MANAUS, Brazil -- Just south of the Amazon jungle, Lt. Gen. Luiz Guilherme Paul Cruz, deputy chief, Special and International Affairs of the Brazilian army, welcomed Maj. Gen Frederick Rudesheim, the commanding general of U.S. Army South, for the 29th annual army-to-army staff talks between the two countries, May 20-22.Last year the staff talks were held at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and both armies have been conducting various events, training, exercises and exchanges together as a result of the agreements made in 2012."We seek to share experiences and knowledge, based on the study of topics of common interest in the areas of personnel, intelligence, doctrine, operations, logistics, engineering, science and technology, international affairs, strategic planning and prospective studies," said Paul Cruz.U.S. Army South has represented the Army in the annual bilateral staff talks with Brazil since 2005. Army South, as the Army service component command for U.S. Southern Command, conducts staff talks on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army. These meetings help strengthen professional partnerships and increase interaction between armies."The professionalism of the Brazilian army and the importance of our two countries working together cannot be over emphasized," said Rudesheim.During the meeting, the two delegations drafted a list of 29 Agreed to Actions (ATAs) that covered a wide range of professional exchanges designed to improve the working relationship between the two armies.The ATAs would be difficult to execute without the hard work of the Army Section, part of the U.S. Military Liaison Office in the U.S. embassy in Brazil. ATAs plot the course of bilateral engagements throughout the year."They [ATAs] give us the ability to lock in future engagements," said Lt. Col. John Meyer, Army Section Chief, Military Liaison Office, U.S. Embassy, Brazil. "It gives us a good chance to make sure the engagements we execute meet the objectives of both countries."In an era of budget constraints, it is even more important that countries involved in staff talks apply careful scrutiny to future engagements."Our military to military relationship with the Brazilian army is particularly strong and dates back to the second world war when the Brazilian Expeditionary Force fought alongside the U.S. Army in Italy," said Meyer. "All of our engagements are based upon mutual interests and the Brazilian army always delivers significant resources to our activities, making our relationship a true partnership."Some of the ATAs include: expert exchanges of information about command and control techniques, subject matter exchanges at the National Simulation Center and Mission Command Training Program, symposium on major sporting events, conference on military support to civil authorities, engineer participation in Beyond the Horizon 2014 exercises, medical exchanges for operating in a Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and High-Yield Explosives (CBRNe) environment, and subject matter expert exchanges on the Army-level equipment requirements/procurement process.A major focus that carried over from the 2012 staff talks was Brazil's efforts in preparation of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.In addition to Army South personnel, Headquarters, Department of the Army G3/5 International Affairs, Training and Doctrine Command, and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) sent representatives to participate in the staff talks.In its role as a Combat Support Agency, DTRA's Consequence Management Strategic Engagement Branch, supporting Army South, provided a briefing during the staff talks on the process used by the military to support and coordinate planning and security to civilian authorities during major events."DTRA's unique expertise provided a focused discussion on the challenges associated with All-Hazards Consequence Management CBRNe incidents," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Jenkins, Consequence Management, America's Lead, DTRA. "This type of discussion is of importance to the Brazilian army as its forces continue major event planning as Brazil prepares to host such events as the World Cup in 2014 and the Summer Olympic Games in 2016," said Bob Quinn, Crisis Management Specialist, DTRA.The staff talks ended with the signing of a bilateral engagement plan for the upcoming year. The plan outlines various activities each army will conduct together."As we continue into a future highlighted by conflict around the world, these staff talks, and indeed our mutual partnership, will become increasingly important as we work together to address the security and humanitarian issues affecting our hemisphere," said Rudesheim.Army South also conducts staff talks with the armies of Chile, Colombia and El Salvador on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army."Staff talks are a way we will be fulfilling the guidelines of the commander of the Brazilian army, strengthening the bonds of friendship between the land forces of brazil and the United States, by means that foster mutual confidence, agreed upon in the highest professional manner," said Paul Cruz.