Argentine National Gendarmerie
The Argentine National Gendarmerie (Gendarmería Nacional Argentina; GNA) is the gendarmerie
A gendarmerie or gendarmery is a military force charged with police duties among civilian populations. Members of such a force are typically called "gendarmes". The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary describes a gendarme as "a soldier who is employed on police duties" and a "gendarmery, -erie" as...

 and corps of border guards of Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...


The Argentine National Gendarmerie has a strength of 12,000.

The Gendarmerie is primarily a frontier guard force but also fulfils other important roles. The force functions from four regional headquarters at Campo de Mayo
Campo de Mayo
Campo de Mayo is a military base located in Greater Buenos Aires, Argentina, northwest of Buenos Aires.Campo de Mayo covers an area of and is one of the most important military bases in Argentina, including Argentine Army's:...

, Córdoba
Córdoba, Argentina
Córdoba is a city located near the geographical center of Argentina, in the foothills of the Sierras Chicas on the Suquía River, about northwest of Buenos Aires. It is the capital of Córdoba Province. Córdoba is the second-largest city in Argentina after the federal capital Buenos Aires, with...

, Rosario
Rosario is the largest city in the province of Santa Fe, Argentina. It is located northwest of Buenos Aires, on the western shore of the Paraná River and has 1,159,004 residents as of the ....

 and Bahía Blanca
Bahía Blanca
Bahía Blanca is a city located in the south-west of the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina, by the Atlantic Ocean, and seat of government of Bahía Blanca Partido. It has a population of 274,509 inhabitants according to the...


Personnel and training

Non-commissioned personnel of the Gendarmerie are all volunteers and receive their training in the force's own comprehensive system of training institutions. Officers graduate after a three-year course at the National Gendarmerie Academy. Both officers and non-commissioned personnel have access to the specialist training establishments of the Army
Argentine Army
The Argentine Army is the land armed force branch of the Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic and the senior military service of the country.- History :...



The Gendarmerie was created in 1938 by the National Congress
Argentine National Congress
The Congress of the Argentine Nation is the legislative branch of the government of Argentina. Its composition is bicameral, constituted by a 72-seat Senate and a 257-seat Chamber of Deputies....

, and replaced the regiments of the Army which previously fulfilled the Gendarmerie's missions. The Gendarmerie was particularly tasked with providing security in isolated and sparsely populated frontier regions which had only been settled relatively recently. In many senses the Gendarmerie may still be considered an adjunct of the Argentine Army.


The Gendarmerie's mission and functions are concerned with both domestic security and national defense.

According to the Argentine Constitution
Constitution of Argentina
The constitution of Argentina is one of the primary sources of existing law in Argentina. Its first version was written in 1853 by a Constitutional Assembly gathered in Santa Fe, and the doctrinal basis was taken in part from the United States Constitution...

, the armed forces
Military of Argentina
The Armed Forces of the Argentine Republic, in Spanish Fuerzas Armadas de la República Argentina, are controlled by the Commander-in-Chief and a civilian Minister of Defense...

 cannot intervene in internal civil conflicts, so the Gendarmerie is subordinate to the Interior Ministry. It is defined as a civilian "security force of a military nature". It maintains a functional relationship with the Ministry of Defense, as part of both the National Defense System and the Interior Security System
Sistema de Seguridad Interior
Sistema de Seguridad Interior is the official denomination of the Argentine public security community.The Interior Security System consists of the following individuals, agencies and its dependencies:...

. It therefore maintains capabilities arising from the demands required by joint military planning with the armed forces.

The Gendarmerie's main missions are:
  • Providing security for Argentina's borders
  • Providing security for places of national strategic importance (e.g. nuclear plants)

The Gendarmerie is also used for other security missions, which include:
  • Policing missions:
    • Assisting provincial
      Provinces of Argentina
      Argentina is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city...

       police services in maintaining public security in rural areas
    • Preventing smuggling
      Smuggling is the clandestine transportation of goods or persons, such as out of a building, into a prison, or across an international border, in violation of applicable laws or other regulations.There are various motivations to smuggle...

    • Fighting drug trafficking
      Illegal drug trade
      The illegal drug trade is a global black market, dedicated to cultivation, manufacture, distribution and sale of those substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws. Most jurisdictions prohibit trade, except under license, of many types of drugs by drug prohibition laws.A UN report said the...

    • Fighting terrorism
    • Fighting crimes "against life and freedom" (children and organs trade, slavery, etc)
    • Dealing with economic crime
    • Dealing with environmental crime
    • Dealing with illegal immigration

  • Military missions:
    • War-fighting missions (e.g. in the Falklands War
      Falklands War
      The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

    • Peacekeeping
      Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

       or humanitarian aid
      Humanitarian aid
      Humanitarian aid is material or logistical assistance provided for humanitarian purposes, typically in response to humanitarian crises including natural disaster and man-made disaster. The primary objective of humanitarian aid is to save lives, alleviate suffering, and maintain human dignity...

       missions under the United Nations
      United Nations
      The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

    • Providing security for Argentine embassies and consulates in several foreign nations

Under the United Nations, the Gendarmerie has served in Guatemala
Guatemala is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, Belize to the northeast, the Caribbean to the east, and Honduras and El Salvador to the southeast...

, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina , sometimes called Bosnia-Herzegovina or simply Bosnia, is a country in Southern Europe, on the Balkan Peninsula. Bordered by Croatia to the north, west and south, Serbia to the east, and Montenegro to the southeast, Bosnia and Herzegovina is almost landlocked, except for the...

, Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, Angola
Angola, officially the Republic of Angola , is a country in south-central Africa bordered by Namibia on the south, the Democratic Republic of the Congo on the north, and Zambia on the east; its west coast is on the Atlantic Ocean with Luanda as its capital city...

, Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

, Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

 and Haiti
Haiti , officially the Republic of Haiti , is a Caribbean country. It occupies the western, smaller portion of the island of Hispaniola, in the Greater Antillean archipelago, which it shares with the Dominican Republic. Ayiti was the indigenous Taíno or Amerindian name for the island...


High Command

The high command includes:
  • The National Director: The current National Director is Commandant-General
    Commandant-General is a rank in several counties and is generally equivalent to that of Commandant.-Italy:Comandante generale , in Fascist Italy's MVSN, was the title of the head of the Blackshirts, held by Benito Mussolini from 1922 to 1943.Nowadays, is the title held by the commander of the...

     Hector Bernabé Schenone (since September 2005).
    • The Deputy National Director: The current Deputy National Director is Commandant-General Juan Obdulio Sainz (since November 2005).
  • The General and Special Staff of the National Directorate of the Gendarmerie.

Rank structure

The ranks of the Argentine Gendarmerie, in ascending order, are:

Sub-Officer Ranks
Rank Approximate English translation
Cabo Corporal
Corporal is a rank in use in some form by most militaries and by some police forces or other uniformed organizations. It is usually equivalent to NATO Rank Code OR-4....

Cabo Primero Corporal First Class
Sargento Sergeant
Sergeant is a rank used in some form by most militaries, police forces, and other uniformed organizations around the world. Its origins are the Latin serviens, "one who serves", through the French term Sergent....

Sargento Primero Sergeant First Class
Sargento Ayudante Sergeant-Adjutant
Adjutant is a military rank or appointment. In some armies, including most English-speaking ones, it is an officer who assists a more senior officer, while in other armies, especially Francophone ones, it is an NCO , normally corresponding roughly to a Staff Sergeant or Warrant Officer.An Adjutant...

Suboficial Principal Principal Sub-Officer
Suboficial Mayor Sub-Officer-Major

The ranks up to and including sergeant are classified as Subaltern Sub-Officers (Suboficiales Subalternos), and the remainder are classified as Superior Sub-Officers (Suboficiales Superiores). The sub-officer ranks are the same as Argentine army ranks, and wear the same insignia, but with a much thicker gold band for a Gendarmerie Principal Sub-Officer than is used in the Army.

Officer Ranks
Rank Approximate English translation Argentine Army Equivalent
Subalférez Sub-Ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

Alférez Ensign
Ensign (rank)
Ensign is a junior rank of a commissioned officer in the armed forces of some countries, normally in the infantry or navy. As the junior officer in an infantry regiment was traditionally the carrier of the ensign flag, the rank itself acquired the name....

Primer Alférez First Ensign First Lieutenant
Segundo Comandante Second Commandant Captain
Comandante Commandant
Commandant is a senior title often given to the officer in charge of a large training establishment or academy. This usage is common in anglophone nations...

Comandante Principal Principal Commandant Lieutenant-Colonel
Comandante Mayor Commandant-Major Colonel
Comandante General Commandant-General
Commandant-General is a rank in several counties and is generally equivalent to that of Commandant.-Italy:Comandante generale , in Fascist Italy's MVSN, was the title of the head of the Blackshirts, held by Benito Mussolini from 1922 to 1943.Nowadays, is the title held by the commander of the...

Brigade General
Brigade General
Brigade General is a rank used in many armies to denote the lowest rank of general, corresponding to command of a brigade. The rank is mostly used in countries where it is used as a modern alternative to a previous older rank of Brigadier or Brigadier General...

(Deputy National Director = Divisional General
Divisional General
Divisional General is a rank used in many armies to denote a rank of general, corresponding to command of a division. For convenience Divisional General is almost always translated into English as Major-General, the equivalent rank used by the UK, USA, etc., although this translation is, strictly...

and National Director = Lieutenant-General)

The ranks up to and including Segundo Comandante are classified as Subaltern Officers (Oficiales Subalternos). Gendarmerie officers wear the same insignia as the equivalent Argentine Army rank. The National Director and his Deputy wear the insignia of an Argentine Lieutenant-General and Divisional General respectively, although they still have the rank of Commandant-General. (NB: Lieutenant-General is the highest Argentine Army rank.)

Unit structure

  • A Section (Spanish: peloton) is a squad
    In military terminology, a squad is a small military unit led by a non-commissioned officer that is subordinate to an infantry platoon. In countries following the British Army tradition this organization is referred to as a section...

     of several men.
  • A Group (Spanish: grupo) consists of several sections and is the basic operational unit of the Gendarmerie.
  • A Squadron (Spanish: escuadron) consists of three groups.
  • A Grouping (Spanish: agrupación) consists of several squadrons. This may be thought of as roughly corresponding to the level of command of a battalion
    A battalion is a military unit of around 300–1,200 soldiers usually consisting of between two and seven companies and typically commanded by either a Lieutenant Colonel or a Colonel...

     or regiment
    A regiment is a major tactical military unit, composed of variable numbers of batteries, squadrons or battalions, commanded by a colonel or lieutenant colonel...

  • Above the groupings are the regional commands and the staff of the National Directorate.

Operational units

  • Regional Headquarters
  • Mobile Units
  • Special Forces
    Special forces
    Special forces, or special operations forces are terms used to describe elite military tactical teams trained to perform high-risk dangerous missions that conventional units cannot perform...

     Units: Scorpion Group
    Grupo Alacrán
    The Grupo Alacrán is a special operations service of the Argentine National Gendarmerie, often referred as the Equipo Antiterrorista de Gendarmería . The division is headquartered in Evita City and responds to high-risk and counterterrorist situations throughout Argentina, but primarily in the...

  • Intelligence Squadron
  • Highway Security Section
    Highway patrol
    A highway patrol is either a police unit created primarily for the purpose of overseeing and enforcing traffic safety compliance on roads and highways, or a detail within an existing local or regional police agency that is primarily concerned with such duties.Duties of highway patrols or traffic...

  • Environment Protection Service
  • Mountain Rescue Groups
  • Scrubland Special Section

Support units

  • Logistics Squadron
  • Telecommunications and Computer Service
  • Expert Investigation Service
  • Aviation Service
  • Medical Assistance Service

See also

  • Foreign relations of Argentina
    Foreign relations of Argentina
    This article deals with the diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and international relations of Argentina.At the political level, these matters are officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Relations, also known as the Cancillería, which answers to the President...

  • Argentine Naval Prefecture
  • Argentine Federal Police
    Policía Federal Argentina
    The Policía Federal Argentina is a police force of the Argentine federal government. The PFA has detachments throughout the country, but its main responsibility is policing the Federal District of Buenos Aires...

External links

Official website
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