(Photo Credit: U.S. Army South Public Affairs photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

This second iteration of Exercise Southern Vanguard, focusing on the Brazilian Army (BRAAR), was an unprecedented combined military exercise in Latin America. It merged the BRAAR Land Operations Command (COTER) sponsored, and 12th Infantry Brigade (Air Mobile) conducted CORE 21 (Combined Operations and Rotation Exercise) with USSOUTHCOM sponsored and U.S. Army South conducted Exercise SOUTHERN VANGUARD 22 (ExSV 22). Training occurred at two different locations in Brazil. First, at Lorena (vic. Sao Paulo) and then moving to Resende (vic. Rio de Janerio).

A first of its kind, this exercise not only committed the largest U.S. Army conventional force ever sent to train in Brazil, but it also integrated two separate national exercises into one. Additionally, it established command and control under a battalion level Combined Task Force headquarters (TF 5 BIL), versus under a lead nation with normal exchange of liaison officers between armies for interoperability. TF 5 BIL had a BRAAR Commander, U.S. Army Deputy Commander, and an integrated battalion staff. Planning began in October 2020 as codified in mutually agreed to army-to-army staff talks. A deliberate combined Military Decision Making Process (MDMP) planning cycle preceded the CORE 21/ExSV 22 command post exercise (CPX) from 29 November to 5 December 2021. This preparatory work, along with the recognized need to consciously form the team before the start of the exercise (STARTEX), proved invaluable to forge the dynamics of establishing interoperability, developing/maintaining a common operational picture, and conducting operations. A conscious decision was made by the Task Force Commander to make himself available at multiple touchpoints during the MDMP week to answer the staff’s questions, provide guidance, and to make early-on decisions. This approach served the planning process well as the commander spoke excellent English and mitigated the language barrier constraint.

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