On 23 September 2010, the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies was pleased to welcome back a former distinguished colleague and the current Chilean Minister of Defense, Jaime Ravinet. Mr. Ravinet engaged the audience of over one hundred with a brief but thorough description of both the changing circumstances in the Chilean security sector as well as the numerous tasks of the Ministry of Defense.
Mr. Ravinet highlighted three circumstances which have shaped the current role of the Ministry. The first circumstance was the demonstration of democratic maturity shown by the election of the first non-Concertación government since the end of the military dictatorship. The second was the tragic earthquake of 29 February 2010 which destroyed infrastructure, affected millions of people, and redefined the humanitarian role of the military. The third important circumstance was the passing of the Ley de Modernizacion del Ministerio de Defensa (Ministry of Defense Modernization Law) which is due to be implemented next year after having been initiated during his previous tenure as Minister of Defense.
In addition, Mr. Ravinet enumerated the tasks which the Ministry of Defense has been working to accomplish. These tasks include: the structural and material modernization of the military, the growth of the Ministry’s policy-making capability, the revision of the military finance system, the development of the Ministry’s capability to support foreign policy, and the update of the military justice system.