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Bolivia’s Navy Builds a Maintenance and Training Center in Effort to Improve Capabilities

Bolivia’s Navy Builds a Maintenance and Training Center in Effort to Improve Capabilities

By Dialogo
August 12, 2015

Bolivia’s government recently opened a maintenance and training center, where service members will be trained to repair operational and administrative vehicles and ship engines used by the Navy.

Creating the maintenance center “is an important step for the Armed Forces regarding its commitment to society, training, and education to foster development,” Minister of Defense Reymi Ferreira said on July 14 at the facility’s opening ceremony, which was also attended by Vice Admiral Waldo Leonel Calla, the Navy’s Commander in Chief.

The Navy spent $1.3 million bolivianos (about $180,000) to build the first phase of the center, located on La Paz's altiplano. The Ministry of Defense will handle the second phase of providing equipment, Minister Ferreira added.

The maintenance and training center will also provide training to the personnel from the Navy Improvement Center (Cepena) of the Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) and Sergeant School. After their national service, seaman recruits and apprentices from the Navy Military Police Battalion and other units will take technical courses towards mid-level certification in a profession.

Improving the technological capacities of the Armed Forces

Building the maintenance center and the training it will provide is part of Bolivia’s strategy to improve its Armed Forces’ technological capabilities.

Bolivia's Naval Force (FNB) is planning to build an institute to train Troops and NCOs as mid-level technicians, and will also offer this training to young students from educational institutions in surrounding areas.

The facility will provide training in auto mechanics, welding, lathe operation, electronics, and car body repair and painting, as the complex will provide “skilled labor for the state’s development of society, communities, and production,” Vice Admiral Calla said.

The technical school is part of a the government’s broad effort to improve the Armed Forces’ infrastructure; since early 2014, it has developed 14 infrastructure projects for the Air Force and the Army, local daily Página Siete
reported. These include the construction of an ecological regiment, the Juan Maraza National Parks Protection School, in the department of Cochabamba; a Transportation Maintenance Center for the Ingavi Regiment in El Alto; a dormitory for 120 women at the Condor School in Sanandita; and another 120 rooms for male Rangers in Oruro.

The effort to improve the infrastructure and technological capacities of the country’s Armed Forces has been ongoing and is crucial as the Military confronts the threat posed by transnational criminal organizations that engage in drug trafficking. For example, in September 2009, the government opened an Air Maintenance Center to provide services to the Air Force.