The three countries’ navies met in Buenos Aires for an exercise that simulated the use of a combined force in the region.
Naval authorities from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay increased their level of interoperability with the 2018 Trilateral War Game. Held April 9th–13th, the exercise brought together 21 officers from the three countries at the Naval War College (ESGN, in Spanish) facilities in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
“The Trilateral War Game involves conducting military operations in a geographical area where significant naval forces are deployed, under the command of the Security Council of the United Nations and regional agreements,” Argentine Navy Captain Gustavo Principi, head of the ESGN War Games and Courses Field, told Diálogo.
Each version of the game simulates an international crisis situation to test cooperation among the navies when facing matters of common interest. “In this 2018 version, the emphasis was on a multinational force engaged in activities such as protecting oil basins, maintaining maritime security against conventional and non-conventional threats, humanitarian aid, and re-establishing normality in a conflict zone,” Captain Rodrigo Metropolo Pace, head of the War Games Center at the Brazilian Navy’s War College, told Diálogo.
The exercise was based on a fictional South American country located in a region with intensive maritime traffic and a wide array of productive activities. Under this scenario, the country was the focus of additional regional threats related to the plunder of natural resources that damaged oil exploration, and polluted the environment.
“These are fictional threats, without any direct relationship to the reality of other countries or existing criminal organizations,” Capt. Pace explained. “What matters for the game is to evaluate the procedures when reacting to threats.”
The host country, Argentina, was tasked with preparing documents to describe the characteristics of the area of operations that led to the creation of a multinational naval force made up of the game’s participants. This involved studying memorandums of understanding and resolutions of international organizations.
Then, participants were divided into groups with distinct strategic and operational decision-making levels. Each group decided on the movements to be made as the scenario evolved.
“The exercise directors analyzed the teams’ responses, and then moved on to the next phase,” Capt. Principi said. Every change to the initial situation had to be analyzed in light of international law, to apply the appropriate laws and conventions related to sea crisis situations. “On the last day, each country presented its conclusions to improve both the interoperability of combined naval forces and mutual trust in terms of international security,” he said.
Military and diplomatic exchange
According to participants, the Trilateral War Game was an excellent opportunity to train for an eventual combined operation. “It enabled us to become familiar with the laws, doctrines, and restrictions of each country, while operating under the aegis of international agencies,” Capt. Pace said.
According to the Brazilian officer, group decisions needed to take each country’s reality, domestic, and international legal instruments into account. “As such, we had productive debates on political, diplomatic, military, and economic issues, seeking both strategic and operational consensus,” Capt. Pace said.
Capt. Principi noted the game’s importance for interaction among the naval war colleges of the three South American neighbors. “This type of activity creates a forum for academic dialogue to share ideas and knowledge,” he said. “That strengthens the foundations of mutual understanding among Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay to analyze and resolve international crises, in which the formation of a combined force is a priority.”
According to Capt. Pace, the Trilateral War Game has another major advantage: it is a low-cost useful tool to train officers on this type of operation. “The exercise enables participating navies to share experiences and bring their service members closer together, strengthening the countries’ bonds of friendship,” he said. “The Brazilian Navy’s participation in this type of event represents an excellent opportunity to train in a multinational force environment consisting of sister navies from the South American continent, becoming familiar with each country’s doctrines, tendencies, and visions,” he added.
Uruguayan Navy Captain Alejandro Chucarro also praised the endeavor. “Doctrines among participating navies coincide in some aspects, but they are different. That is why working in these trinational groups opens up the possibility for these types of exchanges,” he said at the inauguration of the event. “The game is very important not only professionally, but also personally, since this exchange among officers at the same hierarchical level allows us to meet people who do similar work,” Capt. Chucarro concluded.