the armed forces for procurement.