Argentine National Gendarmerie

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

Argentine National Gendarmerie
Gendarmería Nacional Argentina
Emblem of the Force
Emblem of the Force
Gendarmeria flag
Gendarmeria flag
MottoCentinela de la Patria
(eng: "Fatherland's Sentinel")
Agency overview
VolunteersAll non commissioned personnel are volunteers.
Jurisdictional structure
Federal agency
(Operations jurisdiction)
Operations jurisdictionArgentina
Legal jurisdictionAs per operations jurisdiction
General nature
Operational structure
HeadquartersAve. Antártida Argentina and Gendarmería Nacional St., Buenos Aires
Elected officer responsible
Agency executives
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 trainingEdit

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 Laws No. 23.554 and 24.059, the armed forces cannot intervene in internal civil conflicts, except in logistics’ and support roles, so the Gendarmerie is subordinate to the Ministry of Security. It is defined as a civilian "security force of a military nature". It maintains a functional relationship with the Minister 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 CommandEdit

The high command includes:

  • The National Director: As of 2021, the National Director is Commandant-General Andrés Severino.
  • The Deputy National Director: As of 2021, the Deputy National Director is Commandant-General Javier Alberto Lapalma.
  • The General and Special Staff of the National Directorate of the Gendarmerie.

Rank structureEdit

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 structureEdit

  • 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 unitsEdit

Support unitsEdit

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


Volkswagen Amarok of Gendarmería Nacional Argentina.
Gendarmes with FN FAL rifle.


Weapon Caliber Origin Notes
Beretta 92 9×19mm   Italy Service pistol
Glock 17 9×19mm   Austria Used by the Grupo Alacrán
Submachine Guns
FMK-3 9×19mm   Argentina Service SMG
Heckler & Koch MP5 9×19mm   Germany
FN P90 FN 5.7×28mm   Belgium Used by the Grupo Alacrán
Assault Rifles & Battle Rifles
FN FAL 7.62×51mm   Belgium/  Argentina Standard service rifle
Steyr AUG 5.56×45mm   Austria
Colt M4 5.56×45mm   United States Used by the Grupo Alacrán
Sniper Rifles & Machine guns
M24 SWS 7.62×51mm   United States Standard sniper rifle
Barrett M95 .50 BMG   United States Used by the Grupo Alacrán
FN MAG 7.62×51mm   Belgium/  Argentina
Ithaca 37 12 gauge   United States Standard service shotgun
Benelli M3 12 gauge   Italy
SPAS-15 12 gauge   Italy Used by the Grupo Alacrán


Model Type Origin Notes
Ford Focus Police car   United States/  Argentina
Ford Ranger Pickup truck   United States/  Argentina
Volkswagen Amarok Pickup truck   Germany/  Argentina
Agrale Marrua Pickup truck   Brazil [1]
Land Rover Defender Pickup truck   United Kingdom
Iveco Daily Van   Italy/  Argentina
Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van   Germany/  Argentina
Mercedes-Benz Unimog Truck   Germany
Iveco VM 90 Truck   Italy
Bandvagn 206 All-terrain vehicle   Sweden
STREIT Group Spartan Armoured personnel carrier   Canada Used by the Grupo Alacrán


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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  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)

External linksEdit