By Iñigo Guevara, Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, September 2011

Although the fight against organized crime is clearly a law enforcement matter, the absence of effective and accountable police forces has meant that the Army, Navy, and Air Force have been used as supplementary forces to defend the civilian population and enforce the rule of law. While the federal government has striven to stand up a capable police force in order to relieve and eventually replace the military, that possibility is still distant. Five years into the Calderon administration, the armed forces continue to be the main implementers of the National Security policy, aimed at employing the use of force to disrupt the operational capacity of organized crime. Their strong institutional tradition, professionalism, submission to political control, and history of interaction with the population mainly through disaster relief efforts have made them the most trusted institution in Mexican society.

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