Mexico has the third-largest defense budget in Latin America, with reported annual military expenditures of US $24.944 billion or about 1.6% of GDP. Since the 1990s, when the military escalated its role in the war on drugs, increasing importance has been placed on acquiring airborne surveillance platforms, aircraft, helicopters, digital war-fighting technologies, urban warfare equipment and rapid troop transport.
Mexican Military has two branches: the Mexican Army (which includes the Mexican Air Force), and the Mexican Navy. The Mexican armed forces maintain significant infrastructure, including facilities for design, research, and testing of weapons, vehicles, aircraft, naval vessels, defense systems and electronics; military industry manufacturing centers for building such systems, and advanced naval dockyards that build heavy military vessels and advanced missile technologies.
These facilities have a significant employment and economic impact. In recent years, Mexico has improved its training techniques, military command and information structures and has taken steps to becoming more self-reliant in supplying its military by designing as well as manufacturing its own arms, missiles, aircraft, vehicles, heavy weaponry, electronics, defense systems, armor, heavy military industrial equipment and heavy naval vessels.
Historically, Mexico has remained neutral in international conflicts with the exception of World War II. However, in recent years some political parties have proposed an amendment of the Constitution in order to allow the Mexican army, air force or navy to collaborate with the United Nations in peacekeeping missions, or to provide military help to countries that officially ask for it.