Saturday, November 29, 2014
The Army is putting out its annual call for young men who want to become professional soldiers. It's a five-year commitment, with not only a paycheck but the opportunity to learn a trade, get free housing and health care and, after three years, the chance to apply to become a noncommissioned officer. With unemployment among young adults running high in Chile, the 7,000 openings are likely to fill up. But there are stringent (if not curious) requirements. Women cannot apply for the program, although they can enlist and even become officers under other programs. Applicants must be single, have no children, be 18 to 25 years old and be in good health. In addition, applicants must pass a physical, a mental evaluation, a 2,400-meter run and pass other tests.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Although Chile has little transparency in military expenditures, there are plenty of details publicly available from U.S. defense agencies that provide arms to allied nations. The database of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency is particularly enlightening. It is packed with information about every request and delivery of surplus equipment sent to Chile in the past 20 years. The database is not complete, however. For example, it shows only one KC-135 tanker aircraft delivered to Chile, when in fact three have been transferred. It doesn't show the delivery of the former USS Higgins tanker ship. It's also unclear if the costs shown are actual figures because transfers often are made at discounted prices. Here are some of the most noteworthy items from the database:
- Of 24 M109A5 self-propelled howitzers requested, half are shown as delivered.
- Chile last year requested antennas and other equipment for the APG-66 radar (used in the F-16 fighter) but no deliveries are registered.
- A total of 44 M163A2 Vulcan self-propelled anti-aircraft cannon and 66 M167A2 towed Vulcan systems were delivered in 1998.
- A KC-130R Hercules tanker plane was sought in 2012 but not delivered.
- Most transfers occurred in the 1990s, much less in the decades that followed.
Saturday, November 8, 2014