The Naval Peacekeeping Operations Academy prepares crew members of flagship vessels deployed with the Brazilian Navy’s Maritime Task Force and marine operational groups.
The Almirante Sylvio de Camargo Training Center, located on Governor’s Island, in Rio de Janeiro, houses the Brazilian Navy’s (MB, in Portuguese) Peacekeeping Operations School (EsOpPazNav, in Portuguese) since 2008. The school trains MB service members who participate in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations or other activities as part of MB’s international commitments.
According to Brazilian Marine Corps (CFN, in Portuguese) Lieutenant Colonel Bruno Kochulinski Caldas, head of EsOpPazNav, the unit was created to fill a training gap for service members assigned to peacekeeping operations, “mainly the marine operational groups which were part of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH, in French),” Lt. Col. Kochulinski said.
With the new structure, CFN will be able to record experiences, organize internships and workshops that enable mission-related knowledge to be shared, and represent CFN in Brazil and abroad in peacekeeping-related missions. Specific training for MINUSTAH remained in place until the mission ended in 2017.
“Brazil’s involvement in Haiti allowed for up-close experience with peacekeeping activities, and expanded MB service members’ knowledge of United Nations doctrine. The work of EsOpPazNav aims at multiplying that knowledge, enabling improvements and dissemination of new tactics, techniques, and procedures at all operational levels,” said Lt. Col. Kochulinski.
The school counts with nearly 100 instructors trained in courses in Brazil and abroad, with proven experience in peacekeeping missions. “Instructors come from other military organizations within the Navy, and are deployed with priority when needed for trainings and other activities related to peacekeeping operations,” the officer explained.
According to Lt. Col. Kochulinski, the institution’s main focus is to train MB service members who are part of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), and also offers courses aimed at engagements in peacekeeping missions. The Troop Contingent Preparation for Peacekeeping Operations Internship is one of the courses offered. Held over a five-day period twice a year, the course is meant for UNIFIL’s maritime task forces (MTF) and marine operational groups. The course prepares the ship’s crew, who will travel to Lebanon, with a program that includes UN’s requirements, referenced in the Core Pre-deployment Training Materials of the UN Peacekeeping Resource Hub.
“Practical training takes place at the Navy’s Almirante Marques de Leão Training Center and on the vessel where the crew prepares. It includes simulations of situations that normally occur in UNIFIL, such as boarding operations during a maritime interdiction,” Lt. Col. Kochulinski explained. The Naval Peacekeeping Operations Internship for the Contingents’ General Staff is aimed at General Staff officers who will take on duties such as directly advising the MTF’s commander. “The course is offered twice a year and is based on knowledge transfer of recently returned service members from the mission to the peacekeeping force’s future staff, especially regarding specific activities performed while on duty,” he explained.
Once a year, the institution also offers a Special Officers Course on Negotiation in Conflicts with Hostages. The goal is to prepare officers to join negotiation teams or advisory groups in crisis units that involve infiltration of facilities with hostages. “Other armed forces can participate in this course, along with service members from auxiliary forces, the Military Police, and the Fire Department,” Lt. Col. Kochulinski said.
He added that in 2018, for the first time, at the request of the Brazilian Army’s (EB, in Portuguese) Agulhas Negras Military Academy, a one of a kind negotiation internship would be offered to cadets, addressing practical activities of basic negotiation techniques and rules. “The school is also responsible for naval patrol related training for visit and inspection groups and detention of prisoners,” Lt. Col. Kochulinski said.
EsOpPazNav service members also support the Brazilian Peace Operations Joint Training Center (CCOPAB, in Portuguese), an EB unit with theoretical and practical training for the Humanitarian Demining Internship designed for EB and MB service members, as well as partner nations. “We help set up workshops for the practical application of methods and equipment used in humanitarian demining operations, such as the live explosive deployment workshop and the demining team deployment in an area with characteristics similar to those they would encounter in a real-life scenario,” Lt. Col. Kochulinski explained.
The partnership with CCOPAB is reciprocal, said the officer. The EB center coordinates essential doctrine training to deploy troops in peacekeeping operations, one of MB’s troop training stages for UNIFIL. “But EsOpPazNav intends to take over all training tasks for UNIFIL, given the mission’s naval nature, as well as the school’s capacity to provide any training necessary to deploy the Navy troops in a peacekeeping operation,” he said.
CFN Captain Adriano Amorim Filgueiras, part of UNIFIL MTF since January 2018, prepared for the mission at EsOpPazNav. In Lebanon, he secures deployment of marines from the Maritime Task Force Command and Asymmetrical Threat Reaction Group.
According to Capt. Filgueiras, during training at EsOpPazNav, he learned from instructors’ past experiences anticipating likely scenarios, as well as passing on orders already established in UN documents. “Due to the unusual conditions that a combatant is used to face, it was really important to have more specific guidance,” he said. Training involved a set of classes and lectures instructors and guest officers with vast experience in peacekeeping operations taught. “The expertise of these service members was an essential part of the training,” he concluded.