Defence Minister Oscar Aguad has rejected the idea that modifications to the Defence Law will give Argentina's Armed Forces the power to intervene in social conflicts. He also clarified that military will not replace the Gendarmerie along the borders.
"It never occurred to us to think of a hypothesis of that nature (of the Armed Forces patrolling cities or intervening in social conflicts). This is a problem for the security forces," the minister said.
"The military's presence on the borders will not replace the Gendarmerie. What is planned on the border is to prevent drug trafficking and international terrorism from taking root in Argentine territory", he added.
On Monday, President Mauricio Macri announced a change in national defense policy, which includes the expansion of the responsibilities of the Armed Forces into domestic security and their participation "in the safekeeping and protection of strategic objectives."
"There are many vulnerable populations living in the north of the country. We are going to work in these populations and our motivation is to try to prevent groups of this nature from taking root in Argentine territory," Aguad said.
"We're restoring legality. Former president (Néstor) Kirchner had exceeded this and limited the actions of the Armed Forces", he told news agency Notices Argentinas, adding that he thought the Defence Law issued by the government of former President Raúl Alfonsín 35 years ago must be reviewed by Congress.
"We have to revise our Domestic Security Law and the Intelligence Law, which (together with the Defence Law) are the three pillars of security in Argentina," he said.
"Faced with modern technologies that influence defence, we must discuss and reach consensus in Congress to draft a new law".
Decree 683/2018, published in the Official Gazette, establishes the operational participation of the Armed Forces in tasks to support the Security Forces.
It bears the signature of President Mauricio Macri, his Cabinet Chief Marcos Peña, and Defense Minister Aguad.
The opposition has demanded that Congress address the issue.
"The (current) decree repeals two or three articles of a decree issued by former President Néstor Kirchner that regulated the Defence Law to determine that the Armed Forces could seek to limit external attacks provided they came from another State," Aguad said.
He argued that the stipulation that the conflict originate from another State could be abused by Argentina's enemies, warning of a situation in which the Armed Forces "have no sense of being".
"We have repealed that part of Kirchner's decree and the Armed Forces are now allowed to act against any external attacks that may be perpetrated by a State or by new organisations that endanger Argentine territorial sovereignty," he said.