STRATEGIC FORUM: John A. Cope writes on reforming the Inter-American Defense Board.
Strategic Forum 258, August 2010
REFORMING THE INTER-AMERICAN DEFENSE BOARD
by John A. Cope, Senior Fellow, Center for Strategic Research
The Inter-American Defense Board is the oldest international aggregation of armed forces in the world. In a 2006 resolution, “Statutes of the Inter-American Defense Board,” the Board became an “entity” of the Organization under its charter. The document emphasized the principle of civilian oversight of the armed forces and made clear that in no case would the IADB have an operational role. For the first time, the statutes directed the Board to elect its own chair, vice chair, and other senior officials instead of accepting officers provided by the United States. At no time in the region’s recent history have there been so many complex challenges and opportunities associated with defense and security, or with sovereignty and stability. The Organization of American States, hampered by its own shortcomings—exacerbated by ideological and geostrategic fissures among member states—faces the daunting task of becoming a more effective and influential multilateral forum.
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