Argentine National Gendarmerie

Argentine National Gendarmerie
Argentine National Gendarmerie
Gendarmería Nacional Argentina
Abbreviation GNA
Flag of the Argentinian Gendarmery.png
Flag of the Gendarmerie
Agency overview
Formed 1938
Employees 70,000
Volunteers All non commissioned personnel are volunteers.
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Legal jurisdiction As per operations jurisdiction.
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters Ave. Antártida Argentina and Gendarmería Nacional St.,

Buenos Aires

Agency executives
  • Héctor Bernabé Schenone, National Director, Comandante General
  • Juan Obdulio Sainz, Deputy National Director, Comandante General
Regional Headquarterss
Website (Spanish)
Phone: 54 11 4310-2500

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

The Argentine National Gendarmerie has a strength of 12,000.

The Gendarmerie is primarily a frontier guard force but also fulfils other important roles. The force functions from four regional headquarters at Campo de Mayo, Córdoba, Rosario 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.


Argentine Gendarmes in Oberá in Misiones

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

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: The current National Director is Commandant-General Hector Bernabé Schenone (since September 2005).
    • The Deputy National Director: The current Deputy National Director is Commandant-General Juan Obdulio Sainz (since November 2005).
  • 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: peloton) 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: escuadron) 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

See also


External links

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