The Uruguayan Antarctic Institute is a decentralized body of the Ministry of National Defence that reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.

Pursuant to Decree 60/2018 of March 2018, the strategic direction of the Antarctic National Program (PNA) is in charge of an Interministerial Cabinet on Antarctic Affairs composed of the heads of the Ministries that make up the Board of Directors of the Uruguayan Antarctic Institute (IAU). These are the Ministry of National Defence, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Housing, Land Management and the Environment, and the Ministry of Industry, Energy and Mining. This Cabinet is also the body that establishes the political guidelines of the Antarctic National Program. The IAU Board of Directors is the body that implements the strategic guidelines established by the Cabinet and is in charge of the executive direction of the Institute.

The PNA is the set of public and private organizations that develop diplomatic, scientific and logistical activities that make it possible for Uruguay to remain a Consultative Member of the Antarctic Treaty, in accordance with its guidelines and guided by the Antarctic National Policy. The IAU has the role of Administrator of the NIP, being the coordinating organism and through which the activity of the State in Antarctica is executed.