Brazil Supports Proposal to Create South American Defense School
By Dialogo June 18, 2013
Brazilian Minister of Defense, Celso Amorim, stated that Brazil supports the creation of a South American Defense School. The proposition to build the school was recently formalized by Ecuador during a meeting between deputy defense ministers, in Lima, Peru, within the scope of UNASUR’s South American Defense Council (CDS for its Spanish acronym).
The supported idea occurred after the bilateral meeting between Amorim and Ecuadorean Minister of Defense, María Fernanda Espinosa Garcés, in Quito, Ecuador. During his visit to the country, the Brazilian minister was also welcomed by President Rafael Correa in a meeting at the Presidential Palace. In an interview with the press following the meeting, both ministers explained that the goal of the school is to boost the formulation of a regional strategic thought defense.
The new institution will be located in Quito, where the coordination and administration areas will be operating. However, according to the ministers, the school will operate as a network, taking advantage of the various initiatives already in existance in the military realm of the South American countries.
To illustrate the network initiatives, Amorim mentioned the Center for Strategic Studies based in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the South American Advanced Defense Course, which will take place for the second consecutive year at the Superior War College, in Rio de Janeiro.
“All these courses, organized by different institutions, can be part of a network that will be coordinated to avoid duplicating and wasting resources,” said Amorim, who added that the school will always respect plurality and diversity of ideas.
According to Defense Minister Espinosa Garcés, despite the approval by members of the CDS, the proposed creation of the school should be confirmed during the next South American Defense Ministers meeting, scheduled for November 2013, also in Lima.
According to Espinosa Garcés, the school is expected to take advantage of the resources of the South American nations in a coordinated fashion, maximizing the capabilities and specialtiesof each country in the defense field. “The path to the future is in the construction of a line of thought, regardless of how diverse, that we can identify with and that will generate a South American identity,” she stated. “It is essential that the school focuses on our own problems, and that it is not conditioned by problems that are not ours,” added Amorim, who had already defended the creation of the school in international forums.
The Brazilian minister was invited to Quito by the Ecuadorean government. During the bilateral meeting at the Ministry of Defense representatives from both delegations debated an extensive agenda of topics, which resulted in decisions aiming to deepen the defense cooperation between both nations.
Among the topics discussed at the meeting, were Brazil’s support to the development of Ecuador’s defense industry, the expansion of aid to the demining actions in the country, control and defense of the airspace and training Ecuadorean Air Force pilots and technicians who operate Super Tucano airplanes.
The delegates also discussed matters linked to strengthening the South American defense identity in the CDS/Unasur and the Brazilian contribution to the Ecuadorean initiative, currently underway, to update the political agenda in the military.
Amorim invited Ecuador to send military observers to the next edition of Operation Ágata, at the Brazilian border, scheduled for the second half of this year. He also invited Minister Espinosa Garcés for an official visit to Brazil in August.
With the purpose of ensuring the continuity and direct follow-up of the agreed topics, both ministers created a work group and institutionalized yearly meetings with their respective joint staffs.