Nov. 20, 2017
15. Transforming Defense in Guatemala
In April of 2012, in response to an earlier request by Guatemala’s Minister of Defense, then U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Western Hemisphere Affairs Frank Mora offered the Guatemalan Ministry of Defense (MOD) support in developing a national defense policy and broadly improving the Ministry’s budgeting processes. Within four years the MOD had published a National Defense Policy (NDP), produced program budgets, altered the military force structure, and introduced greater transparency and accountability in its financial management systems. These results were made possible by the establishment of a governance system that afforded the Minister a management platform, which allowed him to make strategic decisions about defense contributions, including weapons programs, required military capabilities, future force design, and budgets. The transformation of the MOD from an organization still shaped by the legacy of past civil wars into an institution operating on the principles of good governance—efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, and based on the rule of law and respect for human rights—is an exemplar of successful defense institution building (DIB).