Over the past decade, the Mexican military has been crafted into hardened and more professional military, skilled in fourth generation warfare, operating across the spectrum of conflict from surgical small-unit Special Forces missions to division-level stability operations in areas comparable in size to Belgium. As new—state and non-state—threats loom on the horizon, the U.S. and Mexican militaries will need to rely on deepening their connection and increasing bilateral trust to build a stronger and interdependent defense relationship.  

The increase in dialogue and cooperation builds trust and promotes mutual understanding between Mexico and the United States, crafting deep ties between both militaries during a time when the radicalization of political ideas threatens to transcend electoral campaign rhetoric and affect the economic and social fields of North America.

For two neighbors that share an annual trade worth USD 534 billion along a 2,000-mile border, understanding each other’s strengths and weaknesses should be a priority. This paper is meant to provide a deeper understanding of the Mexican military and its contribution to the defense and security of North America. It does so by analyzing the evolution of Mexico’s armed forces, and the past and present cooperation between the Mexican and the U.S. militaries.