President Mauricio Macri has revoked a decree put in place by former president Raúl Alfonsín that put civilian control on the armed forces in the wake of the last dictatorship.
The provision 436/1984, in place since the year after democracy was restored in 1983, allowed political authorities elected democratically to retain control over the military. Every administration since Alfonsín’s government had maintained the decree, which was replaced by Decree 721/2016, signed on Tuesday.
The new decree gives the armed forces the autonomy to decide personnel issues, removing much of the power from the Defence Ministry.
According to the decree, the head of the armed forces joint staff will now be able to designate officials in their branches, except for those that are of higher rank. The military will also be able to approve the qualifications of retired officers, allowing them to serve as teachers in military institutes and courses.
The government defended the new measure on the grounds that it is necessary to establish “agile procedures” to address questions related to the administration of human resources in the armed forces.
Human rights organisations have criticised the decision as one that returns the country to policies of the last military dictatorship.