Armed Forces of El Salvador

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Armed Forces of El Salvador
Fuerza Armada de El Salvador
Coat of arms of El Salvador.svg
Coat of arms of El Salvador
Founded 1842
Service branches Salvadoran Army Seal.svgArmy
El Salvador Air force Badge.svgAir Force
Salvadoran Navy Seal.svgNavy
Commander-in-Chief Salvador Sánchez Cerén
Military age 16 (voluntary)
18 (conscription) [1]
Conscription Yes
Available for
military service
1,634,816 males, age 16-49 [1],
1,775,474 (2008 est.) females, age 16-49 [1]
Fit for
military service
1,201,290 males, age 16-49 [1],
1,547,278 (2009 est.) females, age 16-49 [1]
Reaching military
age annually
77,473 males,
74,655 (2009 est.) females
Active personnel 17,000 (2001 est.)[2]
Budget $157,000,000 (2008 est.)[2]
Percent of GDP 0.62%[citation needed]
Foreign suppliers  United States
Related articles
History Football War
Salvadoran Civil War
War On Terror
Ranks Military ranks of El Salvador

The Armed Forces of El Salvador (Spanish: Fuerza Armada de El Salvador) are the official military of El Salvador. The military consists of three branches, the Salvadoran Army, the Air Force of El Salvador and the Navy of El Salvador.


The Armed Forces of El Salvador have existed since the dissolution of the United Provinces of Central America (in 1840).

Football War[edit]

In 1969, following El Salvador's accusation that Honduras had committed genocide, the two countries went to war. The immediate spark of the war was a soccer game, which is why the war became known as the Football War. On July 14, 1969, the El Salvador Air Force attacked several Honduran airbases. Honduras was caught by surprise, so none of their armed forces responded immediately. El Salvador's forces, which had already assembled at the Honduran border, proceeded to invade. The Honduran Army was pushed back around 8 kilometers into their country due to intense artillery fire. Ocotepeque fell, and the Salvadoran flag was raised in the city. This was the first time El Salvador had done this.[citation needed]

On July 16, Honduran fighter pilots, flying American-built F-4 Corsairs, intercepted and defeated Salvadoran air forces equipped with P-51 Mustangs, in the last piston-engine aircraft dogfight in world history[3]. Even though Honduras had won a battle against the Salvadoran Air Force, Honduras had to ask for a ceasefire because the Salvadoran ground forces were preparing to surround Tegucigalpa, the country's capital city. Thus the war ended after 4 days of intense fighting. El Salvador declared itself the winner, having penetrated into Honduras and successfully reached Tegucigalpa. The success of El Salvador was hidden under weeks of training and organizing forces. There were 4 ground theaters, air theaters, and a small navy unit in the Gulf of Fonseca. The North Theater was composed of ground forces, especially man-made forces with artillery and armored units. The Chalatenango Theater was only in case of a possible Honduran penetration into the country; this unit didn't see much battle. The East Theater was made to penetrate Honduras with armored and artillery force. This unit saw much of the fighting leading to Tegucigalpa and used the highest amount of heavy ammunition, meaning tank, rocket and howitzer ammunition.[citation needed] The air theater was promising for El Salvador at the beginning, but was crushed by the Honduran Air Force. The El Salvador Navy was in a position only to support troops in the coast and to attack any passing-by airplanes; it did not see much fighting.

Civil War[edit]

During the Salvadoran Civil War the Armed Forces of El Salvador waged war against counter-insurgents organized under the FMLN. Following the end of the war, AFES personnel were implicated in many human rights abuses, including the November 1989 murder of Jesuit priests and others. In accordance with the peace agreements, the constitution was amended to prohibit the military from playing an internal security role except under extraordinary circumstances.

The Treasury Police and National Guard were abolished, and military intelligence functions were transferred to civilian control. In 1993, the military had cut personnel from a wartime high of 63,000 to the level of 32,000 required by the peace accords. A purge of military officers accused of human rights abuses and corruption was completed in 1993 in compliance with the Ad Hoc Committee's recommendations.[citation needed]


In 1999, ESAF strength stood at less than 15,000, including uniformed and non-uniformed personnel, consisting of personnel in the army, navy, and air force.

El Salvador was part of the Multi-National Force – Iraq from 2003—2009. The last Salvadoran troops left Iraq on January 2009 with 5 soldiers lost in their 5 and a half year involvement. El Salvador became the last and longest serving Latin American nation in the Iraq War.[citation needed] Since 2011, female soldiers are in infantry units and women serve in all branches, as officers or female soldiers.

Branches of the Armed Forces[edit]


The Army of El Salvador is composed of the Headquarters, Brigades, Commands, Military Regiments and Detachments of the various arms and services, made with combat troops, combat support and combat service support necessary for the execution of missions terrestrial character. The control is exercised by the Chief of General Staff of Ejército.12

Air Force[edit]

The Air Force of El Salvador consists of the headquarters, air bases and facilities with the facilities and services required for the execution of the aerial missions. The control is exercised by the Chief of General Staff of the Air Force.

Sea power[edit]

The Navy of El Salvador is composed of the Headquarters, Fleet, Naval Bases, Harbormaster, Detachments Naval and Marine Corps units, necessary for the execution of missions naval character. The control is exercised by the Chief of the General Staff Naval.14 Force

Institutional Support Units[edit]

Support units provide the means to fulfill the missions Armed Forces in charge. Report directly to the General Staff Conjunto.15

  • Military Education and Doctrine Command

This unit is responsible for organizing, planning, directing and implementing policies, strategies, plans, projects doctrine, education and training of the Armed Forces, in accordance with the directives issued by the Joint Chiefs. It is responsible for training, improvement and specialization of military personnel and coordination of academic activities of the armed forces necessary to achieve an adequate degree of education at all levels enseñanza.

  • Logistics Support Command

This unit is responsible for providing livelihoods and combating the armed forces and is responsible for the management and administration of the resources needed to fulfill its mission. They are components of the Command Logistics Support Units and Facilities Logistics necessary for the fulfillment of its mission.

  • Military Health Command

This unit is responsible for providing Combat Service Support of the Armed Forces Health, is responsible for the management and implementation of health care programs, supply and maintenance of specific materials and the management and administration of resources made available. They are components of the Command of Military Health Units, Hospital Centers and Schools own nature, the latter under the coordination of the Doctrine and Education Command Militar.

  • Military Special Security Brigade

This unit is responsible for fulfilling the functions of protecting borders and Military Police. The latter function is performed as a subsidiary organ of the administration of military justice. They are integral elements of the Special Security Brigade Military Battalions Border Protection, the Military Police battalions and support units necessary for the fulfillment of his misión.

  • Directorate General of Recruitment and Reserves

This unit's mission is to obtain and provide the necessary human resources for the armed forces to fulfill its constitutional mission reclutamiento.


General Command of the Armed Forces[edit]

It is exercised by the President of the Republic, in his capacity as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. Among its constitutional functions include:

  • Organize and maintain the Armed Forces and militaresde confer degrees in accordance with law;
  • Having the armed forces for the maintenance of sovereignty, order, security and tranquility of the Republic, and call the service the force required in addition to the permanent, to fulfill such purposes;
  • Conduct the war and make peace, and submit immediately the treaty concluded with the latter end the ratification of the Legislature.

Other powers:

  • Provide what is necessary for the Armed Forces maintain operational efficiency and has the human and material elements essential to the role of the other functions that the Constitution assigned laws;
  • Appoint, remove, accept resignations and license to members of the Armed Forces;
  • Solve ultimately the appeals lodged against decisions of the Courts Martial in accordance with applicable law, and
  • To issue decrees, orders and decisions which are intended to organize national defense, in the manner prescribed in the Constitution.

Also, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces exercised political and military leadership of the institution, through the Minister of National Defence, and is assisted by a Presidential.

Ministry of National Defense[edit]

The Ministry of National Defense is composed of the Minister and Deputy Minister of Defense, and the Directorates Administrative and Department Headquarters with his junior staff. Advice directly to the Secretariat of State, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other entities to specify in its mission, such as Especiales.4 Staffs

Joint Staff of the Armed Forces[edit]

The staff's mission is the conduct of permanent branches and support units of the Armed Forces, and advise the rest of the High Command in all matters relating to the use and administration of the institution. The Chief of Joint Staff of the Armed Forces is the authority and operational management consulting Armada.5 Force

Some functions of the Joint Chiefs are:

  • To enforce the directives, orders and instructions to impart the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and Minister of Defense in national defense, and keep plans of operations;
  • Enforce laws and regulations that concern the armed forces in general and in particular the Joint Chiefs;
  • Rate the work of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Armed Forces and the Joint Chiefs of Staff General of the Permanent Branches and Inspector General, and,
  • Propose to the Minister of National Defence promotions, appointments, destinations, acceptances of resignations and grants licenses to members of the Armed Forces.

Advisory Body[edit]

The Advisory Body consists of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and is the advisory body of the Minister of Defense Nacional.7 The mission of the Board is to provide technical advice to the Minister of National Defense, for military policy making and the use of military power in national defense, formulating and proposing for approval the Strategic Plan of the Armed Forces, determining the final goal of the misma.

The body is composed of the Chief of Joint Staff of the Armed Forces, the Chief of General Staff of the Army, the Chief of General Staff of the Air Force, the Chief of General Staff of the Navy and the advisers as may necesarios.

Assistant Agency[edit]

The Agency consists of the Assistant Inspector General of the Armed Forces. Have supervisory and oversight functions of the institution, and depends on the Ministry of National Defense and operationally of the Chief of Staff Joint Force Armada.

Operating units, tactical units and command advisory bodies[edit]

  • Operating Units

Operating Units are those that by their organization are trained to independently develop an operation, that is, a phase or stage of a military campaign. In peacetime level have Brigades operating units, commands, regiments and units equivalent Air Force and Navy. In wartime organization, assignment and the territorial division of the operating units will be established in the plans managers and executives. The overall mission is to operating units within their respective areas or areas of responsibility, the activities necessary to implement the tasks that the Army, Air Force and Navy are Organic Law Armada.21 Force

  • Tactical Units

The Army tactical units are detachments, Training Centres and Battalions; Tactics Units are Air Force Combat Groups of Recognition and Transport, and the tactical units of the Navy Fleet Combat is, Transport and Hydrographic. The overall mission of the Tactical Units comprising the completion of the activities necessary to achieve a high level of efficiency in peacetime and to fulfill their respective missions panning step, in time of war.

  • Advisory Bodies

The Advisory Bodies Command in the Army, Air Force and Navy, are the respective General Staffs. The Advisory Bodies Command Operating Units are the respective staffs, and the Advisory Bodies Command Units Planas Tactics are the respective majors.


All the Salvadoran Armed forces branches use the pixel and woodland uniforms. The Salvadoran air force uses a blue uniform with pixels and woodland patterns. The Army, the Air Force guards and the Navy marines use the same kind of small arms equipment. Reflex, Panoramic, and telescopic views are used in the special forces and regular infantry soldiers of all military branches.


Women have begun to serve in the military. In 2011, an all female soldiers battalion was formed consisting of 62 female soldiers. There are female helicopter pilots and female aircraft pilots. The government is currently promoting gender inclusion regarding women as valuable and fundamental for national security. For example, the Salvadoran army allowed women in the Army infantry units with many accepting this opportunity.

The Salvadoran armed forces are the most respected government institutions in El Salvador having a high rate of approval among the population. Is the least corrupt of all the government institutions in El Salvador with a willingness to root out corrupt members.

The Salvadoran born again Christian evangelical community has an important history of military service in the Salvadoran armed forces.

Hierarchies and military ranks[edit]

According to the Constitution of El Salvador, the President of the Republic Military confer Degrees and order the destination, cargo, or the decline in Official misma.24 Meanwhile, the military Career Law establishes Organizations Advisory advising the High Command on the exercise of the Military Career, which are: the Selection for promotion to Brigadier General, the Court of Assessment and Selection, and the Court of Honor.25

The military career in El Salvador starts when is given the rank of lieutenant or its equivalent Salvadoran citizen who enters as Cadet at the Military Academy "General Gerardo Barrios", to the Military Aviation School "Captain PA William Reynaldo Cortez" or other training schools of the Armed Forces who creasen.26 For employees reaching military service established by the Constitution of the Republic, N. One's military career started when the element gets the troop sergeant in the hierarchy of NCOs and is enrolled in the respective ranks under the Rules of the Military Career Law.

Military grade is acquired and stored personal property and life, without being able to deprive him but by judicial sentence that involves the military dismissal, or voluntary resignation.

Ranks from highest to lowest

-Private -Corporal -Sergeant 2nd Class -Sergeant -Sergeant 1st Class -Sergeant Major -Command Sergeant Major -Lieutenant 2nd Class - Lieutenant -Captain -Major -Lieutenant Colonel -Colonel -Brigadier General -Major General

( )

Military decorations[edit]

Medals of the Armed Forces according to the Law of Military Decorations: 29


Gold Cross of War Heroism in Action

Military Units, Public Security Forces or members of these and civilians, the risk of his life and sacrifice exceptional run heroic acts of courage in war action.

Silver Cross of Heroism

Military Units, Public Security Forces or members of these and civilian disaster or public calamity beyond the call of duty.

Gold Medal for Courage in Action War

Military Units, Public Security Forces or members of these and civilians in the line of duty in war action exposed his life exceptional acting boldly.

Silver Medal of Valor

Military Units, Public Security Forces or members of these and civilians in the line of duty in cases of disaster or public, exposing his life performing with exceptional courage.

Gold Medal for Field Service

Military Units and Public Security Forces who distinguish themselves in combat.

Silver Plate Field Service

Individuals providing efficient services to the Military Units and Public Security Forces in wartime.

Gold Medal for Distinguished Service

Members of the Salvadoran armed forces that give prestige within or outside the Republic, in the fields: Trade, Educational or Military diplomatic and friendly nations, when their services have contributed to closer relations with the armed forces of their country of origin or efficiently, the cultural development of the Institution Navy.

Gold Medal for Merit

Officers of the Armed Forces and Public Security Forces, who in the line of duty in the technical, educational and academic, is performing in an outstanding manner, thereby giving prestige to the institution Armada.

Silver Medal of Merit

Individuals of troops and civilians in the service of the Armed Forces or the Public Security Forces, that of duty is an outstanding play in giving prestige to the institution.

Gold Medal Perseverance

Military to persevere in the service of the Armed Forces for a period of twenty-five or in teaching at military for a period not less than fifteen.

Silver Medal at the Perseverance

Military to persevere in the service of the Armed Forces for a period of twenty years in teaching at military for a period not less than ten.

It is up to the Legislature to grant, at the initiative of the Executive Branch in the Field of Defense, the Military Decorations following: Golden Cross of War Heroism in Action; Silver Cross of Heroism; Gold Medal for Courage in Action War; Medal Value Silver, Gold Medal for Field Service, and Silver Plate Campaña.30 Service

Meanwhile, the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Military Decorations corresponds grant the following: Gold Medal for Distinguished Service; Merit Gold Medal, Silver Medal of Merit, Gold Medal Perseverance, and Medal Silver at the Perseverance, a proposal of the Ministry of Defense and after the Court of Decorations rating.

The awards, Golden Cross of Heroism in War Action and Gold Medal for Courage in Action War, when given to members of the Armed Forces or Public Security Forces, as a reward will complement the Montepío Military or Military Pension, that when it is conferred posthumously as the decorated become incapacitated as a result of the action for which he was decorated, this latter comes when the winner is not entitled to military pension in accordance with the Law respectiva.32

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "CIA - The World Factbook -- El Salvador". Central Intelligence Agency. 
  2. ^ a b "El Salvador Military Facts & Stats". Retrieved 15 October 2017. 
  3. ^ Lerner, Preston. "The Last Piston-Engine Dogfights". Air & Space Magazine. Retrieved 2017-10-05. 

External links[edit]