Brazilian Marine Corps Major General Paulo Sergio Castello Branco Tinoco Guimarães, deputy chief of Defense Intelligence, visited U.S. Southern Command the first week of December 2019 to outline the processes for collaboration and experience exchange in the Defense Intelligence sector of both countries.
Maj. Gen. Tinoco also visited U.S. Special Operations Command where he promoted the September 2019 establishment of the Brazilian Navy (MB, in Portuguese) Special Operations Command. Diálogo spoke with Maj. Gen. Tinoco about information exchange between Brazil and the United States, among other topics.
Diálogo: How does Brazil exchange information with the United States and other countries in the Southern Hemisphere?
Brazilian Marine Corps Major General Paulo Sergio Castello Branco Tinoco Guimarães, deputy chief of Defense Intelligence: Intelligence exchange between our two countries is carried out at in-person annual bilateral meetings in both countries, and also via video conferences, to exchange experiences, develop joint work, and share information through secure digital channels. With the support of embassies, the rapprochement of partner nations at the intelligence level has developed gradually, at a pace one might expect at this day and age, which enables the operational improvement of information submitted, and increases mutual trust in defense intelligence.
Diálogo: How is this type of information used?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: The information is analyzed and categorized accordingly. After the information is supplemented by other databases, such as the Brazilian Intelligence System (SISBIN, in Portuguese) or the Defense Intelligence System (SINDE, in Portuguese), it is decoded by an analyst and distributed within the systems to support the chain of command of the Ministry of Defense and of each force, further assisting their respective decision-making processes.
Diálogo: How can we improve the information sharing process between countries?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: The development of an automated and direct system to exchange information between the Defense Intelligence of partner nations would contribute to updating the process, bringing momentum to the flow of information. Some initial steps were taken and are always addressed during the annual intelligence conference.
Diálogo: Is this type of information used to counter transnational organized crime, particularly narcotrafficking?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: Yes. In addition to supporting the operations to counter transnational crime, this information is crucial to better understand the structure of criminal organizations that operate within our national territory and along the borders. Information flows efficiently through SISBIN and assists the federal and state organizations responsible for combating crime.
Diálogo: What about the possible presence of terrorist cells in the Tri-border area between Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: Brazilian Federal Police follow this matter closely, and we do not have records of such incidences in the national territory.
Diálogo: How does your experience as military attaché for Brazil in Paraguay contribute to your current duties?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: The constant interaction of delegations from partner nations with local government agencies and civilian institutions, which is routine for a military attaché abroad, improved my understanding of the Brazilian organizational structure abroad, at a strategic level, and of the tools that diplomacy, even at a military level, has to protect the interests of the Brazilian government and its Armed Forces.
Diálogo: What is the biggest challenge in your current role?
Maj. Gen. Tinoco: To properly integrate all civilian and military actors who contribute to the development of SINDE, and to promote increasing efficiency for production and promotion of joint knowledge within the framework of the Ministry of Defense.