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DIFAS 2021. Tradition and Innovation

CHOD's article published on 'La Razón'
May 29, 2021

Armed Forces Day is a day of encounter between Spaniards, civilians and military personnel, with the aim of accentuating our society's knowledge of its Armed Forces, in accordance with the provisions of the Spanish Constitution and the spirit of our Royal Ordinances.

In these unique circumstances we are living through, this celebration has a special character for the second consecutive year, as it is not yet possible to resume the activities that were usually carried out to materialise this contact between the Armed Forces and the society they come from and serve.

The motto chosen for this year is: "Armed Forces, tradition and innovation".

Tradition, because we are heirs and depositaries of the legacy of values, beliefs, practices, customs and symbols developed over the centuries that reflect historical facts, deeds and exploits which, as our Royal Ordinances state, are for us a source of encouragement for the continuation of the work of those who came before us. Hence our duty to teach and preserve them.

Innovation, because our Armed Forces are small and can continue to be so, but for this it is essential that they be technologically advanced so that we can achieve the necessary superiority in combat and thus fulfil the objectives of our national defence. In turn, the boost given to innovation by the Ministry of Defence supports both the development and competitiveness of our defence industry and research, in many of our universities, into technologies that are mostly dual-use, with the consequent general benefit for our society.

As part of this tradition, this year we are commemorating some important events in our history: the Navy is celebrating the 500th anniversary of the first round the world flight and the 250th anniversary of the battle of Lepanto, the Army the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Legion and the Air Force the 100th anniversary of the first four air bases in Tablada, León, Getafe and Zaragoza.

These milestones could not have been achieved without the effort, will, dedication and commitment of those who preceded us in the noble exercise of the military profession. Thanks to them, today we have a professional and efficient Armed Forces that, with the support of innovation, allow us to look to the future with hope, as demonstrated by the digital transformation process in which we are immersed or the start of programmes such as the 8x8 Dragon, the F-110 frigates or the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).

On this day, it is also fair to recognise the work of our military personnel who are far from their homeland, in operations abroad, those who are involved in permanent surveillance, security and presence operations in our areas of interest, and those who continue to serve our society in Operation 'Baluarte', demonstrating values such as the spirit of service, discipline and a sense of duty.

Our military personnel demonstrate Spain's commitment to international peace and security on a daily basis, participating with our allies in deterrence and security tasks, and projecting stability in those countries that find themselves in circumstances of conflict or that are beyond their capabilities to achieve the necessary security so that their societies can develop their full potential with complete freedom and normality. I would like to remember in an emotional way all the soldiers who gave their lives to defend our values and our beloved homeland, as well as the thousands of compatriots, including some of our colleagues, who have lost their lives as a result of the pandemic.

Finally, I would like to say that, like all those who made possible feats such as the first circumnavigation of the globe, defended our borders or crossed the skies from air bases that are now hundreds of years old, we work and will work to provide security for all Spaniards. I sincerely hope that next year, as the health situation improves, we will once again celebrate Armed Forces Day as we have always done.

Happy Armed Forces Day.

Chief of Defence Staff

AG Teodoro E. López Calderón