Historical Background

House of the Soldier, current headquarters of the Inter-American Defense Board (1924).

The Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) was first established in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the Third Meeting of Consultation of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the 21 American Republics, which were then part of the Pan-American Union, according to Resolution no XXXIX of January 28th, 1942.

As a first step towards the implementation of that Resolution, the Directing Council of the Pan- American Union entrusted the task of specifying the specialty of the officers who would integrate IADB, as well as the location it should be installed, to a Special Committee composed of the Ambassadors of Brazil, Venezuela and Panama in the United States.

The Special Committee proposed that a group of technicians from the Army, Navy and Air Force should also integrate IADB staff. All of them were appointed by the member governments of the Pan-American Union to study and suggest the defense of the continent, due to the threat posed by the powers of the Axis in World War II.

Meanwhile, the Director of the Governing Council of the Pan-American Union determined that the inaugural session of the IADB was to take place on March 30th, 1942, at the Hall of the Americas of the Pan-American Union in Washington DC, United States (nowadays the OAS Main Building). At that place, the provisional seat of the Inter-American Defense Board was established. In turn, the aforementioned date is recognized as one in which the Inter-American Defense Board was formally constituted.

A few months after the inaugural session, the Council established itself in the Federal Reserve Building, where it maintained its activities until September of 1944. At that time, it transferred its permanent offices to the New War Department Building where it remained until 1949.

In August 1949, IADB was installed in the so-called “Rose Palace,” located on the corner of 16th Street and Euclid Street in Washington D.C., where it held its first meeting on October 11th, 1949.

The Board reformed its regulations on June 12th, 1951 and established a structure with a Presidency, a Vice President, a Council of Delegates, as the governing body; a General Staff, as an organ of technical work and a Secretariat, as an administrative body.

Interior of the “Palacio Rosado”, in 1924 (Flags Room)

In view of the need to expand doctrine and knowledge on the security and defense of the Hemisphere, in 1962, IADB’s Council of Delegates approved the creation of the Inter-American Defense College (IADC), incorporated as an IADB body on July 9th, 1964, with its facilities located at Fort Lesley McNair, Washington DC, USA.

Based on resolution CP/RES. 417 (590/84) of November 1st, 1984, the OAS Permanent Council carried out the renovation of the “Rosado Palace” facilities, which were completed in 1986. The building was then renamed to “House of the Soldier”.

During the OAS’s XXXII Special Session, the OAS General Assembly approved the Statute of the Inter-American Defense Board through resolution AG/RES.1 (XXXII-E/06) on March 15th, 2006. IADB was defined as an entity of the OAS and modified its organizational structure into three organs: Council of Delegates, Secretariat and IADC.

The Council of Delegates is the highest representative body of IADB. It is responsible for drawing up and adopting policies and activities in accordance with the guidelines established by OAS General Assembly and for overseeing the implementation of these policies, activities and guidelines by means of the Secretariat and of the IADC.

Flags Room, from a different perspective

The Secretariat, among other functions, implements resolutions, directives and other decisions of the Council; provides secretariat services to the Council, committees, subcommittees, working groups and other subsidiary bodies; complies with the guidelines and other charges; provides technical advice; safekeeps IADB documents and archives; prepares reports and develops cooperative relationships with international organizations at the global and regional levels.

The IADC is committed to ensuring its students a rigorous higher education that contributes to the future of multidimensional defense and security in the Americas. This is achieved by promoting excellent quality for high-level education with a permanent and multi-national team of teachers in the four languages ​​of the Hemisphere.

In constant evolution, IADB has the capacity to support the four pillars of the OAS: Democracy, Human Rights, Security and Development, with a primary focus on the Security pillar.