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Defence

Sunday 31 December 2017

​The concepts of security and defence are tied to the State's obligation to guarantee its citizens the full exercise of their public rights and liberties as enshrined in the 1978 Spanish Constitution and in the 1945 Charter of the United Nations, all within the framework of international law.

Article 30 of the Spanish Constitution establishes the right and the obligations of the Spanish people to defend Spain. Accordingly, the public powers and society as a whole shape the underlying basis of national defence.

On a complementary basis to the Constitution, the National Defence Act 5/2005 establishes the framework of powers for our defence and defines the main guidelines on the organisation of the military. The Constitution establishes that the mission of the Armed Forces is to guarantee the sovereignty and independence of Spain, defend its territorial integrity and its constitutional order.

Besides acting as Head of State, King Felipe VI of Spain also exercises supreme command over the Armed Forces and, following parliamentary approval, has the authority to declare war and make peace.

The President of the Government is responsible for directing defence policy and determining the main strategic objectives, for managing crisis situations that affect national defence and for the strategic management of military operations in the event of the use of force. Within the government, the Minister for Defence develops and implements defence policy. In turn, the Chief of the Defence Staff is responsible for providing military advice to the President of the Government and the Minister for Defence, and helping them with the strategic management of military operations.

Finally, the Chiefs of Staff of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force exercise the command of their respective forces under the authority of the Minister for Defence.

Strategic framework of Spanish defence policy

Spanish defence policy is based on consolidating our position in the world by strengthening peaceful relations and effective cooperation with those nations with which we have neighbourly ties, historical ties or strategic interests.

The current National Defence Directive 1/2012, entitled "Necessary and responsible defence" contains the basic idea that in order to tackle potential threats that may affect both our security and that of our allies, and in order to be a trustworthy partner as a member of international organisations, Spain must have a responsible and credible defence.

The substantive framework of reference of the National Security Policy is completed by the National Security Strategy, approved by the Council of Ministers in 2013 and contained in the National Security Act 32/2015, of 28 September. This strategy stresses the creation of the National Security Council, a collegiate government body to advise the President of the Government on Security Policy.

Modernisation and innovation of the Armed Forces

The Armed Forces, which come under the umbrella of the Ministry of Defence, constitute a single body designed to act as an integrated unit made up of the Army, the Navy and the Air Force. The completion of missions by the Armed Forces and the development of their complementary and subsidiary public interest contributions requires various types of operations to be undertaken, both within national territory and overseas, which may lead to conflict prevention or dissuasive actions, peacekeeping actions, actions in crisis situations and, where necessary, actions in response to aggression.

Modernisation is essential to provide the Armed Forces with the necessary resources at an optimum level of operability and security. To achieve this, a major effort is called for along with a balance between investment and needs.

The policy in this area is aimed at ensuring satisfactory cover for the capabilities defined in the Military Capability Objectives for the performance of missions and undertakings of the Armed Forces. In this regard, the Ministry of Defence established various measures to boost and support the development of capabilities on defence issues with a dual objective: to provide the Armed Forces with the most modern and appropriate systems and to boost the industrial and technological base of national defence.

Spain in the international arena and its participation in international missions

Spain shares the view of its partners and allies insofar as that the threats and challenges it faces should be resolved from an inclusive multilateral perspective. To this end, international activity has been increased through Defence Diplomacy, designed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and participation in international bodies.

Defence Diplomacy

The National Defence Directive sets out the need to strengthen bilateral relations with actors that have interests and threats in common with Spain and that can also bring stability to our region or improve Spain's position in strategic relations.

North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)

Spain, a member of NATO since 1982, has contributed to the transformation of this organisation in its process of adapting to the new risks and threats to global security. The NATO Summit held in Lisbon in November 2010 was a milestone in this regard as a new Strategic Concept was adopted, defining a renewed NATO that is better prepared for the challenges of the 21st Century. Events in recent years had forced NATO to renew its structure to tackle the major shift in the security situation in the Euro-Atlantic arena.

European Union Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP)

Spain, as a member of the European Union (EU), is one of the nations that most actively contribute to helping Europe become an increasingly important player on the international stage through the instruments of the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP). This contribution has been performed through its presence on international missions and operations undertaken by the EU, in the development of joint research capabilities and projects, and in the development of defence weapons and technologies, as well as through their commercialisation in the European defence market.

Spanish participation in international missions

The Spanish Armed Forces will take on and exercise the command of three forces in 2017 aimed at implementing operations overseas in which national servicemen take part. Two of these forces belong to the European Union, while the third is framed under NATO.