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Ministry of National Defense
The National Defense Ministry is a public institution created on the basis of the country’s earliest constitutional mandates. Its operation relies on a group of men and women who are committed to performing the tasks assigned to this ministry—as the body responsible for aiding the President’s management of national defense policy— in order to ensure stable external security for Chile to the benefit of our ongoing progress and development as a society.
Cristián de la Maza
Mr. de la Maza, a retired Vice Admiral, completed 38 years of service in the Navy in 2016. He specialized Electronic Naval Engineering and became part of the staff of the Navy, completing graduate studies in the Royal Navy (UK) and US Navy.
He has taught at the Naval War Academy. He holds a Master’s Degree in Naval and Maritime Sciences and a Diploma in Strategic Management, Finance and Corporate Governance from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (2015) and was chosen as the best student in his class in the latter case.
He served on combat ships for over 15 years, including as Commander of three units (the Angamos missile launcher, the Lynch frigate and the Williams frigate) for five years and Squadron Commander-in-Chief in 2010. Between 2002 and 2005, he commanded the Chilean Task Forces that participated in multinational exercises for RIMPAC in Hawaii, PANAMAX in Panama and UNITAS in Colombia in the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean.
On land, he has overseen the First Naval Zone (2011); the General Directorate of Naval Services, where he was in charge of material logistics for the Navy; served as President of the Board of the ASMAR Shipyards (2012-2013); and was Chief of Staff of the Navy (2014-2016). He held the latter position leading up to his retirement from the Navy in December 2016.
He is married to Marcela Bengoa Claussen and the couple has seven children.
Mr. Vargas has a degree in Business Administration from the Universidad de Chile. His career in the public sector includes the position of Mayor in the municipality of Hijuelas and three consecutive terms as Deputy in the Valparaíso Region between 1994 and 2010, representing the districts of Cabildo, Hijuelas, La Calera, La Cruz, La Ligua, Nogales, Papudo, Petorca, Puchuncaví, Quillota, Quintero and Zapallar. From 2009 to 2010 he also held the role of Deputy Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies.
He has always been involved in the agriculture sector, participating in the Agriculture, Forestry, and Rural Development Committee, or through production and export activities, particularly in the Quillota province.
He is an active member of the Renovación Nacional party and has served as its Deputy Chairman. During President Piñera’s first term, he held the position of Defense Undersecretary.
Mr. Vargas is separated and has four daughters.