The Agulhas Negras Military Academy (AMAN, in Portuguese), in Resende, Rio de Janeiro state, is the higher education institution entrusted with training career officers of the Brazilian Army (EB, in Portuguese). The school recently hosted the U.S. Army and EB combined exercise CORE 21/Southern Vanguard 22. Diálogo spoke with EB Major General Paulo Roberto Rodrigues Pimentel, AMAN commandant, following the end of the exercise, on December 16.
Diálogo: Is it common for AMAN to host military exercises?
EB Major General Paulo Roberto Rodrigues Pimentel, AMAN commandant: We often lend our exercise area to other military organizations in Brazil, but it was the first time with a foreign army.
Diálogo: On November 27, 391 aspiring officers graduated from AMAN, seven of whom were foreigners: one from Guyana, one from Paraguay, two from Senegal, one from Timor-Leste, and two from Vietnam. Does that happen all the time?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: AMAN has an established international prestige. So, friendly nations have been coming to us for many years to have their cadets attend the school’s courses. On average, there are about 10 cadets per year.
Diálogo: What is the process that countries use to select cadets to study here?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: It varies by country. Some of these cadets had no previous experience with military life. They take tests, land among the top contenders (possibly), and the countries send them here. Uruguay, for instance, always sends a cadet who is already a trained officer. They come here having completed the Military Academy and stay with us for a year. It varies, based on the needs of each country.
Diálogo: What about doctrine?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: Deep down, we are all soldiers. The foundation, rationale, and ethics are the same. However, when they go back to their countries, they obviously must readjust to local doctrine.
Diálogo: At the November 27  graduation, women, for the first time, graduated from AMAN after five years of coursework. Can you tell me about the adjustment process to make this happen?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: This project started a long time ago. It’s a project on female insertion in military warfare instruction. There was a period of adaptation in the infrastructure prior to their arrival, and there were studies to assess how their upcoming participation in the academy would be. I can say that it was a successful project. They did very well. Not all of them graduated, of course. Of the 40 who started in the first year, 23 graduated, for different reasons. These women are among the top students in each class, with fantastic performance.
The requirements were the same for both men and women. There is a small difference in the Military Fitness Training Index Chart, which is normal. However, the demands during the exercises on the ground were the same and they did very well. I believe that the Army has gained from the integration of women, and in the future, they will be able to reach the rank of general and command battalions, etc.
Diálogo: AMAN is considered a reference in military education, not only regionally but worldwide. Why is that?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: The 210-year-old academy has been gradually accruing experience and improving its processes. I would say that when it comes to officer preparation, it is state of the art. We have the best methodology, training of future leaders, and commitment to the force.
Diálogo: What legacy do you hope to leave to your successor?
Maj. Gen. Pimentel: I hope to leave a better organized academy, administratively. The academic processes have expanded throughout the years. The academy has doubled in size in the last 30 years, and perhaps we couldn’t keep up with the workforce structure. So, what we are doing now, and what I intend to leave as a legacy to my successor, is the General José Pessoa project; in other words, we are working on a 77-year-old infrastructure so that the next commandant can further improve our work.
To watch the entire interview with EB Major General Paulo Roberto Rodrigues Pimentel, AMAN commandant, please visit this link: https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/interview-with-brazilian-army-major-general-paulo-robert-pimentel-aman-commander/#.Yf1h2FXMLZ4