For the second time, Brazil served as a remote site for Exercise Viking 22, the largest multifunctional simulation of peacekeeping operations worldwide. The exercise, coordinated by the Swedish Ministry of Defense, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense, was carried out simultaneously in five countries: Brazil, Bulgaria, Finland, Qatar, and Sweden, March 28-April 7, 2022.
Exercise Viking aimed to train service members, police forces, and civilian agencies personnel to take on the challenges of peacekeeping operations and international crisis management, with emphasis on realism and current operational concepts. The activity mobilized 1,750 service members, police, and civilian personnel from more than 40 countries.
The Brazilian Ministry of Defense coordinated the exercise in Brazil, which took place in the Planalto Military Command in Brasília. A total of 276 service members from the Brazilian Navy, Brazilian Army (EB), Brazilian Air Force, military police officers, civilian representatives from the United Nations in Brazil, and from the Brazilian Peacekeeping Operations Research Network, took part in the exercise. Also present at the training on Brazilian soil were military personnel from Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay, who represented the Latin American Association of Training Centers for Peacekeeping Operations.
Brazilian Minister of defense Army General Paulo Sérgio Nogueira de Oliveira, and a delegation of authorities, visited the facilities of Viking 22 in Brazil on April 5 and highlighted the importance of the training. “For us, this is an opportunity to train the General Staff and to reaffirm Brazilian capacity to act decisively and with leadership,” said Gen. Paulo Sérgio.
The minister also stressed that Brazil will always be ready to contribute to world peace and security and emphasized the relevance of the country’s participation in peacekeeping missions for more than 70 years. “Today we have certified troops and equipment, and we are increasingly trained with units and commanders for various types of operations,” he said.
Viking 22 was conducted through a computer-based training platform, integrated simultaneously with all participating countries.
The activity is carried out every four years and is now in its ninth edition. During the exercise, a crisis scenario arises between two fictitious countries, generating conflict and affecting civilians.
Among the topics addressed during Viking 22 were Female Insertion in Peacekeeping Operations, Human Rights, Protection of Civilians, Refugee Procedures, Humanitarian Assistance, Coordination and Cooperation, among others.
EB Brigadier General Flávio dos Santos Lajoia Garcia, who served as the operations director for the exercise, pointed out that Viking 22 was a great opportunity to train human resources for various relevant U.N. positions. “All the effort, the hours of work, and the personal involvement of each were extremely fruitful and paid back with the satisfaction of a job done, training them for peacekeeping missions under the aegis of the U.N.,” Brig. Gen. Lajoia said. Participants trained for 120 hours during the 10-day exercise.
EB Major General Alexandre Oliveira Cantanhede Lago, director of the exercise’s Operations Center, highlighted the collaboration between Brazilian service members and their partner nations’ counterparts, who together made up Sítio Brasil. “A cohesive, motivated team, all with great experience in peacekeeping missions and who, in this exercise, were able to exchange information, and improve their skills even more to execute future peacekeeping missions,” Maj. Gen. Cantanhede said. “The team that participated in the exercise is ready to be deployed in a future peacekeeping operation.”
For Army General Marco Antônio Freire Gomes, EB commander, the collaboration opportunity ranges from the doctrinal aspect to operability. “It was a gain for training troops to be able to participate in an activity where several conflict situations were simulated, which only increased operational and interoperability capacity,” Gen. Freire Gomes said. “It is a pride for Brazil to be the only country in Latin America to host this event,” he concluded.