By Mr. Eric R Lucero (ARSOUTH)May 19, 2014
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- Two signatures, 59 engagements, and one year filled with opportunities to foster a relationship of mutual respect and support dating back to the second World War.
U.S. Army South, as the Army service component command for U.S. Southern Command, on behalf of the Chief of Staff of the Army, conducted staff talks here with the Brazilian army May 12-16, to discuss mutual training engagements over the coming year and to solidify a shared friendship that continues to strengthen with each encounter.
"This week marked the 30th year the two nations' armies have met face-to-face and I think that's very symbolic of the close relationship our two armies share," said Maj. Gen. Joseph P. DiSalvo, the U.S. Army South commanding general.
"The Brazilian army places great importance on the good relationship we have with the U.S. Army," said Maj. Gen. Joarez Alves Pereira Junior, the Brazilian army chief of staff for international affairs and the head of the Brazilian army delegation. "Throughout many years, in particular since the second World War, we have worked together. These staff talks help to further our great friendship."
Last year, the two delegations drafted a list of 29 Agreed to Actions (training and educational engagements) that covered a wide range of professional exchanges designed to improve capabilities and the working relationship between the two armies.
One of the major points discussed was a proposal by the Brazilian is to develop foreign liaison officer positions at most of the U.S. Army's eight Centers of Excellence starting in 2015.
"If we can (establish additional foreign liaison officer positions), this will mark a significant increase in liaison officers between our countries and will improve our ability to work together," said Maj. Rob Hammack, the U.S. Army South southern cone desk officer.
Other engagements scheduled for 2015 include a professional exchange on the integration of female soldiers, which will Support the Brazilian Army in its efforts to integrate female military personnel in its service academy and throughout its force structure; and the Brazilian army hosting a delegation from Army South and other U.S. organizations, and partner nations to observe how the armies of Brazil, Colombia, and Peru conduct joint, combined, and interagency operations, focused on civil-military operations, within their borders.
In addition, the Brazilian army will continue to seek opportunities to participate in exercises such as PANAMAX 2015, an exercise that brings together sea, air and land forces in a joint and combined operation focused on defending the Panama Canal; and Beyond the Horizon 2015, an annual exercise allowing participating armies' engineers and medical professionals the opportunity to work closely with host-nation forces and civilian organizations to provide medical, dental and engineering support to the local population.
"These engagements will continue to bring together our two countries, which allows us to exchange knowledge and experiences, enabling us to improve both our armies," said Joarez.
In an era of budget constraints, it is even more important that countries involved in staff talks apply careful scrutiny to future engagements.
A major focus that carried over from the 2012 and 2013 staff talks was Brazil's efforts in preparation of the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics.
In April, Army South sent a military working dog team to Brasilia, Brazil to conduct a training exchange with the Brazilian army and federal police to discuss security techniques and best practices ahead of this summer's World Cup. The exchange, one of the 2013 engagements, will bolster security in regard to narcotics and explosives detection and crowd control in and around the 12 separate cities that will host the 64 soccer matches.
To follow up on Brazil's efforts during the World Cup, the Brazilian army plans to receive a U.S. delegation to conduct an information operations training exchange covering lessons learned from the integration and execution of information related capabilities (military information support operations, public affairs, and operational security), and urban pacification operations and peacekeeping operations from the World Cup.
The staff talks ended with DiSalvo and Joarez signing a bilateral engagement plan for the upcoming year. The plan outlines various activities each army will conduct together over the next year.
"It is staff talks like these that have opened the door for the exchange of knowledge and interaction, which has strengthened the relationship and the mutual confidence between our two armies," said Joarez.
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.
"Without a doubt, these staff talks show our special partnership with the Brazilian army, not only how we respect each other and have a great personal relationship, but on a professional level as well," said DiSalvo.