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Abstract

This article examines the impact that the Portuguese accession to NATO had to the modernization of the Portuguese Armed Forces. We are particularly concerned in understanding the consequences of the Alliance on the development of the Portuguese Army Staff Corps’ (ASC) instruction. As we will show, the ASC was an idiosyncratic body within the Army, whose main function was to perform General Staff duties in high-ranking headquarters. In the beginning of the authoritarian regime of Estado Novo, reforms in the Portuguese Armed Forces led to the political submission of the military, including the ASC. According to the SHAPE’s officers that participated in the Portuguese Army modernization in the beginning of 1950’s, this political submission of the ASC was considered to be an obstacle to the proper effectiveness of the Portuguese Army. As we will see, even though some changes occurred in the instruction of the General Staff officers in order to increase its efficiency, NATO was not able to reverse the elitist nature of this particular body of the Portuguese Army.

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