Small Wars Journal

Developing Military Forces to Counter Hybrid Threats: Mexico’s Marines

Sun, 03/12/2017 - 12:54pm

Developing Military Forces to Counter Hybrid Threats: Mexico’s Marines

Stephen Webber


Current national security discourse, both in the United States and around the world is driven by a need to balance conventional military capabilities with those with those often characterized as "irregular."[1]  A focus on international terrorism following the September 11th, 2001 attacks, counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan, the rise of military and economic peer competitors, and the continual blurring of those once well-defined lines between states and non-state actors have lead to a vigorous debate regarding the proper role of military institutions and how governments can best posture their forces for success.  Many military and political leaders have pointed to the need to develop capacity in partner nations in order to better counter the threat of non-state actors while promoting regional and global stability.[2]  Nations most at risk from non-state threats such as organized crime, insurgency, and terrorism often face across the board governance challenges rooted in social, political, and economic issues.[3]  How does a nation facing a serious internal threat develop the security institutions needed to protect its populace and what does a modern military force postured to defeat hybrid threats look like?  To answer these questions the United States should begin close to home, looking across the border to our southern neighbor.


The 2014 apprehensions of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzmán, head of the Sinaloan drug cartel, and Hector Beltrán-Leyva, leader of the Beltrán -Leyva gang serve as examples of military raids conducted against non-state, high-value targets.  The two were captured months apart in similar fashion-with speed, precision, and violence of action.[4]  The complexity and efficiency of the two operations (El Chapo was captured at home and Beltrán-Leyva at a restaurant) are hallmarks of Mexico's elite military force: Los Batallones Infantería de Marina.  The Mexican Marines have become known for their ability to carry out such "high impact" raids, and have demonstrated their broad organizational skill set throughout Mexico and the world by providing fast reaction, public security, maritime interdiction, and disaster relief capabilities to the Mexican military.  Regional and global partners have taken note of the organization, training their own security forces alongside them in elite schools and large-scale combined exercises.  Certain foreign military and law enforcement teams have become accustomed to working closely with the Marines in confronting mutual threats, in 2014 the American press disclosed (to the chagrin of both nations) that a United States Marshall was injured after coming under fire alongside Marines in the field.[5]  Various media outlets report that Mexican naval forces, particularly, the Marines, are a favorite partner of the United States government when it comes to addressing transnational crime and hemispheric security.[6]  Within Mexico, La Secretaria de Marina- Armada de Mexico (SEMAR, or Navy Department) is held in high esteem.  Public opinion consistently holds that even among the well-respected military, the Navy stands out as a trustworthy institution.  The Marines, as the Navy's lethal infantry arm, occupy a special place of honor in the country.[7]

Raids like those executed against "El Chapo" and Beltrá -Leyva demonstrate one particular military skill set, and the two captured crime bosses represent only part of a complex security problem.  The Marines themselves are just one component of the Mexican Navy, which along with the Army (La Secretaria de Defensa Nacional-SEDENA, or Defense Department) makes up the nation's military apparatus.  Considered on their own, the Marines may at first appear unremarkable among the world's many armed services.  Many nations train and equip troops for amphibious warfare, and urban raids are certainly not unheard of on the world stage.  As Mexico is not unique in its employment of naval infantry, it is easy for the casual observer to view them as a typical infantry unit, or even to dismiss them as heavy-handed government enforcers.  Despite the fact that many scholars, journalists, and policymakers make passing reference to their prowess and professionalism, they have received very little research attention.  The true significance of Mexico's Marines becomes apparent when they are examined in the broader context of the Mexican Navy, Mexican military, Mexican society, and the global security environment.

The Mexican Marines

The Mexican Marines are significant in that they are a force shaped by hybrid threats.  Their unique capabilities and culture is the product of a dynamic environment and have been developed because of, rather than in spite of, degraded institutions and weak state capacity.  Mexican naval forces have become leaders in multidimensional security, which is to say they have been employed creatively and effectively in response to a myriad of threats that extend far beyond kinetic action.[8]  The Marines have been successful in their mission because of SEMAR’s ability to institutionalize the lessons of hybrid warfare. The "Batallones Infantería de Marina" are highly relevant as they are the product of a world where military forces are required by disintegrating nation states to serve diverse functions in fluid environments.

The Marines' unique nature can be seen in their experience as a disaster response force, their function as a provider of public security, their role in counterinsurgency operations, and their development as an institution characterized by its organizational resistance to degradation.  The Marines have adapted and performed at a high level as a small part of a much larger military, government, and society.  As the evolution of these institutions was and continues to be driven by their history and constant interplay, it is impossible to separate the experience of the Marines from Mexico’s collective military experience.[9]

As naval infantry, Marines are, by their nature, well suited to providing disaster response capabilities on the high seas, littorals, and shores of Mexico.  Disaster response has always been considered by the Mexican state and society to be an important role of the armed forces.[10]  The Navy has historically taken the lead in providing protection and support to the populace through search and rescue and disaster relief.[11]  The naval service has enshrined this duty in its doctrine, stating that it is the Navy's responsibility "Through its own organic law, to support the population in cases of disaster or emergency, to apply the general plan of support to the population."[12]   Among its written planning documents submitted to the federal government, the objective of supporting "the civilian population in cases of disaster or emergency" is listed as a primary objective.[13]  The Mexican Navy began to train and plan as a modern disaster response force during the middle and later decades of the 20th century.  The first formal plans for "support to the population" were developed in the 1950's and put into practice when the hurricane of 1959 struck the ports of Manzillo and Tampico.   Over time, naval forces adapted to the challenge of humanitarian missions and providing support to civilian populations and organizations.  In Mexico City, integrated teams of naval personnel, health workers, communications specialists, and civic organizations were trained for search and rescue duties in the capital's urban environment.[14]  More innovative practices took shape over time, and gave rise to a force that was modern in its approach to civil support.

More Than Threat-Based Operations

Today's Navy maintains advanced disaster response and civil support capabilities, employing them in accordance with military doctrine.  Most importantly, the military has developed a framework by which it can be employed to provide emergency support to civil authorities.  The "Sistema de Protection Civil" (SINAPROC) provides guidance to military forces on how they can provide needed capabilities within the nation's borders without usurping authority from the government or coming into conflict with civilian organizations.[15]  The Navy's own disaster response plan falls in line with national policy, urging the fleet to "coordinate with authorities at all levels" during the execution of an emergency response.[16]  This method is indicative of a sophisticated approach to national security.  An ad hoc military-led response would undoubtedly waste resources, duplicate efforts, and cause confusion among the population and various authorities engaged in an emergency response.   Mexican naval doctrine began to reflect an understanding of the complexity of modern government and the multidimensional challenges of homeland defense as early as the mid-20th century.  This didn't just enable the fleet to operate more effectively, but it helped to develop a "rule of law" culture within SEMAR. Paradoxically, it also reinforced the Mexican tradition of using the military to address internal matters.

The Navy's "Plan Marina" states that: "The role of this institution is to support the population, it is to act under its own plan in coordination with the integrated public safety authorities, which in no case will be considered subordinate."[17]  Forces are trained to work with federal, state, and local government in a way that encourages collaboration and coordination.  The Navy's guidance is clear: actions within Mexico are to be taken under the authority of the President and civil authority is to be respected.[18]  As the Mexican state has long struggled to maintain rule of law against impunity and corruption at all levels of government and in all sectors of society, it is significant that the Mexican Navy emphasizes civil authority in its official guidance, training and regularly executing missions under this framework.  This approach is analogous to that employed by the United States.  The North American model denoted Defense Support of Civil Authority (DSCA) provides an operational and legal framework for leveraging military capabilities within the homeland.[19]   The political interconnectedness and regular military cooperation between United States Northern Command and the Mexican military suggests that the U.S. model has impacted and guided Mexican military doctrine on the employment of military capabilities in the homeland.  This is only part of the story: disaster response has long been a core competency of the Mexican military.  SEMAR has been called upon to protect the Mexican populace and provide support to civil authorities throughout its entire history.  Mexico developed its own approaches to disaster response throughout the 20th century, and implemented SINAPROC in 1985, long before the sophisticated U.S. approach explained in Joint Publication 3-28 which is itself a product of constant challenge, failure, and adaptation throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.[20]

SEMAR's role in disaster response and support to civil authority has shaped Mexican naval forces in a way that naturally enables their participation in public security and domestic law enforcement functions.  As the Navy has been Mexico's leading civil support apparatus, the use of Marines to support police in the maintenance of order or to provide security to individuals is not a far leap culturally or strategically.  While the need to rely on the military for public safety may signal the gravity of the threat and the weakness of civilian institutions, it is also a logical and appropriate response given Mexico's acquired norms regarding the domestic employment of the military.

The 2007 decision by the Calderón Administration to use the military in a law enforcement role had a major impact on the Marines in terms of their primary mission and force structure.  Since the decision, the Marines have been responsible for maintaining order and supporting public safety in some of the regions most heavily affected by organized crime.  The move was, in many ways, an expansion of the Marines’ traditional mission set of internal security and homeland defense.

The Big Picture

The security initiatives of the Calderón administration poured resources into the Navy, strengthening the force across the board.  The Marines had been recognized as capable of projecting state power into Mexico's rural and urban areas, and became the cornerstone of Calderón’s strategy to confront organized crime and establish rule of law.[21]  The Marine Battalions would be most affected by naval reforms that sought to refocus their mission set, restructure their organization, and increase their size.[22]

The Navy embraced its domestic role, making the 2007 reform goals major tenets of their strategic planning over the coming years.  In 2012's "Programa Sectorial de Marina”, the Navy listed the "political-strategic restructuring of the naval commands" as a major goal.  Navy documents explained that the force would play a greater role in public life, maintain a presence on the nation's shores, and "institutionalize the coordination and operational support to maritime authorities, ports, and national security institutions."[23]  The document highlights the Marines' leading role in these functions.  Under the heading "Reorganize the Marine Infantry Units to augment the Naval Presence in the Maritime Police" SEMAR lists the "creation of new battalions" and the "development of naval operations" as the main measures of the expansion effort.[24]

The Marines providing public security within the naval sectors are operating under clear guidance from SEMAR regarding their objectives and lines of operations.  They have been directed to" support the local authorities when required" to work toward the objectives of "rule of law and security, economic competitiveness and job creation, and a sustainable environment."[25]  These goals represent the operationalization of multidimensional security, both the need for military force and the necessity of addressing the underlying causes of instability have been considered in SEMAR's planning process and the marching orders issued to the Marine Battalions.  The individual goals of the Navy's counter-crime stability operations contribute to the Mexican state's major policy goal of providing rule of law.  It is under this broad term that the Marines are given their specific targets: "organized crime, common crime, drug trafficking, arms trafficking, penetration of government institutions, penetration of society, and public security."[26]

Reorganizing, expanding, and empowering a military organization will have short and long term effects on its organizational capabilities and culture.  Tasking the Marine Battalions with the lofty goal of providing "rule of law" had an immediate impact on the organization's understanding of Mexico's security challenges, leading to changes in how the force would be trained and employed.   The Navy's core mission remained the same: "To employ the naval power of the Federation for exterior defense and to assist in the internal security of the county."[27]    This is the same core mission under which SEMAR provides emergency response and support to civil authorities, in this way the law enforcement mission was familiar and well suited to the character of the service.  The operational and tactical objectives of the reforms, however, would force the Marines to adapt.

The use of land-based units for law enforcement support adds a new dimension to the Mexican military's traditional emphasis on homeland defense and support to civil authorities.  The Marines have had to develop military skills for application in a domestic law enforcement context.  "Security operations" have taken center stage at the Marine Infantry's advanced training school, where courses are currently offered in anti-drug operations, support to security forces, and neutralizing explosives.[28]  In adapting training to better meet the current strategic threat and operational requirements, the tactics of the Mexican Marines have been modified along with the skill sets of their troops.  These changes reflect the realities of modern conflict, where the lines between disciplines have become blurred by hybrid threats.  What may have once appeared as a law enforcement issue has presented a challenge to the state worthy of a military response.   In Mexico, police forces find themselves confronting problems that require a level of force usually associated with military action, while military units find themselves policing communities and carrying out general law enforcement duties.  An effective response to such a situation entails developing a dynamic and well-rounded force, which is how SEMAR has responded with its realignment of the Marine Battalions and the modification of its training curriculum.

The shifting mission sets of the armed forces created a great deal of controversy regarding the legality and efficacy of employing the military in public security functions.  Critics argue against the practice, claiming that the effort is against Mexican law, that it degrades civil institutions, and that it is counterproductive for the military.  These arguments have shaped the context within which the Marines operate as they support civil authorities.  Such a debate is indicative of an organization in transition, reflecting the murky nature of today's security environment.

The Mexican Constitution states that "No military authority may, in time of peace, perform any functions other than those that are directly connected with military affairs.  There shall be fixed and permanent military commands only in castles, forts, and warehouses immediately subordinate to the government of the Union."[29]  Like all legal language, these passages are open to interpretation.  In today's security environment, it seems nearly impossible to formulate a working definition of "military affairs."  One could easily make that case that law enforcement is a "military affair" as military capabilities are needed to counteract a threat to the state itself.  At the same time, it could be argued that the spirit of the law prevents the military from usurping civil authority.  One also wonders how "time of peace" can be defined in an era where non-state actors present a constant threat.

Both critics and proponents of the federal government’s security policy note that the policy's main driver is degraded institutions.[30]  Some argue that an overreliance on the military further weakens police forces by impeding their development, a practice that runs contrary to efforts aimed at promoting rule of law.[31]  Others point to the bureaucratic politics at play within the military itself, painting public security initiatives as a competition between services for resources and influence.  According to these critics, involvement in law enforcement is not a mission to which the military is well suited, and is not an ideal use of resources.[32]

As the ongoing debate surrounding the military's involvement in law enforcement would suggest, the Marines currently patrolling Mexican streets have achieved mixed results.  Organized criminal groups have been hindered by the military presence, but the general public continues to fall victim to criminal acts.[33] Whether or not the government's reliance on the military force is a viable strategy, the approach has impacted the Marines as an organization.  For better or worse, they have proved capable of capacity building alongside civilian organizations, a capability coveted by security forces the world over.

The employment of the Marines in both their civil support function and in their role as an elite strike force is directly related to the nature of their adversary. In order to properly understand the unique variant of counterinsurgency that has driven their evolution, one must examine the nature of the threat in Mexico.  Complex networks of non-state actors reflect the dynamic nature of the global security environment, as do the Marine Battalions themselves.

The governance and security challenges faced by the Mexican state can be characterized as "hybrid" threats, as they emanate from a variety of sources and manifest themselves in various ways.   Mexican security forces are chiefly concerned with organized crime, insurgency, and terrorism.   These threats are linked primarily to drug cartels, organizations that function as part of ever-expanding transnational criminal networks.  This challenge has grown to the point that it occupies a "gray area" between crime and insurgency.  Criminal networks reach deep into government and civil society at all levels, creating a culture of lawlessness throughout Mexico.   Cartels often behave as small businesses, international corporations, bandits, guerillas, terrorists, and even governments. At times, Mexico finds itself tackling a law enforcement problem, and at others, waging a full-scale war.  Some believe that this conflict demonstrates an interplay of economic interests, political ideologies, and social identities indicative of the future of warfare.[34]

The military's engagement in law enforcement and its kinetic targeting of drug cartels are part of a counterinsurgency campaign waged on a "human battlefield."  As an instrument of violence, the Marines represent only a small part of a much broader response.  In their effort to succeed in the "gray area" of modern combat, the Marines have embraced both conventional and unconventional tactics.  The evolution of the Mexican Marines as a counterinsurgency force has occurred as a direct response to the nation's current security environment, and has deep roots in Mexican strategic culture as well as international cooperation. 

The Mexican Navy has tailored its planning to counterinsurgency, instituting reforms at all levels. In an official report, SEMAR declares that "The force of the state is needed to combat organized crime, drug trafficking, human trafficking, and trafficking in arms and munitions." and that it intends to "reclaim the spaces controlled by narco gangs" by "employ[ing] forces at the national level against drug trafficking and organized crime." [35]  These priorities are in line with thinking across the entire Mexican military.  Current Mexican thought emphasizes achieving "operational effectiveness" by developing communications, interoperability among services, and intelligence capacity.  Mexican doctrine urges a focus on irregular forces, encouraging the development of both traditional combat competencies and innovative practices.[36]

There is a great deal of debate surrounding the origins of Mexico's special operations capabilities.  Many see the evolution of Mexican special forces as being driven chiefly by United States influence.  During the early 1990's, the Mexican Army received a great deal of training from 7th Group, the U.S. Army Special Forces unit responsible for building partner capacity in Latin America.[37] During the same time period, a major effort was underway to educate Mexican Naval Officers in the United States.  Many Mexican servicemen found themselves in the United States, where they were trained according to U.S. doctrine.[38]  In recent years, the Mexican Navy has been the most forward of the services in international cooperation.  Mexican Marines participate in large-scale combined exercises with the United States Marine Corps, and hone their special warfare skills with the U.S. Navy SEALs.[39]  Critics believe that the Mexican government acquiesced to North American interests and simply adopted United States doctrine in organizing and training its military forces.[40] Given the clear national security interests of the United States at stake Mexico, the North American political emphasis on terrorism, and the American cash and resources flowing into the country, there is certainly some weight to the assertion that the United States has been a major driver behind the modernization of Mexico's  military.  As is always the case, however, there is more to the story. 

The nation of Mexico possess a strategic culture that is independent from, yet linked to, that of the United States.  Mexico's Army has long been employed for the purpose of internal defense.  In the late 20th century, this included the suppression of the Zapatistas, Marxist guerrillas attempting to mount an insurgency in the state of Chiapas.  As the Army conducted these counterinsurgency operations, it also observed and learned from the evolution of United States special operating forces.  Mexican onlookers saw U.S. "small wars" and covert actions yielding mixed results in the Americas, the failed Iranian hostage rescue attempt, and swift U.S. victories in Panama and Grenada.[41]  Throughout the 20th century, the Mexican Army had been in the business of both stability and repression, and their leadership came to realize the significance of irregular warfare and unconventional forces.  The Army fielded its "Grupo Aeromovil de Fuerzas Especiales", or "Los Gafes" at the end of the Cold War, as low intensity conflict and non-state actors became the focus of modern security forces the world over.[42]  Recently, the Mexican Navy has been best able to develop and employ its special operators.  Targeted raids, special security details, and maritime drug interdiction have allowed Marine Commandos to distinguish themselves.[43]

The Marines have proven their expertise in counterinsurgency, and played an integral role in Mexico's struggle to uphold the rule of law.  It would be a grave mistake, however, to consider SEMAR above criticism.  Corruption affects all Mexican institutions, and the Navy is no exception.  In fact, in 1990, the Secretary of the Navy himself was forced to resign due to allegations of corruption.[44]  The harsh realities of organized crime, counterinsurgency, and urban combat place the Marines in situations where violence can become deeply personal.  In 2009, a Marine was killed executing a raid against Arturo Beltrán-Leyva (brother of Hector and former cartel boss).  The Marines succeeded in killing Beltrán-Leyva, but when their fallen comrade was hailed as a war hero, his surviving mother, sister, brother, and aunt were murdered at home by cartel gunmen.[45]  It is no surprise that such an environment breeds impunity and excess.  Mexico’s military has been widely criticized for human rights violations ranging from damaging personal property to torture and murder.[46] Far from the pages of academic literature, anecdotes of the Marines' ruthlessness are repeated to few objections.

The violation of human rights is both immoral and counterproductive to establishing a secure and stable environment, and is therefore a serious hindrance to the Marines.  SEMAR has, however, made great strides in promoting institutional respect for human life and liberty while building a culture of discipline.   Mexico must walk a fine line: the military absolutely cannot be restrained from visiting necessary violence upon the enemy, but without rule of law, the campaign against crime is for naught.  SEMAR has taken the approach of imbedding human rights in military doctrine, allowing justice to become a part of service culture through practice.  In the SEMAR document "Manual de Derechos Humanos Para el Personal de la Armada de Mexico", the Navy Department declares that "The Mexican Navy is an institution with tradition, honor, and integrity" and that it "promotes and defends the rights that we fight for."  According to this document, "The public force of the state should be used in defense of governance, of the state and for the end of citizen safety," this important assertion is followed by the statement that the military must protect "the integrity of all that is human.”[47]

The legal framework of the Mexican armed forces prohibits the use of force when it is not "strictly necessary" and the use of torture for any reason.[48]  Good policy does not always translate into practice, but these values have been supported by the training, education, and experience of the Mexican Marines, which emphasize discipline and a strict adherence to a moral code.[49]  While training Marines for war, the schools of the Mexican Navy seek to "build in their alumni superior values and principals."  They are taught to be "Warriors in defense of their country" and "men of honor, with physical and mental strength, spiritual leaders, soldiers in every way with unbreakable discipline and morale."  Marines are expected to demonstrate "respect for the laws, with a spirit of sacrifice, always loyal to the service of the nation."[50]  It is easy to view such language as hollow rhetoric, but it is also important not to underestimate the stated values and intent of educational and training programs that subject students to great stress as they seek to internalize skills that could very well mean the difference between life and death.


As the Mexican Navy enjoys relatively high levels of popular support and admiration while waging war on its nation's soil, it can be argued that the institution has successfully built a positive service culture that will continue to reduce corruption both internally and externally.  This culture may in fact be the most lethal weapon in the Marines' fight against the drug cartels.

The "Batallones Infantería de Marina" have been shaped into Mexico's elite military force through their employment against hybrid threats.  In this way, the Mexican Marines represent the armed forces of the future.  Governments the world over are struggling to allocate resources under fiscal and strategic constraints as globalization and technological advances empower non-state actors in a way that undermines the very existence of nations.  Militaries take on diverse roles supporting all aspects of governance as novel threats emerge and a broader view of security is adopted by the global community.  From North America to the Middle East, security forces flounder in the face of weak state capacity, corruption, and sectarian divisions.  The Mexican experience is relevant to these challenges: through a multidimensional approach to security, a willingness to incorporate experience into doctrine, international cooperation, investment in training and education, and a focus on the intangibles of service culture, military institutions can survive and even thrive against the odds.

The development of Mexico cannot be measured in the number of mariners rescued at sea, patrols in high crime areas, hectares of drug crops irradiated, value of contraband interdicted, or cartel bosses neutralized.  It must be measured by the viability of Mexican institutions, a quality that is far more difficult to quantify.  The fact that the Marines are able to carry out their duties in the face of degraded state capacity speaks volumes for the service and for the nation.  To use language familiar to the United States military, Mexico's greatest military achievement may very well be the Honor, Courage, and Commitment of its Naval Service.

End Notes

[1] "Joint Publication 3-05: Special Operations," (U.S. Joint Staff, 2014), 28.

[2] Robert Gates, "Helping Others Defend Themselves," Foreign Affairs vol. 89, no. 3 (2010).

[3]  Joint Publication 3-22: Foreign Internal Defense, (U.S. Joint Staff, 2010). available at:

[4] "Mexico Arrests Suspected Drug Cartel Boss." Al Jazeera America (Al Oct, 1, 2014, 1-2.

[5] Barret, Delvin. "U.S. Marshals Service Personnel Dressed as Mexican Marines Pursue Cartel Bosses." The Wall Street Journal ( Nov. 21, 2014.

[6] Jorge Luis Sierra, "La Conversión de la Infantería de Marina", Contralinea 253, (2011)., 2.

[7] "Informe de Labores" (SEMAR report, Mexico City, 2013),

1-18; Erwan de Cherisey, "Infantería de Marina: La elite de las Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas", ( 2014),

[8] See also-"Declaration on Security in the Americas." (OEA International Conference Declaration, Mexico City), 2008; Jorge Luis Sierra Guzmán,  El Enemigo Interno: Contrainsurgencia y Fuerzas Armadas en México, (Plaza de Valdes, 2003), 305-06; Fen Osler Hampson et. al, Madness in the Multitude: Human Security and World Disorder (Ontario, CA: Oxford University Press, 2001).

[9] See also- Marcos Moloeznik, "La Naturaleza de un Instrumento Militar Atípico: las Fuerzas Armadas Mexicanas", (Revista Fuerzas Armadas y Sociedad 19, no. 1 2005), 172; Moloeznik, "Military Dimension of the War on drugs in Mexico and Colombia", Crime, Law, and Social Change 40. (2003): 107.

[10] Zosimo Camacho, ""Guerra" Modernizo Fuerzas Armadas" Contralinea  308. (2012).

[11] Auxilio de la población, 1.

[12] "Plan Marina de Auxilio a la Población Civil en Casos y Zonas de Emergencia o Desastre", (Secretario de Marina policy/planning document, Mexico), 1.

[13] Informe de Labores, 20.

[14] Plan Marina, 1.

[15] Informe de Labores, 16.

[16] Informe de Labores, 16.

[17] "Plan Marina, 8."

[18] "Plan Marina, 8-14."

[19] Joint Publication 3-28: Defense Support of Civil Authorities, (U.S. Joint Staff 2013), CDRUSNORTHCOM CONPLAN 3501-08." (U.S. Military planning document, 2008).

[20] Plan Marina, 1; Joint Publication 3-28.

[21] Camacho, 1.

[22] Acuerdo Secretarial NUM. 88. SEMAR policy/planning document, 2007. 

[23] "Programa Sectorial de Marina." (SEMAR policy/planning document, Mexico City), 2007, 18.

[24] ibid, 19.

[25] ibid, 19-23.

[26] ibid, 23.

[27] Informe de Labores, 9.

[28] "Centro de Capacitación y Adiestramiento Especializado de Infantería de Marina", (SEMAR, Accessed October 23, 2014),

[29] Camp, 84-85.

[30] Guzmán, "El Enemigo Interno", 305.

[31] See also-Maureen Meyer, "Mexico's Police: Many Reforms, Little Progress" (Washington: WOLA).

[32] Camacho, 1.

[33] Academic policy paper (author anonymous), 1.

[34] Bob Killebrew and Jennifer Bernal "Crime Wars: Gangs, Cartels and U.S. National Security", (Center for a New American Security), 2010; Steven Metz." New Challenges and Old Concepts: Understanding  21st Century Insurgency", Parameters (2007): 20-32;Stephen Sloane," Forward: Responding to the Threat", Low Intensity Conflict and Law Enforcement, 11 no. 2-3 (2002): 164-170; John Sullivan and Robert Bunker. "Rethinking Insurgency, Criminality, Spirituality, and Societal warfare in the Americas." In Criminal Insurgency in Mexico and the Americas: The Gangs and Cartels Wage War, ed. Robert Bunker  (New York: Routledge, 2013), 29-51.

[35] Infrome de Labores, 10-12.

[36] Guillermo Valero, El ejercito Mexicano entre la Guerra y la Política. (Iztapalapa: Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana, 2008), 285-88.

[37] Guzmán, "El Enemigo Interno", 245.

[38] ibid, 233-77.

[39] Informe de Labores, 18-20.

[40] Camacho, 2.

[41] Valero 97-249. 250-52; Guzmán, "El Enemigo Interno", 236-60.

[42] ibid, 260.

[43] See also- de Cherisey; Informe de Labores.

[44] Camp, 59.

[45] Al Jazeera, 3.

[46] Anonymous, 12-15.

[47] "Manual de Derechos Humanos Para el Personal de la Armada de México", (SEMAR policy document), 2012. 15-19.

[48] ibid, 22.

[49] "Centro de Capacitación".

[50] ibid.


About the Author(s)

Stephen Webber is a Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He holds an M.A. in Security Studies from Georgetown University and a B.A. in Studies in War and Peace from Norwich University.