Argentine National Gendarmerie

The Argentine National Gendarmerie (Spanish: Gendarmería Nacional Argentina, GNA) is the gendarmerie and corps of border guards of Argentina.

Argentine National Gendarmerie
Gendarmería Nacional Argentina
Emblem of the Force
Gendarmeria flag
MottoFatherland's Sentinels
Agency overview
VolunteersAll non commissioned personnel are volunteers.
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Operations jurisdictionArgentina
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
General nature
HeadquartersAve. Antártida Argentina and Gendarmería Nacional St., Buenos Aires
Elected officer responsible
Agency executives
  • Commandant General Gerardo Jose Otero, National Director of the Gendarmerie
  • Commandant General Federico Sosa, Deputy National Director
Regional Headquarters

The Argentine National Gendarmerie has a strength of 70,000.

The Gendarmerie is primarily a frontier guard force but also fulfils other important roles. The force functions from what are today five regional headquarters at Campo de Mayo, Córdoba, Rosario, San Miguel de Tucumán and Bahía Blanca.

Personnel and training

Non-commissioned personnel of the Gendarmerie are all volunteers and receive their training in the force's own comprehensive system of training institutions. Officers graduate after a three-year course at the National Gendarmerie Academy. Both officers and non-commissioned personnel have access to the specialist training establishments of the Army.


The Gendarmerie was created in 1938 by the National Congress, and replaced the regiments of the Army which previously fulfilled the Gendarmerie's missions. The Gendarmerie was particularly tasked with providing security in isolated and sparsely populated frontier regions which had only been settled relatively recently. In many senses the Gendarmerie may still be considered an adjunct of the Argentine Army.


The Gendarmerie's mission and functions are concerned with both domestic security and national defense.

According to the Argentine Constitution, the armed forces cannot intervene in internal civil conflicts, so the Gendarmerie is subordinate to the Interior Ministry. It is defined as a civilian "security force of a military nature". It maintains a functional relationship with the Ministry of Defense, as part of both the National Defense System and the Interior Security System. It therefore maintains capabilities arising from the demands required by joint military planning with the armed forces.

The Gendarmerie's main missions are:

  • Providing security for Argentina's borders
  • Providing security for places of national strategic importance (e.g. nuclear plants)

The Gendarmerie is also used for other security missions, which include:

  • Policing missions:
    • Assisting provincial police services in maintaining public security in rural areas
    • Preventing smuggling
    • Fighting drug trafficking
    • Fighting terrorism
    • Fighting crimes "against life and freedom" (children and organs trade, slavery, etc.)
    • Dealing with economic crime
    • Dealing with environmental crime
    • Dealing with illegal immigration
  • Military missions:

Under the United Nations, the Gendarmerie has served in Guatemala, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Angola, Lebanon, Rwanda and Haiti.


High Command

The high command includes:

  • The National Director: As of 2016, the National Director is Commandant-General Gerardo Jose Otero.
  • The Deputy National Director: As of 2016, the Deputy National Director is Commandant-General Federico Sosa.
  • The General and Special Staff of the National Directorate of the Gendarmerie.

Rank structure

The ranks of the Argentine Gendarmerie, in ascending order, are:

Sub-Officer Ranks

Rank Approximate English translation
Cabo Corporal
Cabo Primero Corporal First Class
Sargento Sergeant
Sargento Primero Sergeant First Class
Sargento Ayudante Sergeant-Adjutant
Suboficial Principal Principal Sub-Officer
Suboficial Mayor Sub-Officer-Major

The ranks up to and including sergeant are classified as Subaltern Sub-Officers (Suboficiales Subalternos), and the remainder are classified as Superior Sub-Officers (Suboficiales Superiores). The sub-officer ranks are the same as Argentine army ranks, and wear the same insignia, but with a much thicker gold band for a Gendarmerie Principal Sub-Officer than is used in the Army.

Officer Ranks

Rank Approximate English translation Argentine Army Equivalent
Subalférez Sub-Ensign Sub-Lieutenant
Alférez Ensign Lieutenant
Primer Alférez First Ensign First Lieutenant
Segundo Comandante Second Commandant Captain
Comandante Commandant Major
Comandante Principal Principal Commandant Lieutenant-Colonel
Comandante Mayor Commandant-Major Colonel
Comandante General Commandant-General Brigade General
(Deputy National Director = Divisional General,

and National Director = Lieutenant-General)

The ranks up to and including Segundo Comandante are classified as Subaltern Officers (Oficiales Subalternos). Gendarmerie officers wear the same insignia as the equivalent Argentine Army rank. The National Director and his Deputy wear the insignia of an Argentine Lieutenant-General and Divisional General respectively, although they still have the rank of Commandant-General. (NB: Lieutenant-General is the highest Argentine Army rank.)

Unit structure

  • A Section (Spanish: pelotón) is a squad of several men.
  • A Group (Spanish: grupo) consists of several sections and is the basic operational unit of the Gendarmerie.
  • A Squadron (Spanish: escuadrón) consists of three groups.
  • A Grouping (Spanish: agrupación) consists of several squadrons. This may be thought of as roughly corresponding to the level of command of a battalion or regiment.
  • Above the groupings are the regional commands and the staff of the National Directorate.

Operational units

Support units

  • Logistics Squadron
  • Telecommunications and Computer Service
  • Expert Investigation Service
  • Aviation Service
  • Medical Assistance Service



Beretta 929×19mm ItalyService pistol
Glock 179×19mm AustriaUsed by the Grupo Alacrán
Submachine Guns
FMK-39×19mm ArgentinaService SMG
Heckler & Koch MP59×19mm Germany
FN P90FN 5.7×28mm BelgiumUsed by the Grupo Alacrán
Assault Rifles & Battle Rifles
FN FAL7.62×51mm Belgium/ ArgentinaStandard service rifle
Steyr AUG5.56×45mm Austria
Colt M45.56×45mm United StatesUsed by the Grupo Alacrán
Sniper Rifles & Machine guns
M24 SWS7.62×51mm United StatesStandard sniper rifle
Barrett M95.50 BMG United StatesUsed by the Grupo Alacrán
FN MAG7.62×51mm Belgium/ Argentina
Ithaca 3712 gauge United StatesStandard service shotgun
Benelli M312 gauge Italy
SPAS-1512 gauge ItalyUsed by the Grupo Alacrán


Ford FocusPolice car United States/ Argentina
Ford RangerPickup truck United States/ Argentina
Volkswagen AmarokPickup truck Germany/ Argentina
Agrale MarruaPickup truck Brazil[1]
Land Rover DefenderPickup truck United Kingdom
Iveco DailyVan Italy/ Argentina
Mercedes-Benz SprinterVan Germany/ Argentina
Mercedes-Benz UnimogTruck Germany
Bandvagn 206All-terrain vehicle Sweden
STREIT Group SpartanArmoured personnel carrier CanadaUsed by the Grupo Alacrán


The service has a small inventory of aircraft, based at Campo de Mayo.[2]

See also


  2. "Visita al Servicio de Aviación de la Gendarmería Nacional". Avialatina - Noticias (in Spanish). Avialatina. 18 December 2009. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2016.
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-10. Retrieved 2017-04-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
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