How are the National Guard and Mexican Army different?

What sets the National Guard apart from the Mexican Army? What are their respective roles? Find out more in this article.

How are the National Guard and Mexican Army different?
To what extent is the Mexican Army distinct from the National Guard? Credit: Defensa

This Saturday morning, September 3, the Chamber of Deputies in ordinary session approved the reforms to the National Guard proposed by the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. With 264 votes in favor, 212 against, and one abstention, the initiative now goes to the Senate.

The document sent by the Executive to the Chamber of Deputies states that this new body will continue to be "attached to the Secretariat of Security and Citizen Protection (SSPC)", but also indicates that the Secretariat of National Defense will be in charge of its total performance. But what is the difference between the Sedena army and the National Guard, which came into existence in 2019?

Differences between the National Guard and the Army

According to the Mexican Government, the Army is in charge of national security, that is, to confront those agents that put the State at risk or threaten it. The maximum head of the Mexican Army is the representative of the executive, i.e., Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

Sedena's mission is to organize, administer and prepare the Mexican Army and Air Force. The objective is to defend and guarantee internal security and contribute to national development.

Functions of the Mexican Army

Defend the integrity, independence, and sovereignty of the nation;
Guarantee internal security;
Assist the civilian population in cases of public needs;
To carry out civic actions and social works that tend to the progress of the country;
In case of disaster, assist with the maintenance of order, aid to people and their property, and reconstruction of affected areas.

Functions of the National Guard

Meanwhile, the National Guard has the objective of carrying out the public security function of the Federation. In addition, it must temporarily collaborate on the public security tasks that correspond to the states or municipalities.

It is a police security corps that may use short, long, and semi-automatic weapons. In addition, the National Guard has non-lethal incapacitating weapons and all other weapons allowed by the General Law of Firearms and Explosives. The military members integrated into the National Guard may be discharged from the Armed Forces and discharged as civilians.

What will change with the National Guard Reform?

This reform has changed the administrative and operational level of the National Guard in the hands of the Sedena. AMLO's reform on the National Guard will reform these laws:

Organic Law of the Federal Public Administration.
Law of the National Guard.
Army and Armed Forces Law.
Law on Promotions of the Mexican Army and Armed Forces.
This initiative will allow the Sedena to have the power to exercise operational and administrative control of the National Guard, by the National Public Security Strategy.

In addition, when the head of the Federal Executive orders its intervention for the assistance of the permanent Armed Forces in the exercise of their missions. It also proposes that the Sedena be responsible for issuing the manuals of organization, procedures, and service to the public, preparing the operational programs and strategies of the National Guard.

The head of the Sedena will also define the territorial distribution of the National Guard and will propose adjustments to its organizational structure. The National Guard may intervene in public security at the local level in collaboration with competent authorities.