The Mexican Armed Forces is composed of the Mexican Army and Air Force, and the Mexican Navy which is run by a separate Navy Secretariat the other two services are under the National Defense Secretariat. Their aim is like any other government's military, protect Mexico from both internal (drug cartels, the Zapatista uprising, and preventing illegal emigration, either inbound or outbound) and external threats (including Yanquis Con Tanques). They are also supposed to aid the civilian population in natural disasters or outbreaks, just as in the 1985 earthquake, the 1996 Hurricane season, and the recent Swine Flu outbreak.
Mexico uses both conscripts and volunteer. The conscription process consists on a yearly lottery done each September, where those who are 18 years old must present themselves to see if they will get the "Bola Negra (Black ball, exempts the service)" or the "Bola Blanca (White ball, must do the service)", and in the case of those living where there's a Mexican Navy base can Take a Third Option and serve in the Navy with a "Bola Azul"; However, it is possible to join before or after that age: Those who are older than the norm (called "Remisos") are forced to do service, and must pay a fine, and those who are of 16 to a day before the 18th birthday can volunteer for service with the authorization of his parents.
The issued ID, called "Cartilla Militar" entitles its bearer that he's in the Military (or has finished it), and until recently it was one of the official identifications that prove the bearer is 18 or more years old (along with a driver's license, the birth certificate, or the voting carnet). The Mexican military is popular with the poor and middle class as it provides them with free or cheap food and housing and the means to climb the social ladder.
Aside from that, one can join any of the Military Colleges (Army, Navy, Air Force, Medical, and Engineering), provided they get past the selection process, which is Harder Than Hard (it involves psychological, theorical, medical and physical exams), compared even to those of public schools (which is already considered hard in Mexico; take in account, however, that the process is so because public colleges in Mexico provide excellent professional preparation and are really cheap too, thus, they are always in high demand), and the curriculum is the closest thing it can get to The Spartan Way due to it being obscenely hard, and because only a handful are picked for graduation, regardless of grades.
The Mexican military used to be a primary force in Mexican politics, but years after The Mexican Revolution of 1917 limited its power. It is starting to have a limited and back-door comeback in politics in the 1990s due to the Zapatista revolt and the war against the drug cartels.
Due to widespread police corruption and drug cartel military power, the Mexican Army has recently been assigned to patrol duties in dangerous areas, mainly the cities bordering the USA in anti-drug actions but some big towns like Monterrey and Guadalajara are nowadays getting accustomed to soldiers patrolling the area on a daily basis. Reactions to this are very divisive, as some people are downright thankful for having the military helping (it is important to say that unlike the police the soldiers maintain a lot of credibility) while others feel they just cause more conflicts.
The cartels are known to recruit young people from the lower classes, so recent years have seen a resurge un publicity efforts to make the military look attractive to new generations, plus a new wave of nationally produced weapons and vehicles (the latter with US assistance). Only time will tell if it's working.
From The Other Wiki:
There are three main components of the Army: a national headquarters, territorial commands, and independent units. The Department of National Defense commands the Army by means of a very centralized system and a large number of general officers. The Army uses a modified continental staff system in its headquarters. The Army is the largest branch of Mexico's armed services.
Presently, there are 12 "Military Regions", which are further broken down into 44 subordinate "Military Zones." In both cases, a numbering system is used for designation. There is no set number of zones within a region, and these can therefore be tailored to meet operational needs, with a corresponding increase or decrease in troop strength. Today the army consists of 260,000 combat-ready deployable ground troops. One notable quality of the Mexican Army is that it has no tanks except for AMX-13s, a light tank. This is mainly because their potential enemies (mostly criminal gangs) can easily be dealt with using light armor and infantry, so building and/or buying anything more armored is seen as a waste. Majority of its armor are French wheeled APCs and IF Vs, plus a short-lived German-Mexican produced IFV and the new Sandcat series wheeled AIF Vs ordered in the New Tens (both from the US and a nationally produced variant).
The Army is divided into 11 standing brigades and various independent units. The brigades, stationed in and around Mexico City (except the SF Brigades) are:
- 4 Infantry brigades
- 1 mechanized and motorized infantry brigades
- The Presidential Guards Corps
- The Airborne Brigade
- 1 armored brigade
- 5 Military police brigades
- 2 Special Forces Brigades
- the Amphibious Special Forces Brigade
The independent units reporting to the office of the Secretary of National Defense are:
- 16 mechanized infantry regiments
- 32 armored cavalry regiments
- 20 motorized cavalry regiments
- 24 field artillery regiments
- 10 field artillery battalions
- 6 Mortar artillery battalions
- 109 military garrison infantry battalions
- 17 military police battalions
- 54 independent Special Forces battalions
- 36 independent Amphibious Special Forces battalions
The Department of the Navy, the Navy's national headquarters, is located in Mexico City, and is smaller than the Army's headquarters. The "Junta (or Council) of Admirals" plays a unique consultative and advisory role within the headquarters, an indication of the institutional importance placed on seniority and "year groups" that go back to the admirals' days as cadets in the naval college. They are a very tightly knit group, and great importance is placed on consultation among the factions within these year groups. The Navy's operational forces are organized as two independent groups: the Gulf Force and the Pacific (West) Force. Each group has its own headquarters, a destroyer group, an auxiliary vessel group, a Marine Infantry division of 2 brigades each having 3-6 battalions and support units, and a Special Forces group of 4 companies, plus a fleet naval air group. The Gulf and Pacific Forces are not mirror images of each other, as independence of organization is permitted. Both are subdivided into regions, with Regions 1, 3, and 5 on the Gulf, and 2, 4, and 6 on the Pacific. Each region is further divided into sectors and zones, so a proliferation of headquarters and senior officers exists. The Navy also has an air arm with troop transport, reconnaissance, and surveillance aircraft. Recently the Navy has ceded most of its river responsibilities (formally handled by the Marines) to the Army, and has reduced the size of the Marine force, putting them back aboard ships where they play a vital role in drug interdiction and boarding of suspect vessels in territorial waters. The Navy maintains significant infrastructure, including naval dockyards that have the capability of building ships, such as the Holzinger class offshore patrol vessel. These dockyards have a significant employment and economic impact in the country. By 2016 they also have a Maritime SAR unit for maritime rescue purposes and a protection unit in major ports. The Marines have also been active in the drug conflict in recent years, helping tracking down some of Mexico's active drug rings.
Mexican Air Force
As mentioned earlier, the Air Force national headquarters is embedded in the Army headquarters in Mexico City, reporting to the Secretary of National Defense. It also follows the continental staff system, with the usual A1, A2, A3, and A4 sections. The tactical forces form what is loosely called an Air Division, but it is dispersed in four regions: Northeast, Northwest, Central, and Southern. The Air Force maintains a total of 18 air bases, and has the additional capability of opening temporary forward operating bases in austere conditions for some of the rotary wing and light fixed-wing assets. Also involved in the drug conflict through air support capablilities to joint services operations.
Mexican Military History:
- Mexico first began revolting against the Spanish in 1810, and became fully independent by 1821. However, the Mexicans had to spend the rest of the decade fighting off Spain's attempts to reconquer them. Although the Mexicans won their first war as an independent country, the Spanish still damaged their fledgling economy.
- Mexico's next conflict was the Pastry War. Mexico had defaulted on loans that they owed to France, and also looted the bakery of a French citizen. France demanded reimbursement for the loans and the pastry maker's shop, but Mexico refused. This led to the French sending their navy to bombard Mexico in an incredibly lopsided conflict until they finally agreed to just pay the 600,000 pesos that France demanded.
- The Texan Revolution, where Mexico failed to keep The Republic of Texas from breaking away. This is when the famous last stand at the Alamo took place.
- The war most are probably familiar with is the Mexican-American War, from 1846 to 1848. During the war, the Mexicans lost every single major battle. Their capital was captured by the United States Army in September. They were eventually forced to sign away half of their land to the United States, including what is now California.
- The war with the French Empire when Napoleon III (no, not that one) tried to exercise control over Mexico through puppet emperor Maximilian I in order to expand French influence in the area, and hopefully keep the United States from having a monopoly on the trade there. He sent a small force to back up the side he favored in the subsequent civil war, which at its height was six percent of the French army. The Mexican Republicans eventually defeated both Imperial French forces (they didn't expel them, as they were requested back into Europe in 1866 to prepare for war against Prussia) and the Mexican Empire supporters, and then captured and shot Maximilian.
- Unintentionally providing the Foreign Legion with a Crowning Moment of Awesome when 62 Legionnaires and 3 officers under Captain Danjoy faced off against at least 2000 Mexicans at Camarone de Tejada. When the Mexican Army passes today; it stops to salute those men who fought like Devils.
- It's been suggested that the Mexican victory at Puebla may have actually helped indirectly save the American Union by delaying the French advance through Mexico and preventing them from linking up with the Confederacy and providing it with crucial supplies in the war. While the French advance was delayed, the Union was able to turn the tables on the Confederacy. The U.S. later repaid the Mexican resistance by supplying them with arms and using diplomatic and military pressure to "encourage" the French to withdraw. The French public was also getting increasingly frustrated at the costs of the occupation and the army's inability to decisively defeat the Mexican resistance, and began demanding that French forces be recalled to deal with the growing threat of Prussia.
- Mexico and the United States fought a series of border conflicts in the 1910s, crossing over with the Banana Wars and The Mexican Revolution. During these events, Pancho Villa's forces raided an American town, looting it and killing several civilians, and the United States sent thousand of troops into Mexico after him. The United States also occupied the Mexican city of Veracruz, which was easy since most of the soldiers there fled as soon as they saw American ships approaching. The ones who stayed to defend were easily slaughtered. The United States occupied the city for several months.
- A Mexican Air Squadron (Escuadrón 201) fought with some distinction in the Pacific theater during World War II. It was originally trained to fight in Europe, but due to the fact the war was near its end in that theater, they were sent to the Pacific.
- It has also seen action in relief efforts around the world:
- Relief to the victims in the 1985 earthquake.
- A Mexican hospital ship with medical supplies and doctors was sent to Indonesia after the tsunami in 2004
- And in 2005 to Louisiana to help in the Hurricane Katrina's relief efforts.
- Currently engaged against the multiple Drug Cartels and its paramilitary wings in most of the country's territory. Some of the biggest victories of the drug war happened during either military or joint service ops against the cartels (the latter with federal and/or local police support).
The Mexican military in Fiction:
- The Alamo (1960): Feature film about how the Texians held against Mexican forces during the Siege of the Alamo.
- They appear in Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, as allies; the Ghost team is sent in to help them put down a rebellion, and at times you can fight alongside loyalist troops.
- In The Omega Code 2: Megiddo, General Garcia leads Mexican and American alongside the Chinese to fight Stone Alexander's World Union Army. They had Abrams tanks, something Mexico doesn't have in Real Life but are contemplating to buy.
- Like all of the countries in the world, Mexico can be used (and with enough skill, can be turned into a superpower) in Hearts of Iron and Victoria, provided you play it right with them.
- Act of Valor: Mexican special forces work hand-in-hand with the U.S. Navy SEA Ls in fighting against drug cartels.
- A Fistful of Dollars.
- Bad Day L.A.: The Mexican Army invades Los Angeles in the midst of all the chaos and the protagonist has to stop them. Strange is the fact that the Mexican Army operates main battle tanks which they do not in real-life and the fact that any Mexican incursion into U.S. territory will be wiped out by the Yanks with Tanks within minutes.
- ''Fear the Walking Dead: The Mexican Armed Forces are said to be deployed across the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent infected crossing from America into Mexico.
- S 02 E 04 "Blood in the Streets" shows a group of Mexican Navy patrol boats and a helicopter patrolling the waters between the San Diego-Tijuana border.
- S 02 E 04 "Sicut Cervus" has two Mexican Navy officers approaching the Abigail on a patrol boat.
- S 03 E 08 "Children of Wrath" has zombieified Mexican Navy officers in the marooned Abigail. Victor Strand takes one of the undead officer's sidearm and uses it to dispatch the undead in his yatch.
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico
- The middle section of Red Dead Redemption, which is set during The Mexican Revolution.
- Ravenous (1999)
- Resident Evil: Vendetta: BSAA operative Chris Redfield leads a joint operation with Mexican Special Forces in tracking down the Big Bad and rescuing an undercover agent in an abandoned mansion locate deep in Mexico. Notably, Capcom has Shown Their Work in what type of assault rifle the Mexican operatives use: the FX-05 Xiuhcoatl.
- One of the missions in Age of Empires III is set during the Mexican-American War. The player holds back waves of Mexican forces before a brigade of US forces led by Major Cooper curbstomp them and destroy their base.
- The second season of SEAL Team has a story arc where Bravo Team is assigned to conduct a joint operation with a Mexican Marine unit to bring in a powerful drug lord who executed an undercover DEA agent.