The Mexican Military Approaches the 21st Century: Coping with a New World Order

  • February 01, 1994
  • LTC Stephen J Wager

In 1993, the Strategic Studies Institute and the University of Arizona cosponsored a conference on "Mexico Looks to the 21st Century: Change and Challenge." It brought together a distinguished group of academic and government specialists to discuss Mexico's future, particularly the changes likely to be brought about by the North American Free Trade Agreement and their implications for the United States. Participants made presentations on Mexico's political future, the borderlands, the environmental problem, migration, Mexico's civil society, the labor and women's movement, and the military. The conference was funded by the U.S. Army War College's Strategic Outreach Program, under the direction of Colonel John D. Auger, and the University of Arizona. It was organized by Dr. Edward J. Williams of the University of Arizona and Dr. Donald E. Schulz of the Strategic Studies Institute. Of the papers presented at the meeting, the one that struck closest to the concerns of the U.S. Army was "The Mexican Military Approaches the 21st Century: Coping with a New World Order" by Lieutenant Colonel Stephen J. Wager of the U.S. Military Academy. His discussion of the roles and missions of the Mexican armed forces has special salience in this era of "alternative missions." Here is a classic case of a military institution whose principal missions of civic action and counternarcotics are those with which our own Army has had to deal in recent years. Colonel Wager's study provides a timely and instructive lesson on how our Mexican colleagues have wrestled with these challenges.